The article evaluates the 2007 introduction of nontransferable and fully paid paternity leave in Spain.
Previous research has focused on paternity leave reforms, especially in the Nordic and continental countries. This article studies characteristics of the parental leave system design, including transferability, payment, and purpose of different types of leave for mothers and fathers in a Mediterranean country.
We use a quasi-experimental approach based on a sample of heterosexual dual-earner couples with children born before and after the paternity leave introduction. We estimate differences in differences regression models.
The 2007 reform caused a significant increase in fathers’ number of days of parental leave. Most fathers used the whole nontransferable and fully paid paternity leave, but they hardly used transferable or unpaid leave. Mothers used all of these, especially paid leave.
The number of nontransferable fully paid days of parental leave provided by law approximates the actual number of days most fathers used.
The policy design matters. A design of equal, nontransferable, and fully paid leave for each parent is necessary for equal use by fathers and mothers—and thus for gender equality in families and work.