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No parents left behind : a feminist and intersectional perspective on Canadian and Argentine parental… Cornejo, Sofia 2021

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NO PARENTS LEFT BEHIND: A FEMINIST AND INTERSECTIONAL PERSPECTIVE ON CANADIAN AND ARGENTINE PARENTAL LEAVE LAWS by  Sofia Cornejo  Abog., Universidad Nacional de Rio Cuarto, 2015  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF LAWS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)   April 2021  © Sofia Cornejo, 2021    ii  The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the thesis entitled: No Parents Left Behind: A Feminist and Intersectional Perspective on Canadian and Argentine Parental Leave Laws  submitted by Sofia Cornejo in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Laws in Law  Examining Committee: Debra Parkes, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC Supervisor  Bethany Hastie, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law, UBC  Supervisory Committee Member   iii  Abstract  Gender inequality in the distribution of unpaid care work and participation in the labour market is a critical issue around the world. Many countries have introduced parental leave policies as a mechanism to mitigate this gender disparity, having a direct impact on two main aspects of a person’s life: family and work. Nevertheless, most of these policies continue to be based on a nuclear family and the standard worker models, which are outdated. Families and work have recently experienced profound transformations, becoming more complex and diverse. Several families and types of employment have emerged, disputing the prevalence of the nuclear family and standard worker models. This leads to questioning whether parental leave policies have addressed these transformations and ensured equal protection for all parents across different families and employment relationships, closing the gender gaps or, conversely, these policies have reinforced not only gender but also social inequalities. Through a comprehensive comparative study of the Argentine and Canadian laws, this thesis deconstructs the assumptions about an ideal family and worker that underpin the parental leave regulations and the outcomes for parents in various families and employment relationships. Despite the Canadian legislation appearing to be more progressive and gender-inclusive than the Argentine, this thesis argues that both countries' parental leave laws fall short in ensuring equal access to and scope of leave benefits for parents in different families and employment arrangements. Through feminist and intersectional lenses, several indicators of the preference for an ideal nuclear family and standard worker that persist in the parental leave regulations of Argentina and Canada are identified. Furthermore, the negative effects experienced by certain non-traditional families and non-standard workers when trying to access parental leave benefits iv  in the compared jurisdictions are discussed. This thesis concludes that in Argentina and Canada, non-traditional families and non-standard workers encounter greater barriers to access to and receive less parental leave benefits than parents in nuclear families and standard employment, which reinforces gender and social inequalities. The understanding of the unequal protection granted to different families and workers in the context of parental leave policies may benefit future legal reforms.    v  Lay Summary  Parental leave policies involve two of the most important aspects of a person’s life: family and work. Both institutions have experienced significant transformations that resulted in the emergence of many families and employment types. This thesis investigates whether parental leave laws have addressed these changes by offering equal access to the same benefits for parents in different families and forms of employment. By comparing the laws of Argentina and Canada, this study shows that parental leave regulations have not yet been adapted to the new paradigms. In both countries, the parental leave laws remain based on assumptions about a traditional nuclear family and standard worker. Consequently, non-traditional families and non-standard workers face greater difficulties to access parental leave benefits. This study contributes to the understanding that ensuring equal parental leave protection for all families and workers is an essential step toward promoting gender and social equality.    vi  Preface  This thesis is original, unpublished, independent work by the author Sofia Cornejo. vii  Table of Contents  Abstract ................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary ...........................................................................................................................v Preface ..................................................................................................................................... vi Table of Contents .................................................................................................................. vii List of Figures ......................................................................................................................... xi List of Abbreviations ............................................................................................................ xii Acknowledgements .............................................................................................................. xiii Dedication ............................................................................................................................. xiv Chapter 1: Introduction ..........................................................................................................1 1.1 Conceptual Framework ............................................................................................. 7 1.1.1 Deconstructing Gender: Nancy Fraser’s Feminist Approach to Gender Equity ... 7 1.1.2 Applying Fraser’s Approach to Comparative Research on Parental Leave Policies .............................................................................................................................. 9 1.1.3 Key Concepts: Parental Leave, Maternity Leave, and Paternity Leave ............. 11 1.2 Legal Framework .................................................................................................... 12 1.2.1 The Argentine Maternity and Paternity Leave Laws .......................................... 15 1.2.1.1 Maternity Leave .......................................................................................... 16 1.2.1.2 Paternity Leave ........................................................................................... 18 1.2.2 The Canadian Parental Leave System ................................................................. 18 1.2.2.1 Maternity Leave .......................................................................................... 20 1.2.2.2 Parental Leave ............................................................................................. 21 viii  1.3 Limitations and Future Research ............................................................................ 23 1.4 Thesis Outline ......................................................................................................... 24 Chapter 2: Preferred by the Law: Parental Leave and the Nuclear Family ....................27 2.1 The Ideal Model: The Nuclear Family .................................................................... 28 2.1.1 Conceptualization ............................................................................................... 28 2.1.2 Gender Inequality and the Nuclear Family ......................................................... 31 2.1.3 Alternative Family Models. Looking Beyond the Nuclear Family .................... 34 2.2 Parental Leave and the Nuclear Family .................................................................. 40 2.2.1 The Remains of the Nuclear Family Model in the Argentine Parental Leave Law….. ........................................................................................................................... 41 2.2.2 The Remains of the Nuclear Family Model in the Canadian Parental Leave Law…. ............................................................................................................................ 49 2.3 Chapter Conclusions: The Preferred Family Model ............................................... 