Are parental leaves considered as work interruptions by survey respondents? A methodological note


  • Chaowen Chan McGill University
  • Dana Hamplová
  • Céline Le Bourdais McGill University



Parental leave, work interruption, measurement, retrospective survey


Parental leaves and family-related work interruptions are linked to a variety of issues, such as children’s well-being or women’s work trajectories. Yet, the measurement of periods of absence from the labour market might be imprecise, especially in retrospective surveys. To evaluate the quality of the collected information, we examine whether women who reported taking a parental leave longer than six months also mentioned a corresponding work interruption, using the 2008 Living in Canada Survey (LCS) – Pilot. Our analysis shows that nearly half of women failed to do so. We investigate the sources of the discrepancy and suggest possible avenues of change for future surveys.

Author Biography

Chaowen Chan, McGill University

Department of Sociology