What to expect after you are expecting? An analysis of mothers' interruption duration and return-to-work behaviour after childbirth

Professorship/Faculty: Sociology, especially Social Inequality ; Fakultät Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften: Abschlussarbeiten ; Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (BAGSS)  
Author(s): Hondralis, Irina
Publisher Information: Bamberg : opus
Year of publication: 2018
Pages: VII, 114 Bl. ; Illustrationen, Diagramme
Supervisor(s): Buchholz, Sandra ; Kleinert, Corinna  ; Gebel, Michael  
Year of first publication: 2017
Language(s): English
Kumulative Dissertation, Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, 2017
DOI: 10.20378/irbo-51052
Licence: German Act on Copyright 
URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:473-opus4-510524
How do institutional factors and their interaction with individual resources influence the length of mothers’ interruption durations after childbirth and return-to-work behaviour? This thesis answers this question from a family sociology and labour market perspective, and concentrates on how institutional factors explain varying durations of mothers’ employment interruptions and the differences in their return-to-work behaviour after childbirth. In this cumulative thesis, I analyse three institutional factors, the introduction of a paid leave entitlement, the expansion of childcare availabilities, and the specific hours of employment across different occupations. After an introduction in Chapter 1, the first two parts (Chapter 2 and 3) are concerned with the influence of two policy reforms (aiming at easing the conflict between family and career) on mothers’ return-to-work behaviour, whereas the third part (Chapter 4) seizes on the occupational opportunity structure and its impact on mothers’ return-to-work behaviour.
More specifically, Chapter 1 outlines the overarching framework, based on life course research, and discusses how the chapters relate to the existing literature of life course research. Chapter 2 studies the effect of a first-time roll-out of a paid maternity entitlement in Australia on mothers’ return-to-work behaviour and how the reform effect differs by educational groups. The results suggest that the introduction of a statutory paid leave entitlement has stimulated a change in re-entry behaviour to work, although its impact varies across educational groups.
Chapter 3, in co-operation with Gundula Zoch, examines how increased availability of low-cost, state-subsidised childcare for under-three-year-olds in Germany is associated with shorter employment interruptions amongst West and East German mothers. The results indicate that increased childcare availability for under-three-year-olds reduces the length of mothers’ employment interruptions, particularly for West German mothers.
Chapter 4, together with Sandra Buchholz, investigates whether occupation-specific hours of employment (not just the number of hours worked, but also the level of flexibility of when they are worked) affect mothers’ interruption duration and their return-to-work behaviour after childbirth. The results show that occupation-specific employment hours, even after controlling for individual characteristics, are significantly associated with the length of mothers’ employment interruptions. The effect of occupation-specific employment hours for the interruption duration depends on the mother’s level of education and as the results suggest they have a larger impact on the interruption duration of lower educated mothers.
The thesis contributes to the literature on how institutions shape individual life courses. It shows, in particular, that institutions do not have the same effect on all mothers but influence the lives of individuals in stratified ways and can contribute to growing inequalities of labour market opportunities for mothers with differing resources.
SWD Keywords: Mutter ; Mutterschutz ; Berufsrückkehr
Keywords: interruptions after childbirth, maternal employment, maternity leave, early childhood education, employment hours
DDC Classification: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology  
RVK Classification: MS 3080   
Document Type: Doctoralthesis
URI: https://fis.uni-bamberg.de/handle/uniba/43139
Year of publication: 7. June 2018

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