52 Chapter 3: Non-traditional Families: Exclusions and Limitations in the Parental Leave Laws ........................................................................................................................................54 3.1 Parental Leave and Adoptive Families ................................................................... 55 3.1.1 Adoptive Families in Argentina .......................................................................... 55 3.1.2 Adoptive Families in Canada .............................................................................. 61 3.1.2.1 Discrimination Claims ................................................................................ 65 3.1.3 Section Conclusions: Adoptive Families and Parental Leave Policies ............... 69 3.2 Same-Sex Parents .................................................................................................... 70 3.2.1 Same-Sex Families in Argentina ........................................................................ 70 ix  3.2.1.1 The Legal Inconsistency in the LCL Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations ................................................................................................................. 70 3.2.1.2 The Outcomes of the LCL Inconsistency: Litigation and the Need for Legal Reform…. ................................................................................................................... 75 3.2.2 Same Sex Families in Canada ............................................................................. 80 3.2.3 Section Conclusions: Same-sex Parents and Parental Leave Policies ................ 83 3.3 Lone-Parent Families .............................................................................................. 84 3.3.1 Lone Motherhood, Vulnerability, and Parental Leave Policies .......................... 85 3.3.2 Lone-Parent Families in Argentina ..................................................................... 88 3.3.3 Lone-Mother Families in Canada ....................................................................... 90 3.3.4 Section Conclusions: Lone Parents and Parental Leave Policies ....................... 94 3.4 Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Multi-parents ........................................ 94 3.5 Chapter Conclusions ............................................................................................... 99 Chapter 4: Non-standard Employment and Parental Leave Benefits ............................101 4.1 From Standard to Non-Standard Employment Relationships ............................... 102 4.1.1 The Gender Dimension of Standard and Non-Standard Employment Relationships ................................................................................................................. 104 4.2 Part-time Employment .......................................................................................... 106 4.2.1 Conceptualization ............................................................................................. 106 4.2.2 Who are Part-time Workers? ............................................................................ 109 4.2.3 Part-time Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits ........................ 113 4.2.4 Summary ........................................................................................................... 118 4.3 Self-employment ................................................................................................... 120 x  4.3.1 Conceptualization ............................................................................................. 120 4.3.2 Who are Self-employed Workers? .................................................................... 122 4.3.3 Self-Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits ................................ 125 4.3.4 Summary ........................................................................................................... 129 4.4 Temporary Workers .............................................................................................. 130 4.4.1 Conceptualization ............................................................................................. 130 4.4.2 Who are Temporary Workers? .......................................................................... 131 4.4.3 Temporary Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits ..................... 133 4.4.4 Summary ........................................................................................................... 136 4.5 Informal Employment ........................................................................................... 136 4.5.1 Conceptualization ............................................................................................. 136 4.5.2 Who are Informal Workers? ............................................................................. 138 4.5.3 Unprotected Workers: Analysis of the Exclusion of Informal Workers from Parental Leave Protections ............................................................................................ 141 4.6 Final Thoughts ...................................................................................................... 143 Chapter 5: Conclusion .........................................................................................................146 5.1 Recommendations ................................................................................................. 150 5.1.1 Specific Recommendations ............................................................................... 150 Bibliography .........................................................................................................................153  xi  List of Figures  Figure 1: Argentine Labour Law System ................................................................................ 13 Figure 2: Canadian Labour Law System ................................................................................ 14 Figure 3: Total Length of Parental Leave by Family Model, Including Parental Sharing Benefits ................................................................................................................................... 62  xii  List of Abbreviations ART Assisted Reproductive Technologies CHA Comunidad Homosexual Argentina EI Act Employment Insurance Act ILO International Labour Organization INDEC Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos [National Institute of Statistics and Censuses of Argentina]  LCL Argentine Labour Contracts Law  LGBTQ+ Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and all gender identities and sexualities that are not included in the previous groups.   NSER Non-standard Employment Relationships  OECD The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development OIT Organizacion Internacional del Trabajo QPIP Quebec Parental Insurance Plan SER Standard Employment Relationships SMC Single Mothers by Choice  UI Act Unemployment Insurance Act UN United Nations  xiii  Acknowledgements  I would like to thank my supervisor Prof. Debra Parkes, for providing direction and guidance throughout my graduate studies. Her contagious enthusiasm, enormous dedication, and great mentorship made my master’s program a rich and fascinating experience. I would also like to thank my second reader, Prof. Bethany Hastie. Her insightful comments, suggestions, and discussions have contributed to my academic development and made my master’s a fruitful experience.  I must thank the University of British Columbia, the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Peter A. Allard School of Law for the opportunity and support received during this time. Particularly, I would like to thank the professors of the courses I took as part of the program for a valuable knowledge transferred.  I feel especially grateful to my parents Alejandra and Marcelo, my brother Manuel, my sister Carola, and all my family for their support throughout my life. I also feel the need to express my deepest gratitude to my boyfriend Franco for his support in my decision to pursue graduate studies, and his constant encouragement without which this work would not have been possible. Special thanks to my closest friends in Canada for their help and time shared with me, and to my friends in Argentina for being in touch and making me feel they are close. Last but not least, I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this work.   xiv  Dedication         In loving memory of my father, Marcelo,  for teaching me life’s most important values. 