Parental Leave and Re-entry to Work After Childbirth


For (expectant) mothers and fathers, the decision whether to take a parental leave and when to return to work represents a key challenge during the transition to parenthood. We aim at predicting these plans and at predicting why actual postnatal behavior might deviate from prenatal planning. Thereby, we do not only apply an individual perspective, but also a dyadic perspective. At the couple level, for instance, we investigate the influence of one’s own attitude toward gender roles on one’s own parental leave decision, but also the role of one parent’s attitudes on the other parent’s leave decision. Besides parental leave decisions, we examine how mothers and fathers experience their family-related time off from work.

In case parental leave has been taken, the challenge of returning to work follows. Here, we investigate attitudinal, motivational and contextual predictors for a successful re-entry of mothers and consider different success criteria, such as the social re-integration into the workplace.

We use longitudinal designs and daily diary designs for our research.

Selected Publications:

Wiese, B. S., & Stertz, A. M. (2022). Mothers' regrets of having (or not having) returned to work after childbirth: Longitudinal relationships with organizational commitment. Applied Psychology, 1-26

Stertz, A. M., Horvath, L. K., & Wiese, B. S. (2020). What influences fathers' daily work-related worries during parental leave? A diary study. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 118, 103375.

Stertz, A. M., Grether, T., & Wiese, B. S. (2017). Gender-role attitudes and parental work decisions after childbirth: A longitudinal dyadic perspective with dual-earner couples. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 101, 104-118.

Wiese, B. S., & Ritter, J. O. (2012). Timing matters: Length of leave and working mothers’ daily re-entry regrets. Developmental Psychology, 48,1797-1807.

Wiese, B. S., & Heidemeier, H. (2012). Successful return to work after maternity leave: Self-regulatory and contextual influences. Research in Human Development, 9, 317-336.

Jaeckel, D., Seiger, C. P., Orth, U., & Wiese, B. S. (2012). Social supportreciprocity and occupational self-efficacy beliefs during mothers' organizational re-entry. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80, 390-399.


Bettina S. Wiese and Anna M. Stertz

SNF Funded by DFG