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Buchler, Sandra and Lutz, Katharina (2021): Fathers' Job Flexibility and Mothers' Return to Employment. In: European Sociological Review, Vol. 37, No. 4: pp. 659-672

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One of the main drivers of gender inequality is the unequal distribution of paid work between men and women, in particular, after the birth of a child. In this study, we examine how a man's employment flexibility, specifically his weekly hours of employment and schedule autonomy, influence his female partner's return to employment after the birth of a first child using the German Socio-Economic Panel. Given women's placement as primary but not solitary carers of young children, it is plausible that women's attachment to the labour force will increase if their male partner is in a position to take on more of the responsibility for unpaid work. Results indicate that a father's employment flexibility facilities a mother's part-time employment. A return to full-time hours, however, is less contingent on the father's employment circumstances or other external factors. The findings highlight the importance of employing couple-level analyses in examinations of the gender division of labour.

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