1  Chapter 1: Introduction  According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), women perform about three-quarters of the total hours of unpaid care work, which means that women spend 3 hours more than men per day performing unpaid care work.1 This gendered unequal distribution of care work negatively affects female participation in the labor market.2 Although the female employment rate has significantly risen over the last decades, the gender gap in employment is still striking.3 In 2017, the global labour force participation rate for men was about 26% higher than for women, and this gender gap reached roughly 50% in some regions such as India, Pakistan, and Algeria.4 Moreover, in both developing and developed countries, female  1 ILO, Care work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work (2018) at xxix online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_633135.pdf accessed 11 February 2021.  2 OECD Development Centre  “Unpaid Care Work: The Missing Link in the Analysis of Gender Gaps  in Labour Outcomes” by Gaëlle Ferrant et al. (OECD Development Centre: December 2014) 12 online https://www.oecd.org/dev/development-gender/Unpaid_care_work.pdf accessed 22 February 2021. 3 According to the UN, “[i]n 2018, young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in school or in a training programme.”  UN Women & UN DESA, “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2019” (2019) at 14, online: <https://www.unwomen.org/-/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2019/progress-on-the-sdgs-the-gender-snapshot-2019-single-pages-en.pdf?la=en&vs=5813>. 4 ILO, “The Gender Gap in Employment: What's Holding Women Back?” Infostories (ILO:  December 2017) online https://www.ilo.org/infostories/en-GB/Stories/Employment/barriers-women#global-gap accessed 18 February 2021. 2  workers are paid less than their male counterparts, overrepresented in part-time and other non-standard jobs, and underrepresented in managerial positions.5  Parental leave policies have been proposed as a mechanism to reduce gender inequalities. These policies have a considerable impact on two of the most important aspects of a person’s life: family and work.6 It has been shown that parental leave policies may lead to a more gender-egalitarian distribution of unpaid care work by boosting men’s involvement in childcare, affecting the family dimension.7 For instance, a 2019 research study found a positive link between fathers’ parental leave-taking and the time allocated to childcare and housework.8 Moreover, the study showed that fathers who had taken parental leave continued to be involved in childcare activities even after returning to work.9 Simultaneously, parental leave policies can help to reduce the gender gap in employment and improve women’s opportunities in the  5 Gaëlle Ferrant et al., supra note 2. ILO, Women in Non-standard Employment (ILO, 2017) online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_556160.pdf accessed 4 February 2021. 6 Linda Haas & Tine Rostgaard, “Fathers’ Rights to Paid Parental Leave in the Nordic Countries: Consequences for the Gendered Division of Leave” (2011) 14:2 Community, Work Fam 177, online: <https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13668803.2011.571398> accessed 18 February 2021. ILO, Report of the International Labour Office, Maternity and Paternity at Work: Law and Practice across the World (Geneva: ILO, 2014). https://www.unicef.org/sites/default/files/2019-07/UNICEF-Gender-Family-Friendly-Policies-2019.pdf accessed 18 February 2021.  7 Andrea Doucet & Lindsey McKay, L. (2020), "Fathering, Parental Leave, Impacts, and Gender Equality: What/How are we Measuring?" (2020) 40:5/6 IJSSP 441  https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-04-2019-0086 accessed 22 February 202. Marcus Tamm, “Fathers’ Parental Leave-Taking, Childcare Involvement and Labor Market Participation” (2019) 59 Labour Economics 184 DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2019.04.007 accessed 18 February 2021. Anna-Lena Almqvist and Ann-Zofie Duvander "Changes in gender equality? Swedish Fathers' Parental Leave, Division of Childcare and Housework." (2014) 20:1 Journal of Family Studies 19 online link.gale.com/apps/doc/A376071087/HRCA?u=ubcolumbia&sid=HRCA&xid=f2bba9b1 accessed 18 Feb. 2021. 8 Marcus Tamm, supra note 7 at 190. 9 Ibid. 3  labour market.10 Previous research has demonstrated that parental leave policies may encourage women of childbearing age to enter into the labour force, increase the retention of female employees, and the rate of mothers who return to work after childbirth.11  Many countries have implemented policies to reduce gender inequalities at home and in the workplace. According to ILO, in 2013, more than 120 nations provided maternity leave, 69 countries offered paternity leave, and 66 countries granted parental leave benefits.12 In Canada, the Employment Insurance Act (EI Act)13 grants shared parental leave benefits to all parents who meet the eligibility requirements regardless of their gender. Furthermore, recent reforms have extended the length of parental leave benefits, introduced a voluntary option into the system for self-employed parents, and a sharing bonus to promote gender equality in the household and the workplace. However, the full length of parental leave benefits is not equal for both parents given that only the parent who gave birth is eligible for maternity leave benefits up to 15 weeks. On the other hand, the Argentine parental leave system seems to be outdated compared with the Canadian system. Fixed to the male-breadwinner/female-caregiver  10 Referring to family-supportive policies in general: Haya Stier et al. “Welfare Regimes, Family‐Supportive Policies, and Women’s Employment along the Life‐Course.”  (2001)106:6 American Journal of Sociology 1731 Online www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/321302 accessed 15 February 2021. Anna-Lena Almqvist & Ann-Zofie Duvander, supra note 7. 11 Willem Adema et al, Paid Parental Leave: Lessons from OECD Countries and Selected U.S. States, OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 172, (Paris: OECD Publishing, 2015) at 98 online https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/docserver/5jrqgvqqb4vb-en.pdf?expires=1617036109&id=id&accname=guest&checksum=EF69885E5EED58610C7C8A37A9A960D4 accessed 29 March 2021.  12 ILO, supra note 6. 13 Employment Insurance Act (EI Act), SC 1996, c 23, online https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/ENG/ACTS/E-5.6/page-7.html#h-216150 accessed 3 September 2020. 4  paradigm, the Labour Contracts Law (LCL)14 still assumes that women are the main and only caregivers15 and regulates uneven maternity and paternity leave benefits. Specifically, mothers can take up to 90 days of maternity leave, whereas fathers can only take 2 days of paternity leave. Unlike the Canadian Employment Insurance Act, the Argentine Labour Contracts Law does not regulate shared parental leave benefits. Also, the use of gendered vocabulary in the Argentine labour legislation leads to the exclusion of LGBTQ+ parents from access to leave benefits.16 Although the Canadian parental leave system seems to be more progressive than the Argentine legislation, both countries’ parental leave regulations remain based on assumptions about an ideal family and worker model which restricts access to the benefits for parents who do not meet these expectations.  All over the world, including Argentina and Canada, families and work have recently experienced profound transformations, becoming more diverse and complex. Social, cultural, and legal changes have led to the emergence and recognition of diverse family models. Similarly, economic, and empirical factors have produced the proliferation of various types of employment. Therefore, the nuclear family and the standard worker that have been traditionally assumed as the ideal models in laws and policies, seem to be outdated. This leads  14 Ley de Contratos de Trabajo [Labour Contracts Law], LCL, No. 25552 T.O 390/1976, online: http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/25000-29999/25552/texact.htm accessed 2 September 2020. 15 Valeria Esquivel & Eleonor Faur, “Beyond maternalism?: The Political and Social Organization of Childcare in Argentina” in Silke Staab Shahra Razavi, ed, Global Variations in the Political and Social Economy of Care, Worlds Apart, 1st ed (New York: Routledge, 2012) 103. 