Incentive or Obstacle? the Use of Parental Leave of Immigrant Mothers

Eleonora Mussino, Demography Unit, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University
Ann-Zofie Duvander, Demography Unit, Department of Sociology, Stockholm University

Recent immigration to Sweden is dominated by women and men in childbearing ages, and many arrive with children. The labor market integration of newly arrived mothers is of special concern and well directed social policy may be crucial. The family policy is based on residence and in particular grants the newly arrived parents a generous parental leave for also preschool children born abroad. This study uses population and social insurance registers to investigate to which extent newly arrived immigrants use the parental leave at arrival and whether the use can be seen as an obstacle to future labour participation, or whether use is associated with an economically stable situation. To address our research question we use data from the population registers which cover the entire population living in Sweden including new-born children and newly arrived immigrants from the census of 1960. We focus on women arriving in Sweden with at least one child younger than 8 years old and thus with the legal possibility to use parental leave. Preliminary results indicate that parental leave is associated with labour market activity rather than an obstacle, but findings need to be tester over time and by subgroups of immigrant mothers. We aim to contribute with knowledge to the debate on the effects of a generous parental leave on the speed of integration for newly arrived immigrants.

Presented in Session 1089: International Migration and Migrant Populations