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Balancing work and care: the effect of paid adult medical leave policies on employment in Europe

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 September 2020

PhD Candidate, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1140 Pine Avenue W., Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1A3 email:
PhD Candidate, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue W., Montreal, QC, H3A 1A2 email:
Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Leacock Building, Room 418, 855 Sherbrooke St. W., Montreal, QCH3A 2T7 email:
Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue W., Montreal, QC, H3A 1A2 email:
Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, 1020 Pine Avenue W., Room 36B, Montreal, QCH3A 1A2 email:
Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Management, Distinguished Professor of Public Affairs, and Distinguished Professor of Medicine at UCLA, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA, Dean’s Office, 650 Charles E. Young Dr. S, 16-035 Center for Health Sciences, Los Angeles, CA90095-177265 email:
Research assistant, PROSPERED Project, Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 1130 Pine Avenue W., Montreal, QuebecH3A 1A3 email:
Academic Associate, PROSPERED Project, Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 1130 Pine Ave W., Montreal, QCH3A 1A3 email:
Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, Institute for Health and Social Policy, McGill University, 1130 Pine Avenue W., Montreal, QuebecH3A 1A3
*Corresponding author. email:


Increasing caregiving needs for family members has created pressure on prime-age workers. Combined with the ageing population, the demand for care related to illness and disability by relatives mean more of the workforce may have to consider caring needs (Bauer and Sousa-Poza, 2015). ‘Informal caregivers’ provide care generally without payment (Yoo et al., 2004). In contrast to formal care, informal caregivers usually have a close relationship with the recipient: for example, siblings and adult children. Informal caregiving is considered a desirable option to meet support needs from several perspectives; these caregivers may be preferred by recipients relative to formal arrangements especially during severe acute illnesses. Caregivers may also feel a personal sense of responsibility to look after loved ones rather than defer to strangers (Fine, 2012) though this may depend on the individual’s needs and the available alternatives. Although men are starting to play an important role due to shifting social gender roles, the vast majority of informal caregivers are women who increasingly attempt to juggle caring with labour force participation (Carmichael et al., 2008).

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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