16 Eleonor Faur, “Contrasting Trends in Gender and Childcare in Argentina: Family Policies Between LGBT Rights and Maternalism” (2018) 66:4 Curr Sociol 617, online: <https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392118765250>. 5  to questioning whether the Argentine and Canadian parental leave policies have addressed these transformations and ensured equal protection for all parents across different families and employment relationships, closing the gender gaps or, conversely, reinforcing not only gender but also social inequalities. This thesis argues that to effectively promote gender equality through parental leave policies, the benefits should be effectively available for all parents across different families and forms of employment. The traditional family model, the nuclear family, composed of two heterosexual parents and their biological children, has been assumed as the ideal model in laws and policies, including parental leave legislation. However, over the last decades, families have experienced important transformations challenging the prevalence of the nuclear family standard. In Argentina and Canada, adoptive, same-sex, lone-parent, and multi-parent families, among others, coexist today with the traditional nuclear family. In this context, this thesis claims that the Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws have fallen short in recognizing the diversity and complexity of families. Using feminist and intersectional lenses, this study identifies several indicators that demonstrate that the ideal nuclear family continues to be the preferred family model in both countries’ laws. Therefore, non-traditional families face greater barriers to access and receive fewer benefits than nuclear families.  Furthermore, the nuclear family, based on a heterosexual union, is by its definition highly gendered and strongly connected with a gender division of labour. Thus, some non-traditional families challenge the gender foundations of the nuclear family and likely encounter the biggest constraints to access parental leave benefits. To illustrate it, LGBTQ+ parents are effectively excluded from access to maternity and paternity leave benefits in Argentina, while in Canada, gay same-sex parents are granted a shorter period of leave than their heterosexual counterparts. 6  Simultaneously, the standard employment relationship (SER) has been assumed as the ideal worker model in Western countries, including Argentina and Canada. Nevertheless, recent transformations in the economic and political global contexts have resulted in the emergence and proliferation of several forms of non-standard employment. Part-time work, self-employment, informal work, to mention a few, are displacing the full-time, full-year, and dependent standard worker as the dominant model in the labour market. This thesis argues that the parental leave policies in Argentina and Canada remain underpinned by assumptions about a standard worker, which negatively affects access to leave benefits for non-standard workers. In both countries, informal, part-time, among other non-standard jobs, pay lower wages, offer more precarious working conditions, and few or non-existent social protections. Hence, restricting access to parental leave benefits for non-standard workers has an impact on social equality, being the lower socio-economic groups disproportionally affected.  While acknowledging that parental leave policies may help to counterbalance gender inequality in the household and workplace, this study claims that to effectively promote gender and social equality, the benefits should be accessible for all parents across different families and forms of employment. Through a comprehensive comparative study of the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations, this thesis demonstrates that both countries’ laws remain based on assumptions about an ideal nuclear family and standard worker, models that no longer represent the reality. Consequently, although the differences in the policies design, both the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations fall short in granting equal access to and scope of benefits for parents in non-traditional families and non-standard employment arrangements. Drawing on a feminist and intersectional perspective, it is revealed that the differential treatment offered by the compared parental leave laws has a profound impact on 7  gender and social inequality. In Argentina and Canada, women and LGBTQ+ persons from lower socio-economic sectors are disproportionally affected.  1.1 Conceptual Framework 1.1.1 Deconstructing Gender: Nancy Fraser’s Feminist Approach to Gender Equity Nancy Fraser’s article After the Family Wage17 provides a suitable theoretical framework to discuss the gender implications of social benefits. According to Fraser, welfare states, and the social benefits granted by them, are premised on the assumption of a traditional gender order that is now in crisis.18 The old gender order, centered on the family wage, relied on the assumption that people were “organized into heterosexual, male-headed nuclear families, which lived principally from the man's labor market earnings.”19 The male/breadwinner and women/caregiver division of labour is now undergoing a normative and conceptual crisis.20 Over the last decades, productive and reproductive work have been fundamentally transformed21, and “a new world of economic production and social reproduction is emerging – a world of less stable employment and more diverse families.”22   17 Nancy Fraser, “After the Family Wage: Gender Equity and the Welfare State” (1994) 22:4 Polit Theory 591, online: <https://www.jstor.org/stable/192041> accessed 8 November 2020. 18 Ibid at 591-592. 19 Ibid at 591. 20 Ibid at 592. 21 Ibid. 22 Ibid. 8   Although being in decline, the old gender order is still the supporting pillar of the welfare state and its social benefits. Against this background, Fraser proposes a radical transformation; the development of a new welfare state that effectively addresses people’s needs.23 In Fraser words,  “It is clear (…) that the old forms of welfare state, built on assumptions of male-headed families and relatively stable jobs, are no longer suited to providing this protection. We need something new, a postindustrial welfare state suited to radically new conditions of employment and reproduction.”24  Having declared the need for a fundamental transformation, Nancy Fraser asks: “[w]hat then should a postindustrial welfare state look like?”25 She concedes that this new welfare state must support a gender order, “[b]ut the only kind of gender order that can be acceptable today is one premised on gender equity.”26 Throughout the rest of the article, Fraser undertakes a thought experiment and analyses two possible gender orders that could replace the old one: the universal breadwinner27 and caregiver parity model.28 She concludes that neither of these alternatives “delivers full gender equality.”29   23 Ibid at 593-594. 24 Ibid at 592. 25 Ibid. 26 Ibid at 593. 27 Ibid at 601-605. 28 Ibid at 605-610. 29 Ibid at 611. “Neither model, however, promotes women's full participation on a par with men in politics and civil society.  And neither values female-associated practice enough to ask men to do them, too; neither asks men to change.” Ibid at 610 9  Therefore, Fraser advances a third option that consists of deconstructing gender to achieve gender equity.30 Deconstructing gender demands a radical transformation in society that involves fundamental changes in productive as well as in reproductive work. Regarding the productive work, “all jobs would assume workers who are caregivers”31. Regarding reproductive work, Fraser reimagines it as follows:  “[E]mployees would not be assumed to shift all care work to social services. Some informal care work would be publicly supported and integrated on a par with paid work in a single social-insurance system. Some would be performed in households by relatives and friends, but such households would not necessarily be heterosexual nuclear families. Other supported care work would be located outside of households altogether-in civil society.”32    In summary, to achieve gender equity, Fraser proposes reimagining a new gender order that will replace the old one. Social rights that aim to achieve substantive equality, including parental leave, should be attuned to this new gender order.   