New Journal Publication: EU’s Work-Life Balance Directive in Denmark and Poland

Our article with Caroline de la Porte and Trine Larsen on the the EU as (possibly) gender-equalizing regulatory welfare state is out in The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, a special issue on Regulatory Welfare State

Reference: De la Porte Caroline, Larsen Trine P, Szelewa Dorota. 2020. A Gender Equalizing Regulatory Welfare State? Enacting the EU’s Work-Life Balance Directive in Denmark and Poland. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2020;691(1):84-103. doi:10.1177/0002716220956910


This article examines the implementation of the European Union’s (EU) work-life balance directive in Denmark and Poland through examining the earmarking of paid parental leave. This enables us to assess whether the EU could be emerging as a gender equalizing regulatory welfare state (RWS). Our analysis points to tensions arising when regulatory decisions are made at a higher level of governance but require implementation and funding at lower levels of governance. In both countries, there are similar parental leave schemes ex-ante, and major actors had similar initial stances on parental leave, favoring stagnation. Yet the plans to implement show how the actors’ positions changed, and the likely result is extended parental leave, with payment (known as double expansion) and more gender-equal participation (degenderization) in parental leave. Although in two different institutional settings, the similar outcome suggests that these changes are due to the European Union acting as an emerging RWS, which influences Member States’ regulatory instruments with fiscal elements.


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