Making Leave Easier: Better Compensation and Daddy-Only Entitlements

Posted: 15 Sep 2012 Last revised: 7 Dec 2014

Ankita Patnaik

Cornell University; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. - Human Services

Date Written: February 24, 2014


In 2006, Quebec enacted a landmark reform to paid parental leave that greatly improved the generosity of entitlements and established a father's non-transferable right to paid leave. Using data from the Employment Insurance Coverage Survey and employing a diff erence-in-diff erences setup, I find that the reform was associated with a striking rise in fathers' participation: an increase of 52 percentage points in the probability of a father receiving parental leave benefi ts and an increase in fathers' leave duration by 3 weeks. Further, there is evidence of an intra-household flypaper e ffect via the labeling of leave as `daddy-only', i.e., the allocation of leave within a household appears to be influenced by the framing of legal rights even when they do not bind. The reform was associated with an increase of 11 percentage points in mothers' participation rates, and the duration of the average maternity leave increased by over half a month under the new program. I fi nd no change in mothers' exit rates from the labor market on average but do find an increase in the probability of returning to the pre-birth employer if her husband took leave. The reform was also associated with a signi ficant reduction in the average income loss experienced by households in the month following the birth.

Keywords: maternity leave, paternity leave, daddy quota, benefit claims, flypaper effect, parental leave

JEL Classification: J13, J22, J16, J18, J53, I38

Suggested Citation

Patnaik, Ankita, Making Leave Easier: Better Compensation and Daddy-Only Entitlements (February 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Ankita Patnaik (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. - Human Services ( email )

United States

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