1.1.2 Applying Fraser’s Approach to Comparative Research on Parental Leave Policies Nancy Fraser’s article After the Family Wage33 offers a suitable theoretical framework for this dissertation, for several reasons. Fraser’s theoretical approach supports the starting  30 “Achieving gender equity in a postindustrial welfare state, then, requires deconstructing gender.” Ibid at 612. 31 Ibid. 32 Ibid at 612-613. 33 Ibid. 10  point of my research, which is that parental leave regulations rely on assumptions about an ideal family and worker models. As described above, Fraser has argued that welfare states, and the benefits provided by them, support an old gender order that is attached to the ideal family and worker models.34 Moreover, her approach serves to justify the structure of this dissertation. In her article, Fraser considered the transformations in families and the labour market, aware of the implications of the normative assumption of an old gender order in productive as well as in reproductive work.35 To assess the inclusiveness of Argentine and Canadian parental leave benefits, I also draw on these two axes that are family models and employment relationships.  Besides providing the foundations for my starting argument and the structure for this dissertation, Fraser’s approach seems to be the most adequate theory to explain my findings and to understand the gender outcomes of the compared parental leave policies. Fraser’s transformative perspective and focus on gender equity support the claim that parental leave policies should be reformed to provide equal access and effective protection to all parents irrespective of the family models and working arrangements. Throughout this dissertation, and across the two axes, I intend to shed light on the gender implications of the compared parental leave policies. Fraser’s approach assists in identifying these gender outcomes and answering the question of whether Argentine and Canadian parental leave policies are promoting gender equity or reproducing gender inequalities. For all these reasons, this dissertation relies on Nancy Fraser’s After the Family Wage theoretical approach.  34 Ibid at 591-592. 35 Ibid. 11  1.1.3  Key Concepts: Parental Leave, Maternity Leave, and Paternity Leave Throughout this dissertation, I use the term parental leave with two different meanings: specific and general. In a specific sense, parental leave involves paid leave benefits granted to both parents, where there are two parents. These benefits may consist of a transferable individual right, a non-transferable individual right, or a family right that both parents can take simultaneously or alternatively.36 In contrast, in a general application, parental leave is an umbrella term that includes maternity, paternity, and parental leaves.37 Hence, in this generic sense, parental leave is understood as a paid leave benefit granted to either both or one parent of a newly born or adopted child. Other relevant concepts used throughout this dissertation are maternity and paternity leave. While maternity leave is a paid leave benefit exclusively granted to mothers38 or the person who gave birth, paternity leave is a paid leave benefit available, usually for a short period, for fathers only.39   36 “Leave available equally to mothers and fathers, either as: (i) a non-transferable individual right (i.e. both parents have an entitlement to an equal amount of leave); or (ii) an individual right that can be transferred to the other parent; or (iii) a family right that parents can divide between themselves as they choose.” International Network on Leave Policies and Research, Alison Koslowski et al. Eds, 15th International Review of Leave Policies and Related Research 2019, (International Network on Leave Policies and Research, 2019) at 5 online https://www.leavenetwork.org/fileadmin/user_upload/k_leavenetwork/annual_reviews/2019/2._2019_Compiled_Report_2019_0824-.pdf accessed 30 November 2020. 37 ParlAmericas, Policy Guide: Parental Leave, (Otawa: ParlAmericas, 2020) at 7, online http://parlamericas.org/uploads/documents/Parental_Leave_ENG.pdf accessed 30 November 2020. 38 International Network on Leave Policies and Research, supra note 36 at 5.  39 “Paternity leave is generally a short period of leave for the father immediately following childbirth. Its aim is to enable fathers to assist the mother to recover from childbirth, which is also crucial in establishing breastfeeding, take care of the newborn as well as other children, attend to the registration of the birth and other family-related responsibilities.” International Labour Organization (ILO), supra note 6 at 52.  12  The Argentine Labour Contracts Law does not provide for parental leave benefits in a specific sense. Under the Argentine labour law, eligible mothers and fathers can take maternity and paternity leave benefits, respectively. On the other hand, the Canadian EI Act entitles eligible parents to parental leave benefits in a specific sense. Also, the Canadian law grants maternity leave to eligible mothers; however, it does not provide for paternity leave benefits.    1.2 Legal Framework Politically, Argentina and Canada are organized under federal systems; thus, constitutional and legislative jurisdiction are divided into a federal government and several provinces.40 Nonetheless, these two countries have different legal traditions. On the one hand, Argentina embraces a civil law tradition. Therefore, written laws are the core of the legal system, and previous judicial decisions are not recognized as formal sources of law. On the other hand, Canada follows a common-law tradition. Since this legal tradition relies on the stare decision doctrine, Canadian judges must decide cases according to precedents and many legal principles are found in case law.  Moreover, both countries' labour and employment law systems reveal important differences. In Argentina, the federal government, concretely the National Legislative, is competent to enact labour law legislation,41 although the local governments can adopt laws to  40 Currently, Argentina is composed of 23 provinces while Canada is divided into 10 provinces and 3 territories. 41Constitucion Nacional de la Republica Argentina [National Constitution of Argentina], Ley Nº 24.430 [Law No 24.430] Art. 75 inc. 12 [article 75.12] online 13  regulate the rights and obligations for public employment relationships within the jurisdiction. The Argentine labour law system can be depicted as a pyramid (figure 1).42 On the top are the National Constitution and international treaties assimilated to the constitutional law, followed by international treaties with a hierarchy above the laws.43 Below is the Law of Labour Contracts. Next, at the bottom compartments of the pyramid, are other laws and professional statutes, collective agreements, employer-employee private agreements made in the context of the employment contract, and, lastly, the uses and customs.44    Figure 1: Argentine Labour Law System  http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/0-4999/804/norma.htm accessed 23 February 2021. 42 Gabriela T Mastaglia & Valerie Oosterveld, “Women’ s Rights under Labor Law: A Comparative Study of Argentina and Canada Women’s Rights Under Labor Law: A Comparative Study Of Argentina And Canada” (1997) 8:4 Comp Law Rev Law Rev 1, online: <http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/ilr/vol19/iss4/6> accessed 23 February 2021. 43Constitucion Nacional de la Republica Argentina, supra note 41 at Art. 75 inc. 22 [article 75. 22]. 44 LCL, supra note 14 at art. 1. 14  Conversely, in Canada (figure 2), excluding Quebec, the contract of employment, which emerges from the freedom of negotiation between employer and employee, is the first source of labour and employment law.45 The second source is collective agreements between trade unions and employers.46 Labour and employment statutes, which can be enacted by the federal government as well as by the provinces, made up a third source.47 All employment relationships – whether individual or collective – are governed and constrained by provincial or federal legislation, as the case may be, in accordance with the constitutional division of powers. Lastly, constitutional and international law are considered an additional source.48 Holding in mind these differences in legal traditions and labour and employment law systems, in the following paragraphs, I will briefly describe the Argentine and Canadian legal frameworks for parental leave benefits.    