Keywords: Parental leave; Fatherhood; Work Environment; Family Friendliness; Second Welfare.
The article explores whether workplaces, in private companies that implement policies for the work-life balance and that are defined as family friendly, could encourage fathers to use parental leave. Interviews with human resources managers and fathers who used parental leave reveal that family friendly companies are not encouraging, when they are not father friendly. In fact, despite their commitment in sustaining the work-life balance of the employees, the family friendliness constructed by the formal and informal policies is gendered as feminine and discouraging for a father to use parental leave. Moreover, company- level policies and work environments often reproduce gender stereotypes and parental leave becomes an act of laziness and betrayal toward a caring company. The interaction between public and company welfare helps also to shed light on the relation between the so-called first and second welfare in an innovative way, by showing how the latter could retroact on the former.