Fired and pregnant: gender differences in job flexibility outcomes after job loss

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 03/20

Date: April 2020


Jordy Meekes
Wolter H. J. Hassink


We study whether women and men cope with job loss differently, focusing on the importance of workers’ job flexibility and household setting. Our empirical analysis is based on Dutch administrative monthly microdata over the period 2006-2017 using a quasi-experimental design involving job loss because of firm bankruptcy. We find for displaced women, but not for displaced men, a persistence in job flexibilities involving limited working hours and short commuting distance. Relative to men, women experience longer unemployment and a slightly smaller hourly wage loss after job loss, suggesting that displaced women trade off job flexibilities to longer job search without widening the gender pay gap. Also, we show that women who are pregnant when job loss occurs experience large losses in employment and conditional on re-employment take up a highly flexible job. Policy advice is to protect pregnant women against the consequences of dismissal due to firm bankruptcy.

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