Figure 2: Canadian Labour Law System  45Law Casebook Group, “Chapter 1: Introduction”, in The Labour Law Casebook Group Ed., Labour and Employment Law: Cases, Materials, and Commentary, (Irwin Law: Ontario, 2018) 9 Ed 1 at 2 - 6. 46 Ibid at 2 and 6 – 12. 47 Ibid at 2 and 12-16. 48 Ibid at 2 and 16-19. 15  1.2.1 The Argentine Maternity and Paternity Leave Laws In Argentina, different laws and collective agreements provide the legal framework for maternity, paternity, and parental leave benefits. On the one hand, the Labour Contracts Law, LCL, introduced in 1976 and still in force, provides for two types of leave: maternity and paternity leave. These leave rights are granted to employees who hold formal employment contracts executed within the national territory,49 with the exceptions listed in the law.50 It is important to note that, to date, no shared parental leave rights have been granted by the Argentine labour law. On top of the LCL provisions, collective agreements may include clauses that improve the LCL maternity and paternity leave benefits for workers in a specific sector. On the other hand, given that workers in the public sector,51 agricultural sector,52 and domestic workers53 are excluded from the scope of the LCL,54 special laws confer parental leave rights to them. Although acknowledging this plurality of laws that rule parental leave  49 LCL, supra note 14. 50 Ibid at article 2. 51 Specific regulations grant parental leave benefits to workers in the public sector. 52 The law No. 26727, called Regimen de Trabajo Agrario [Agriculture Labour Law], regulates the parental leave benefits for rural workers. This special law provides for a thirty-day paternity leave, which is considerably longer than the LCL's benefit. Regimen de Trabajo Agrario [Agriculture Labour Law], Law No 26727, December 21, 2011, online http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/190000-194999/192152/norma.htm accessed 9 September 2020. 53 The law No. 26844, named Régimen Especial de Contrato de Trabajo para el Personal de Casas Particulares, states the rights and obligations that govern domestic work employment relationships. This law provides the same maternity leave benefits as the Labour Contracts Act, except for paternity leave and extended maternity leave benefits. Régimen Especial de Contrato de Trabajo para el Personal de Casas Particulares [Labour Contracts Law for Domestic Workers], Law No. 26844, March 13, 2013, online http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/210000-214999/210489/norma.htm accessed 9 September 2020. 54 LCL, supra note 14.  16  rights in Argentina, this dissertation will focus exclusively on maternity and paternity leave rights granted under the Labour Contracts Law (LCL).   1.2.1.1 Maternity Leave The Argentine Labour Contracts Law grants a 90-day paid maternity leave benefit for mothers employed in the formal sector. Under Title VII, called Women’s Work, chapter II: Maternity Protection, the LCL prohibits pregnant employees to work during 45 days before the expected date of delivery and 45 days after childbirth.55 Nevertheless, the law allows certain flexibility to female employees who may opt for reducing the pre-birth leave to up to 30 days while extending the period of leave after childbirth. During the leave, female employees will receive economic compensation which amount integrally replaces the wages that they will have earned if were working.56 This maternity allowance is paid by the National Social Insurance System,57 funded with the compulsory contributions of employees and employers.  After the expiration of the 90-day maternity leave, female employees can choose among three options. First, they can return to their former positions. The LCL imposes on employers  55 LCL, supra note 14 at Titulo VII: Trabajo de Mujeres, Capitulo II: De la Protección de la Maternidad, Articulo 177 [Title VII: Women’s Work, Chapter II: Maternity Protection, Article 177]. 56 Ibid 57 Ibid. Also, see the complementary ministerial resolution: Argentina, Ministerio de Salud y Desarrollo Social Secretaría de Seguridad Social , Resolución 11/2019 [Argentina, Ministry of Health and Social Development, Social Security Office, Resolution 11/2019], online https://www.argentina.gob.ar/normativa/nacional/resoluci%C3%B3n-11-2019-326006/actualizacion accessed 2 September 2020. 17  the obligation to keep open the job position for employees on maternity leave.58 Second, female employees can take extended unpaid leave for a minimum period of three months and a maximum of six months.59 This extraordinary unpaid leave does not count as a working period, which negatively affects the amount of future pensions and other social security benefits.60 Finally, female employees can opt to resign their jobs to stay at home and care for their children. In that case, employers must pay a reduced compensation for employment termination.61 Considering the short period of paid leave62 and the provision of an economic compensation for mothers who opt out the labour market to have more time available for childcare, the LCL maternity leave system appears to discourage women’s employment.63   58 LCL, supra note 14 at article 183.a. 59 Ibid at article 183.c. 60 Delfina Schenone Sienra, Apuntes para Repensar el Esquema de Licencias de Cuidado en Argentina (Buenos Aires, 2020) at 10. 61 In the case of opting for resigning employment after the expiration of the maternity leave, female workers are entitled to economic compensation that equals 25% of the compensation for wrongful dismissal. LCL, supra note 14 at article 183.b). 62 It is important to note that the duration of maternity leave in Argentina remains below international standards. According to ILO, the minimum duration for maternity leave should be fourteen weeks, while in the Argentine labour law this benefit is granted for twelve weeks.  Convention 183, Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183) ILO, 88th ILC Sess. (2000) at article 4: Maternity Leave, online https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C183 accessed on 2 September 2020. 63 Romina Cutuli & Aspiazu Eliana, “Las Políticas de Cuidado Infantil en Argentina. Aporte para su Clasificación y Evaluación” in Lanari, María Estela & Hasanbegovic, Claudia, eds., Mujeres de Latinoamérica El Presente en Veintidós Letras (Mar del Plata: EUDEM, 2015) 339 at 348. 18  1.2.1.2 Paternity Leave By assuming that women are mainly responsible for unpaid care work,64 the LCL entitles fathers to a brief period of paternity leave. In Argentina, fathers who are in an employment relationship within the scope of the LCL are eligible for a 2-day paternity leave65 that must be taken right after childbirth. Like maternity leave, during the period of paternity leave, workers will receive an income compensation that replaces a 100% of their earnings.66 The short duration of paternity leave and the requirement of providing at least 1 working day out of 2 leave days67 suggests, as Mario Ackerman has noted, that the intention of the labour law is allowing fathers to complete the paperwork in connection to childbirth rather than encourage them to participate in care work.68  1.2.2 The Canadian Parental Leave System Canada offers an extraordinary case study since two main parental leave programs coexist within its territory. On the one hand, parents who work in Canada outside Quebec fall under the federal program and can access to parental leave benefits provided under the  64 Valeria Esquivel & Eleonor Faur, supra note 15. 65 LCL, supra note 14 at Titulo V: De las Vacaciones y otras Licencias, Capitulo II: De las Licencias Especiales, Articulo 158.a [Title V: Vacations and other Leaves, Chapter II: Extraordinary Leaves, article 158.a].  66 Ibid, at article 159. 67 Ibid, at article 160. 68 Mario Ackerman, “La Discriminacion Laboral de la Mujer en las Normas Legales y Convencionales  en la Jurisprudencia en la Argentina” in Birgin, Haydee, ed., Ley, Mercado y Discriminación: El Género del Trabajo (Buenos Aires: Biblios, 2000) at 31. 