Is there public support for a longer and more gender equal leave scheme in Switzerland?

TitleIs there public support for a longer and more gender equal leave scheme in Switzerland?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsValarino, I
JournalLIVES Working Paper
Volume65
Pagination1-29
PublisherNCCR LIVES
Keywordsattitudes, gender equality, leave policies, policy preferences, Switzerland, welfare state
Abstract

Switzerland has a comparatively short and gendered leave scheme: paid maternity leave lasts 3,5 months and there are no statutory paternity or parental leaves. In the past decade this issue has received increased public and political attention and a popular initiative in favor of a 4-week paid paternity leave was successfully submitted and will be put to national vote. The present study addresses this highly topical issue by analyzing individuals’ attitudes toward three dimensions of leave policies (ideal leave length; gender division of leave; and leave financing system) and whether there is public support for a longer and more gender equal leave scheme in Switzerland. The study is based on 2013 MOSAiCH survey data, which is representative of the Swiss population aged 18 and over (N=1181).
Results show divided preferences regarding the ideal leave length, with about half of the sample wanting a leave that exceeds the current one (i.e., 5 months or more). This proportion rises to 68% among women under 50 years of age, suggesting that a gender and generational cleavage exists. Results show on the contrary a large consensus regarding gender division of leave preferences. About 80% of respondents consider that fathers should at least take part of the leave; and among them, about half consider they should share it equally. Logistic regression analyses show that institutional and cultural factors, as well as individuals’ life course stage and values are associated with wanting a longer and a more gender equal leave scheme. The article concludes on the implications of the results, in the wake of a national vote on paid paternity leave implementation.

DOI10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2018.65