Dads who take paternity leave end up wanting LESS kids, study shows


Content Editor / May 17 2019

A new Spanish study has shown that fathers who take paid paternity leave to stay home with their children end up wanting smaller families.

12 years ago, Spain introduced two weeks of fully paid paternity leave for Dads. This was increased to five paid weeks in 2018.

However, economists who studied the initial policy have concluded that men who have taken paternity leave are less likely to have more kids in the future.

Getty Images

Getty Images

The study authors believe that spending more time with their children led fathers to shift their preferences to “child quantity to quality” – possibly because they realised that being home with small children all day is hard.

The study did have some positive findings, concluding that fathers who took paid parental leave tended to be more hands-on and involved in their children’s lives. It also helped support women in returning to the workforce.

“We also find that men reported lower desired fertility after the reform, possibly due to their increased awareness of the costs of childrearing,” the study reads.

Conversely, women in Spain started to show greater interest in having larger families at the same time – most likely because of the greater balance of power and labour at home.

In Australia, Dad and Partner Pay offers up to two weeks of government-funded pay at the rate of the National Minimum Wage (currently about $695 per week before tax).

However, research has shown that only around 1 in 3 Australian dads and partners take it up.

Nicola Conville has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years across a wide range of print and online publications. Her areas of expertise are parenting, health and travel. She has two children; Lucy, age eight, and Nathan, age five.