19  Employment Insurance Act (EI Act). Also, since 2011, the EI parental leave benefits have been extended to self-employed workers who voluntarily opt into the system. On the other hand, since 2006, the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) entitles parents who work in Quebec to parental leave rights. Previous research has demonstrated that Quebec’s parental leave program imposes less restrictive qualifying requirements and provides more generous benefits than the EI federal program, reinforcing territorial inequalities.69 Also, the Canada Labour Code rules maternity and paternity leave benefits available for employees in federally regulated workplaces all over the country, including Quebec.70 Despite this territorial division of parental leave programs, the scope of this dissertation focus on the analysis of the parental leave rights entitled under the Employment Insurance Act.     69  McKay et al., drawing on quantitative data, have compared access to parental leave benefits between Quebec and the Rest of Canada. They concluded that “more families are parental-leave rich in Quebec than in Canada” and suggest that the differences in eligibility criteria may explain the unequal access to parental leave rights.  Lindsey McKay, Sophie Mathieu & Andrea Doucet, “Parental-leave Rich and Parental-leave Poor: Inequality in Canadian Labour Market based Leave Policies” (2016) 58:4 J Ind Relations 543. For a more detailed understanding of the differences between the federal and Quebec parental leave systems see Jennifer Robson, “Parental Benefits in Canada: Which Way Forward?” (2017) 63 Inst Res Public Policy, online: <https://irpp.org/research-studies/parental-benefits-in-canada-which-way-forward/>. Also, see Andrea Doucet et al, “Canada Country Note” in Alison Koslowski et al. eds, International Review of Leave and  Policies Research (2019) online https://www.leavenetwork.org/fileadmin/user_upload/k_leavenetwork/annual_reviews/2019/2._2019_Compiled_Report_2019_0824-.pdf accessed 23 February 2021. 70 Canada Labour Code, RSC 1985, c L-2, ss. 206 (maternity leave) and 206.1 (parental leave), online <http://canlii.ca/t/54b5q> accessed 3 September 2020. 20  1.2.2.1 Maternity Leave The EI federal program entitles eligible biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, with up to 15 weeks of maternity leave benefits payable at 55%71 of their average weekly earnings.72 Exceptionally, if the child is hospitalized, the maternity leave period may be extended,73 up to a maximum of 52 weeks after the date of birth.74 The economic compensation paid during maternity and parental leaves is funded by the premiums regularly paid by employees and employers.75  To qualify for maternity leave benefits, claimants must meet four eligibility requirements. Parents who intend to take maternity leave in Canada must demonstrate that they are unable to work due to pregnancy or childcare; have paid the EI premiums; have experienced a reduction in their regular weekly earnings by more than 40% for at least one week; and, have  71 EI Act, supra note 13. Canada, Employment and Social Development, EI Maternity and Parental Benefits: What these Benefits Offer, online https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-maternity-parental.html accessed 3 September 2020. 72 This maximum amount is regularly updated. In September 2020, the earnings ceiling was $573 per week. Ibid. 73 EI Act, supra note 13 at s. 22(6).  74 Ibid at s. 22(7). 75 Lindsey McKay et al, supra note 69 at 4.  21  accumulated at least 600 insurable hours76 of employment during the last 54 weeks.77 These strict eligibility criteria, especially the accumulation of 600 insurable hours, have been pointed out as one of the main barriers that restrict access to maternity and parental leave benefits.78 The same eligibility requirements must be met to access parental leave benefits.  1.2.2.2 Parental Leave The EI Act entitles biological and adoptive parents to parental leave rights to care for their newborn or adopted child. Since 2017, the EI Act allows eligible parents to opt between two alternative parental leave programs: standard and extended. The option between the two programs must be selected when applying for the EI benefits, and that decision will be irrevocable.79 Under the standard system, eligible parents can take up to 35 weeks of parental  76 In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has temporarily reduced the number of hours required to qualify for EI parental leave benefits from 600 to 120 insurable hours. This amendment of the EI eligibility requirements will be in effect from March 2020 to September 2021.  Canada, Employment Insurance – COVID-19, online https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/notice-covid-19.html accessed 22 February 2021. For a deeper analysis of this temporary amendment see Andrea Doucet, Sophie Mathieu & Lindsey McKay, “Reconceptualizing Parental Leave Benefits in COVID-19 Canada: From Employment Policy to Care and Social Protection Policy” (2020) 46:S3 Can Public Policy S272, online: <https://utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/cpp.2020-091> accessed 22 February 2021. 77 Canada, Employment and Social Development, EI Maternity and Parental Benefits: Eligibility, online: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-maternity-parental/eligibility.html accessed 3 September 2020. Canada, Parliament, Background Paper: Federal Employee Protections Surrounding the Birth or Adoption of a Child: An Overview by Mayra Perez-Leclerc, Research Publication No. 2019-25-E (2019) at 3 online https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/201925E? accessed 9 September 2020. 78  Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69. 79 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. 23. (1.1) (1.2) and (1.3). Canada, Employment and Social Development, Backgrounder: Information for EI Claimants, online https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-22  leave80 paid at 55% of their average insurable earnings to a prescribed maximum.81 In contrast, the extended parental leave program entitles qualifying parents with up to 61 weeks of leave82 paid at 33% of their average insurable weekly earnings. 83 Besides choosing between the standard and extended programs, the EI federal system allows eligible parents to share the leave period or allocate the whole period on one parent. To promote a more gender-egalitarian distribution of childcare and encourage fathers to take up parental leave,84 the EI Act was recently amended to introduce the Parental Sharing Benefit. This new use it or lose it right allows parents who have opted for sharing the leave to take 5 extra weeks of standard parental leave or 8 extra weeks of the extended benefit. 85 Thus, in case of sharing the leave and opting for this new benefit, the maximum duration of the parental leave benefit will be 40 and 69 weeks in the standard and extended program, respectively.86  Like maternity leave benefits, parental leave benefits are funded with premiums paid by employees and employers. As noted above, the benefits paid during maternity and parental leave result in a significant reduction of the claimants’ regular earnings. To mitigate the impact  development/news/2017/11/backgrounder_informationforeiclaimants.html accessed 9 September 2020. 80 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. 12 (3)(b)(i) and (4.01) (a). 81 Ibid at s.14(1). 82 Ibid at ss. 12 (3)(b)(ii) and (4.01) (b). 83 Ibid at s.14(1).  84 Canada, Department of Finance, Backgrounder: Canada’ s New Parental Sharing Benefit (2019) online: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/news/2018/04/backgrounder-canadas-new-parental-sharing-benefit.html accessed 8 September 2020. 85 Ibid. 86 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. (4.1) (a) and (b). 23  of such an income reduction, some employers provide a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit, also known as a top-up benefit, that partially or entirely makes up the difference between the EI income replacement and the claimant’s regular earnings.87 Moreover, recognizing that the income reduction may be a barrier in access to maternity and parental leave rights, the EI Act provides an economic supplement for low-income families. 88  1.3 Limitations and Future Research  This dissertation holds some limitations. To begin with, I compare the parental leave benefits granted by two countries and under two laws: The Labour Contract Law in Argentina and the Employment Insurance Act in Canada. Given the important contrasts between the two countries’ parental leave systems and the differences in the legal, economic, and social contexts in general, this comparison makes a valuable contribution to the literature. However, expanding the comparison to the parental leave systems of several other developing and developed countries may help to better understand whether and to what extent the nuclear family and standard worker models remain as the ideal legal model in parental leave laws. Comparing other countries may enable us to find common patterns and differences in the limitations that parents in different families and working arrangements encounter when seeking  87Katherine Marshall, “Employer Top-ups”, February 2010, Perspectives on Labour and Incomes, Catalogue no. 75-001-X (Statistics Canada, 2010) at 3 online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-001-x/2010102/pdf/11120-eng.pdf accessed 9 September 2020. 