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When Family-Friendly Policies Backfire

Stashed in: Women

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Sobering look at numerous real-life examples of policies which were intended to help working mothers but end up having measurable negative effects on their employment. I know that here in Silicon Valley, one of the whispered reasons not to have female employees -- especially in management and VC positions -- is that they are thought to be constantly waiting to file lawsuits.

The consequences of Spain's law are way worse than I thought.

Spain passed a law in 1999 giving workers with children younger than 7 the right to ask for reduced hours without fear of being laid off. Those who took advantage of it were nearly all women.

Over the next decade, companies were 6 percent less likely to hire women of childbearing age compared with men, 37 percent less likely to promote them and 45 percent more likely to dismiss them, according to a study led by Daniel Fernández-Kranz, an economist at IE Business School in Madrid. The probability of women of childbearing age not being employed climbed 20 percent. Another result: Women were more likely to be in less stable, short-term contract jobs, which are not required to provide such benefits.

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