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Trade union support for fathers' use of work–family benefits—Lessons from Sweden.

Journal article
Authors Linda Haas
Philip Hwang
Published in Community, Work and Family
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 46-67
ISSN 1366-8803
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 46-67
Language en
Subject categories Psychology


Trade unions have traditionally been male-dominated organizations serving men's interests as family breadwinners, primarily through wage-setting. This study explores whether unions will contest the gendered division of parenting to develop values and practices that support men as caregivers. It takes place in Sweden, where unions are strong and fathers have legislated rights to paid parental leave. A mail survey of local unions revealed that the vast majority of unions did not believe it was important to focus attention on men as family caregivers. Only about one-fourth reported activities to improve men's benefit knowledge; only about one-third reported that they helped to implement parental leave at the workplace and only about one-fourth had negotiated contracts that extended leave benefits for fathers. Unions were more active in supporting men as fathers when they prioritized women's equal employment opportunity and when fathers requested union help. Stronger unions were more likely than others to have won enhanced benefits; contracts tended to increase compensation rather than offer more leave time. Swedish unions are in a strong position to promote, help implement and extend work–family benefits for fathers, dissolving the boundary between work and family spheres, but this potential has not yet been realized.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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