Decision-making factors within paternity and parental leaves: Why spanish fathers take time off from work

Pedro Romero-Balsas*, Dafne Muntanyola-Saura, Jesús Rogero-García

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to understand how Spanish fathers construct and justify their decisions to use both paternity and parental leaves. Specifically, we analyse the fathers' discourse about paid work conditions, the couple's decision-making process, formal and informal care resources, and care and gender equality. We divided responders according to the type of leave that they took and the length of time away from work; as a result, participants in this study were placed into three groups: (1) fathers who take 15 days off from work after childbirth, which are usually those who took only paternity leaves; (2) fathers who take off more than 1 month, which are usually fathers who also took parental leave; and (3) fathers who take off less than 5 days from work, which are fathers who do not take any official leave. We analyse 30 in-depth interviews with Spanish fathers by applying a critical discourse methodology. The findings indicate that paternity leave is mostly considered a right, but not a duty, and the decision whether or not to use it is viewed as an individual choice. Fathers who take longer leaves judge time off from work not only as an individual right, but also as a duty to their families. These fathers show a low work-connection discourse, an explicit rejection of other care resources, and a care-sensitive attitude.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)678-691
Number of pages14
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • Family
  • Fathers
  • Parental leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Work conditions


Dive into the research topics of 'Decision-making factors within paternity and parental leaves: Why spanish fathers take time off from work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this