The “Other” Child Penalty: Work Disability after Motherhood and How Paternity Leave Can Helpedit
The paper summarized here provides a comprehensive view on how having children impacts a woman’s professional career. As such, it builds on existing studies that highlight the impact of motherhood on gender inequalities in the labor market, often called “child penalties” (Kleven et al, 2019). These two researchers are the first to evaluate the child penalty in the Belgian context, which amounts to a 43% long-run reduction in their earnings for women up to 8 years after the birth of their first child. The study also highlights the existence of “another” child penalty by showing that Belgian mothers are also more likely than fathers to experience work disability after entering parenthood. This long-run gap in work disability prevalence tends to increase with the number of children, suggesting that it could result from family arrangements detrimental to women. Finally, the authors show that the provision of a two-week paternity leave can help lessen these “child penalties”. By exploiting a legislative reform in 2002, the researchers demonstrate that the introduction of paternity leave reduced the time spent by mothers on disability insurance by 21% over a period of 12 years.