Working Paper BETA #2019-26

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Title : Parental Leave and Life Satisfaction: The Dutch case

Author(s) : Laetitia Dillenseger, Martijn Burger, Francis Munier

Abstract : Abstract There is extensive literature on ambiguous effects of having children on life satisfaction. Although parenthood can provide a meaning of life, parenting may increase the amount of obligations and decrease leisure time, which in turn reduce life satisfaction. In the Netherlands, parental leave is a part-time work arrangement which allows parents with young children to reconcile better work and family commitments. Using data from the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS), we analyzed the impact of taking parental leave on the life satisfaction of parents with young children. We found that the legal framework of Dutch parental leave offering job protected leave and fiscal benefits is crucial to enhance parents’ life satisfaction. Further, we estimated that short parental leave schemes are more conducive to life satisfaction than long parental leave schemes.

Key-words : Parental Leave scheme, Children, Happiness, Satisfaction, Work-life balance, the Netherlands

JEL Classification : C10, H53, I31