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Paternity leave implementation in Switzerland : A challenge to gendered representations and practices of fatherhood?
Community, Work & Family
Transition to parenthood in Switzerland takes place in a particularly gendered institutional context. It is the only European country where men do not have access to any kind of statutory parental or paternity leaves. This study empirically investigates the extent to which institutional change âeuro" through paternity leave implementation at the company level âeuro" challenges gendered representations and practices of fatherhood. The study draws on a mixed methods case study conducted in a public administration which implemented a one-month paid paternity leave. Using register data about leave recipients (N = 95), we adopt a longitudinal and typological approach of leave uptake patterns by means of sequence and cluster analyses. In-depth interviews conducted with recipient fathers and managers working for the company (n = 30) enable an analysis of the implementation process and the meanings associated with paternity leave and fatherhood. Results show that paternity leave implementation challenged, in a limited way, gendered representations and practices of fatherhood. Fatherhood was made more visible within the company, but workplace characteristics and informal norms influenced fathersâeuro? leave uptake. Overall, motherhood and fatherhood were associated with different and specialized responsibilities. Fathers mainly had a secondary and temporary role with the newborn, while mothers were the central and taken-for-granted parent.
paternity leave, gender, fatherhood, workplace norms, Switzerland
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