Lárusdóttir, Í. D., Eydal, G. B., & Arnalds, Á. A. (2022). The influence of shared parental leave and care on lone mothers’ financial resources: The case of Iceland. Community, Work & Family, 1-18.

Since 2000, Iceland has had an equal parental leave quota for both parents regardless of their marital status or a child’s legal residency. Lone mothers’ much-reported disadvantages and poverty risks have been found to be effectively alleviated by generous parental leave policies by promoting their employment. This study asks if the Icelandic parental leave policy works in favour of lone-parent families by increasing shared care among parents living apart and facilitating lone mothers’ financial resources. The study applies data from four cross-sectional population surveys measuring how parents of firstborn children in 1997, 2003, 2009 and 2014 organise parental leave, work and care, for three years after childbirth. The results show that equal care participation of parents living apart has gradually increased since the enactment of equal parental leave rights. Furthermore, analysis of data collected among parents of children born in 2009 and 2014 shows that when parents have an equal division of care, the mother is likelier to find it easier to make ends meet in the child’s fourth year. These findings emphasise the importance of policies that promote care participation of fathers living apart from the mother.