Families, Care-giving and Paid Work
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Families, Care-giving and Paid Work

Challenging Labour Law in the 21st Century

Edited by Nicole Busby and Grace James

This unique selection of chapters brings together researchers from a variety of academic disciplines to explore aspects of law’s engagement with working families. It connects academic debate with policy proposals through an integrated set of approaches and perspectives.
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Chapter 7: Comparative Lessons on Work–Family Conflict – Swedish Parental Leave versus American Parental Leave

Michelle Weldon-Johns


JOBNAME: Busby & James PAGE: 1 SESS: 3 OUTPUT: Mon Sep 12 10:44:54 2011 7. Comparative lessons on the work– family conflict – Swedish parental leave versus American family leave Michelle Weldon-Johns Two broad legislative approaches have been adopted by countries in order to address the work–family conflict: the introduction of specific work– family rights, and equality-based legislation. These contrasting approaches similarly aim to address inequalities between the sexes and to challenge traditional gender roles. This poses the question as to which may better enable working families to address their work–family conflicts. In order to critically examine this issue, the Swedish and USA work–family rights, as examples of each approach, will be analysed using the work–family typology classification model. Drawing from welfare state regime literature, which classifies these countries in opposing ways, this model focuses specifically on indicators relevant to the work–family conflict. There are two significant findings from this analysis: firstly, despite the objectives of the legislation, both packages of rights reinforce traditional gender roles; and secondly, both countries display greater similarities than their welfare state classifications would otherwise suggest. THE WORK–FAMILY TYPOLOGY CLASSIFICATION MODEL The work–family typology classification model (at Table 7.1) adopts a focused approach towards analysing the work–family conflict using three classification indicators to critically interrogate work–family rights and classify them into one of three ideal-type typologies: the family care model, working family model...

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