Parental leave use by male employees: Corporate culture, managerial attitudes & employees' perceptions

Thumbnail Image
Pettigrew, Rachael Noelle
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
In Canada, new parents have access to maternity and parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Parental leave, which follows maternity leave, entitles new parents to 35 weeks of leave. Although both parents have access to parental leave, only a small percentage of fathers utilize it, despite the benefits for both fathers and their children. This gendered usage perpetuates the belief that family responsibilities are mothers’ responsibilities. This multi-level research study explored the organizational, manager, and employee characteristics that influence support for and use of parental leave by male employees. In 2012, seven large, Manitoba employers were recruited for participation and the sample included 550 male employees and 354 female and male managers. Data were collected using a structured interview at the organizational level and two self-administered questionnaires for managers and male employees. The hypotheses were tested using OLS regression and hierarchical logistic regression. Results indicated strong managerial support for parental leave use by men, although female managers were significantly more supportive than male managers. The strongest influence on support for parental leave use for both employees and managers was the personal use of parental leave. Male employees who perceived organizational family support and the view that men could take leave without negative career impact reported higher levels of perceived supervisory family support. Twenty-five percent of the sample had used parental leave, but those who had access to an Employment Insurance top up from their employer reported the highest leave use and the longest leave duration. Parental leave was extended from 10 to 35 weeks in 2000; the results indicate that fathers who had access to 10 weeks of parental leave were 80 percent less likely to report leave use, compared to those with access to 35 weeks of leave. Therefore, to increase fathers’ use of parental leave, organizations are encouraged to increase awareness and explicit support for parental leave, as well as offer a top up. To increase fathers’ leave use, future parental leave policy development should focus on both increasing wage replacement and the addition of a non-transferable leave for fathers, similar to that offered in Quebec.
parental leave, father involvement, corporate culture, managerial support, managerial attitudes, employee perceptions, family-friendly policies, policy