Sociologists Dispel Myths about Academic Parental Leave
Newswise - AMHERST, Mass. - New research from sociologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst counters misconceptions surrounding the use of paid parental leave on university campuses.
In a study published in the January 2013 issue of the journal Fathering, UMass Amherst associate professor Jennifer Lundquist and professor Joya Misra, along with KerryAnn O'Meara of the University of Maryland, examined assumptions that men take unfair advantage of parental leave at universities, using the leave as an opportunity to further their research while shirking the responsibility of childcare. Critics of gender-neutral parental leave systems have claimed that male faculty are a greater threat to exploit the system because they are more likely to have female spouses who stay home full-time, or only work part-time, to raise their children.
In studying the faculty at a major public research university from 2006-09, the researchers found that such accusations are not grounded in fact. Not only did relatively few men from their sample take paid parental leave, but the ones who did take leave needed to do so because they lacked a part-time or homemaker spouse. The only faculty who took leave with spouses at home were breastfeeding mothers. Conversely, some faculty fathers whose partners were back at work full-time still did not take the leave, fearing reprisals.