Örebro University, Sweden
A number of studies have shown that women’s and men’s wages relate to parenthood in general and parental leave in particular, but we know little about the possible wage impact of leave to care for sick children, which is a part of the Swedish parental leave system. On one hand, care leave may influence human capital and real or perceived work capacity similarly to parental leave and send the employer the same signals about work commitment and responsibilities outside of work. On the other hand, important differences, including timing, frequency and predictability, between care leave and parental leave influence paid work. This study uses Swedish register data to analyse the association between care leave and wage growth among mothers and fathers who had their first child in 1994. The results show that care leave is associated with a weaker wage growth among both women and men but that the association is stronger among men. One reason for the gender difference in the association may be that men’s care leave has a stronger signalling effect compared with women’s care leave.