Normative Distortions in Labour Law: Exploring the Field of Parental Rights in Working Life

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article identifies, conceptualizes and analyses a normative conflict, embedded in social practises and conceptions on gender in the institutional framework of the market, which underlies labour law regulation as well as legal argumentation regarding working parents. The article evinces and models the basic structure of vital mechanisms operative in weakening parental rights in working life and labour law. The model is fleshed out inductively, using examples from Swedish national law, where the protection of parental rights is fairly strongly formulated, but where, in the same time, the provisions concerning employees’ parenthood have a relatively weak position in the living law. The weakness is explained as a normative incoherence, as expressed in labour law adjudication. In their application, legal provisions to support parental caring and gender equality thus can be forced to give way to encroaching norms based on the value of market efficiency.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Law


  • Gender, labour law, market values, motherhood, normative conflict, parental rights, Swedish law
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Issue number4
Early online date2018 Feb 1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug
Publication categoryResearch