MPIDR Working Paper

Against all odds: fathers’ use of parental leave in Germany

Geisler, E., Kreyenfeld, M. R.
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2009-010, 42 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (March 2009)
Open Access


This paper investigates fathers’ usage of parental leave in Germany based on data from the microcenses 1999-2005. We consider two competing hypotheses. On the one hand, we argue that value change is a driving force behind fathers’ engagement in parenting activities. We assume that the ‘new father’ can more often be found among highly educated and urban men who are believed to be the forerunners in terms of new values and ideas. We contrast this hypothesis with the assumption that economic factors are the main determinants of men’s parental leave decisions. Our main finding is that fathers are more likely to be on parental leave if they have a highly educated or older partner. We also find that employment through a temporary working contract substantially lowers the chances that men will take advantage of parental leave, while being employed in the public sector increases the chances that men will use their parental leave entitlement.
Keywords: Germany, employment
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.