The impact of restricting access to parental benefits on the integration of non-EU immigrant families

Author: Caroline Hall, And Erica Lindahl, And Malin Tallås Ahlzén, And Anna Thoresson, And

Dnr: 115/2019

The provision of paid parental leave is often regarded as crucial for keeping mothers in the labour force after giving birth. However, for newly arrived immigrants who lack host-country employment experience, the possibility of longer paid leave may instead delay their labour market entry. In addition, it may have spillover effects on their children, for example by delaying the enrolment in pre-school programmes.

In this paper, we study how parental leave policies affect the short-term integration of non-EU immigrant mothers and their children. We exploit a Swedish reform introduced in July 2017 that substantially reduced the number of parental leave days to parents of children born abroad. This change enables us to apply a difference-in-difference design that compares the take-up of parental leave days depending on when the family arrived in Sweden and the age of their children.