Part-time Parental Leave and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the Netherlands

Laëtitia Dillenseger, Martijn J. Burger*, Francis Munier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is extensive literature on the relationship between having children and life satisfaction. Although parenthood can provide meaningfulness in life, parenting may increase obligations and decrease leisure time, reducing life satisfaction. In the Netherlands, parental leave is a part-time work arrangement that allows parents with young children to reconcile better work and family commitments. Using panel data from the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social Sciences (LISS), we estimated with fixed-effects models the impact of the part-time parental leave scheme in the Netherlands on the life satisfaction of parents with young children. We find that the legal framework of Dutch parental leave offering job-protected leave and fiscal benefits are conducive to parents’ life satisfaction. Our findings hold using different model specifications. Additionally, we did not find evidence for existing reverse causality and that shorter and more elaborate parental leave schemes are more beneficial for life satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3019-3041
Number of pages23
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number6
Early online date30 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Children
  • Life Satisfaction
  • Parental Leave scheme
  • Part-time
  • The Netherlands
  • Work-life balance


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