What is it about?

Does job loss affect women and men differently in terms of employment, hourly wages, working hours, and commuting distances outcomes? And does it differ between expectant mothers and expectant fathers? After experiencing job loss, compared to men, women tend to: - remain unemployed longer - experience a slightly smaller hourly wage loss - work fewer hours in their new job - experience a smaller increase in the commuting distance from home to the workplace Other key observations: - the negative effect of job loss on unemployment and working hours is amplified for pregnant women, not for expectant fathers - men who worked part time before becoming unemployed took longer to secure a job than men who previously worked full time, and fared worse in terms of hourly wages

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Why is it important?

Job loss widens gender gaps in employment, working hours and commuting distance but not in hourly wages. The results suggest that women's greater tendency for job flexibility increases their job search duration but does not widen the gender hourly wage gap in the three-year period after job loss. Women's longer unemployment duration after experiencing job loss is costly. In addition, the results suggest women are less competitive in the labour market through smaller job search areas. For expectant mothers and fathers, job loss widens gender gaps in employment and working hours. We show that unforeseen job loss negatively affects expectant mothers’ but not expectant fathers’ labour market outcomes, on top of the well-established child penalty effect. Expectant mothers' job loss can be perceived as the start of a large gender gap in employment over the life course. This research is relevant for policies that aim to narrow gender gaps, as it provides a better understanding of how workers respond to job loss and whether this is different for (expectant) mothers and (expectant) fathers.

Perspectives

Gender gaps remain pervasive in many countries. We show that expectant mothers are more likely to remain disconnected from the labour market for a longer period after job loss. An important policy recommendation is to protect pregnant women against the consequences of employment discontinuity.

Dr Jordy Meekes
Universiteit Leiden

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This page is a summary of: Gender differences in job flexibility: Commutes and working hours after job loss, Journal of Urban Economics, May 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2022.103425.
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