Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

The Contextualized Inclusiveness of Parental Leave Benefits

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Abstract:  This article builds on a recent operationalization of inclusiveness of parental leave benefits proposed by Ivana Dobrotić and Sonja Blum and complements it by developing indicators of contextualized inclusiveness. This contextualized approach sets the formal entitlement and eligibility rules of social rights to parental leave benefits in the relevant socio‐economic context of the country to which these rules apply. The aim is to shed light on the extent to which parts of the country’s population are actually excluded or are at risk of being excluded from access to parental leave at a given moment in time. This is strongly shaped by, among other factors, the structure of the population according to employment status, job tenure or type of contract. An important characteristic of the methodological approach adopted in this article is that the proposed contextualized indicators are based on easily and publicly available and internationally comparable data. This makes the approach easily applicable by wide audiences, academic and practice‐oriented ones alike. The proposed indicators are then applied to sixteen European countries and show a much more diversified and nuanced landscape of contextualized inclusiveness of parental leave entitlements in Europe than the comparison of formal inclusiveness done by Dobrotić and Blum suggested. This study also shows that higher formal inclusiveness of employment‐based parental leave benefits was more common in countries with higher shares of those social groups that, in case of less inclusive regulations, would not have access to parental benefits.

Keywords:  access to leave; inclusive policy; parental benefits; socio‐economic context; social indicators; social rights


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© Anna Kurowska. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.