Go to main contentGo to main menuFormulario de contactoLa UAM

Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y EmpresarialesFacultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales

Fathers on Parental Leave Alone

Financiado por
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad

Meil Landwerlin, Gerardo


This research project is a follow-up of the project "The use of parental leave in Spain (CSO2009 - 11328), both framed into a broader line of research on the challenges of balancing family and working life.  This project focuses on those cases in which the father uses a parental leave to take care of the children when the mother returns to work after paid maternity leave or a parental leave. The analysis of this new social practice will be done comparing 1) fathers who are in this situation as a result of unemployment, and 2) those fathers using a parental leave when the mother does not work outside the home. The main hypothesis is that the socializing effect on parenting, its impact on the distribution of unpaid work and on the identity of the parents, and therefore, on gender equality, is greater when the father takes care of their children alone than when the father does it simultaneously with his couple. The socializing effect is even greater if the father takes care of his children when using a parental leave "freely" chosen that if forced by the lack employment. On the one hand, the aspects to be analyzed are the circumstances and considerations of pros and cons in the decision-making process on using a childcare leave when the mother returns to paid work. On the other hand, we will analyze their own experience of caring alone" focusing on the characteristics of the organization of the day and the tasks performed, the subjective meaning attributed, and their influence on couple relationships. The third aim is to analyze the impact that this option takes into working life and career, as well as in the social and family environment. Finally, it aims to analyze its potential socializing outcome to a more egalitarian gender culture. Thus, eventually, it will allow us to put forward proposals for public policies.



  1. To analyse the circumstances and the decission process leading to take a leave to care alone new born babies.
  2. To record the feelings and experiences of caring alone
  3.  To analyse the impact of this type of leave taking on family and working lives
  4. To discuss its relevance for drawing future reforms of leave policy

Prof. Gerardo Meil, Dr. Jesús Rogero (UAM), Dr. Pedro Romero (UAM), Dr. María Ángeles Luque (UAM) and Dr. Concepción Castrillo-Bustamante (UCM)


In English:

Meil, Gerardo, Romero-Balsas, Pedro and Rogero-García, Jesús (2017), “Fathers on Leave Alone in Spain: ‘Hey, I Want to Be Able to Do It Like That, Too” in M. O’Brien, K. Wall (eds.), Comparative Perspectives on Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality. Fathers on Leave Alone, Springer, Life Course Research and Social Policies 6,  DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-42970-0_7 (http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-42970-0), pp. 107-124

Valarino, I.; Meil, G. and Rogero-García, J. (2018), "Family or state responsibility? Elderly and childcare policy preferences in Spain", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-06-2018-0086.

Meil, G. (2018), Spanish fathers benefiting from maternity leave: Experience and policy demands. Revista del Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social, Economics and Sociology, 136, 17-37 (Special Issue on Leave Policy and Use in Mediterranean and South American Countries, in English) disponible en https://dialnet.unirioja.es

Meil, G., Romero-Balsas, P. and Rogero-García, J.(forthcoming), “Spain: Leave policy in times of economic crisis, 2007-2017”, in Peter Moss, Ann-Zofie Duvander and Alison Koslowski (eds), ‘Parental leave and beyond: recent developments, current issues, future directions’, Policy Press, Bristol

 Meil, G., Romero-Balsas, P. and Castrillo-Bustamante, C. (forthcoming), The effectiveness of corporate gender equality plans in improving leave provisions for fathers in Spain, in Community, Work and Family

 Meil, G., Rogero-García, J. y Romero-Balsas, P. (under evaluation): “Policemen on Leave Alone in Spain. A Rift in Hegemonic Masculinity?”

In Spanish

Meil, G.; Romero-Balsas, P (2016): “Los permisos parentales para el cuidado de niños: percepción social y usos de los mismos entre los padres y las madres” in Tamayo, Silvia: “La maternidad y la paternidad en el s. XXI”, Granada: editorial Comares, pp. 235-258

Meil, G., Rogero-García, J. and Romero-Balsas, P. (2017), Los permisos parentales como instrumentos para la igualdad de género, Observatorio Social “la Caixa”, febrero 2007, disponible en https://observatoriosociallacaixa.org/-/los-permisos-parentales-como-instrumentos-para-la-igualdad-de-genero

Meil, G. (2017): " Permisos parentales para hombres y corresponsabilidad en el cuidado de niños" en Revista del Ministerio de Empleo y Seguridad Social, 131, 15-34 disponible en https://dialnet.unirioja.es/ejemplar/477228

Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales  · C/ Francisco Tomás y Valiente, 5 · Universidad Autónoma de Madrid · 28049 Madrid · España