88 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. 16 (1) and (2). To date, to be eligible for this supplement, the annual net family income must not exceed $25,921. Also,  see Employment and Social Development Canada, EI Maternity and Parental Benefits: How Much you could Receive, online https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/ei-maternity-parental/benefit-amount.html accessed 3 September 2020. 24  access to parental leave benefits. Moreover, the scope of this dissertation is limited to the LCL in Argentina and the EI Act in Canada. Future research could assess the inclusiveness of the parental leave benefits granted under other laws. For instance, it could assess the benefits granted under different sector’s collective agreements or compare the benefits provided under provincial laws.  Secondly, this dissertation deconstructs the different barriers experienced by parents who seek access to parental leave benefits according to their family organization and position in the labour market, revealing the impact on gender and social inequalities. Future research could focus on one family model or one employment arrangement and study in further detail the barriers that these parents experience to access parental leave benefits. In addition, future studies could benefit from using empirical methodologies such as interviews. Extensive research on the impact of parental leave policies not only on gender but also on social inequalities is needed.  1.4 Thesis Outline This thesis provides a comprehensive comparative analysis of the inclusiveness/exclusiveness of the Argentine and Canadian parental leave provisions for parents in different family structures and employment relationships. The dissertation is organized into five chapters. In the present chapter, I have provided the introduction and the theoretical and legal frameworks.  Following this, in chapters two and three, I assess the inclusiveness of parental leave benefits according to the family model. Specifically, in chapter two, I discuss the legal 25  assumptions about the nuclear family model. The chapter begins with an overview of the ideal nuclear family model and its main features. Next, I identify and discuss the legal assumptions about the nuclear family that remain in the Argentine LCL and Canadian EI parental leave regulations. In chapter three, I assess the inclusiveness/exclusiveness of parental leave benefits for parents in different families. In this chapter, I identify the barriers and exclusions that parents who do not fit the ideal family model experience when seeking access to parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada. Through gender and intersectional lenses, I unveil the implications of these barriers for women and vulnerable groups. I conclude this third chapter by asserting that the Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws remain attached to the ideal nuclear family, imposing several barriers and often excluding parents in non-traditional family models. I show that, by neglecting the diversity of the familial institution, both countries' parental leave laws reinforce gender and social inequalities. The inclusiveness of parental leave benefits with regards to the position of the parents in the labour market is assessed in chapter four. I begin this last analytical chapter by depicting the ideal standard worker model. Over the chapter, I show that the Argentine and Canadian parental leave systems remain based on assumptions about an ideal standard worker. Following this, I examine the barriers and exclusion experienced by parents who are part-time, self-employed, temporary, and informal workers. I conclude the chapter showing that, in Argentina and Canada, the legal assumption about an ideal standard worker led to significant limitations to qualify for parental leave benefits for non-standard and informal workers. Also, I reveal the gender and class implications of these barriers.  26  Finally, in chapter five, I summarize the findings concerning the differential treatment that the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations offer to parents according to their family and employment statuses. Also, I provide some final thoughts on the gender and social inequality effects of the barriers imposed by the two countries’ parental leave laws. Following this, I propose some future directions for law and policy to grant a more egalitarian parental leave system.  27  Chapter 2: Preferred by the Law: Parental Leave and the Nuclear Family  In Argentina and Canada, the familial institution has experienced several changes over the last decades. The increasing participation of women in the workplace, the legal recognition of same-sex relationships, including marriage, the development of assisted reproductive technologies, among other factors, have transformed family structures. Nevertheless, the traditional nuclear family continues to be invoked as the ideal model in laws and policies.  Against this backdrop, in this chapter, I aim to unpack the main expectations regarding the nuclear family that continue to inform the Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws. The analysis will be limited to the parental leave provisions under the Argentine Labour Contracts Law (LCL)89 and the Canadian Employment Insurance Act (EI).90 This chapter considers the extent to which the nuclear family model influences the parental leave regulations in Argentina and Canada. It also discusses the assumptions regarding the nuclear family that remain in both countries’ laws. The chapter will be structured as follows. First, it will conceptualize the ideal nuclear family by discussing its main features and gender implications. Subsequently, it will briefly introduce some relevant cultural, social, and legal changes that have challenged the traditional family model. Lastly, it will unveil the main assumptions regarding the ideal family that remain in the parental leave regulations in Argentina and Canada.    89 LCL, supra note 14. 90 EI Act, supra note 13. 28  2.1 The Ideal Model: The Nuclear Family 2.1.1  Conceptualization Family is a complex and dynamic institution that is continuously changing and adopting new structures. The development of assisted reproductive technologies and the increasing visibility of lone-parent households, same-sex parents, and blended families are just a few examples of the diversity of Argentine91 and Canadian families.92 However, the traditional nuclear family, “composed of a heterosexual husband and wife and their biological children,”93 prevails in social and legal discourses.94 Laws and policies attempt to protect and reproduce this ideal family structure,95 which is assumed to be natural96 and normal.  91 Aida Kemelmajer de Carlucci “Las Nuevas Realidades Familiares en el Código Civil y Comercial Argentino de 2014” October 8th, 2014, Rev Juridica La Ley online http://www.pensamientocivil.com.ar/system/Files/2015/01/Doctrina403.pdf. accessed 23 November 2020.  92 See Nathan Battams, A Snapshot of Family Diversity in Canada, Statistical Snapshots, The Vanier Institute of the Family (Ottawa: 2018) online at https://vanierinstitute.ca/snapshot-family-diversity-canada-february-2018/ accessed 23 November 2020. 93 Catherine Krull, “Destabilizing the Nuclear Family Ideal: Thinking beyond Essentialisms, Universalism, and Binaries”, in Krull, Catherine & Justina Sempruch, eds, Reopening the Family-Work Debate, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011) at 11.  94 Alan Brown, “Conclusion” in Alan Brown, ed, What is Fam Law? Influence of the Nuclear Family (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019) 198. Martha Albertson Fineman, “The Sexual Family” in Martha Albertson Fineman, Jack E Jackson & Adam P. Romero, eds, Feminist and Queer Legal Theory: Intimate Encounters, Uncomfortable Conversations, first ed (London: Routledge, 2016) 45. Catherine Krull, supra note 93. Jennifer R Johnson, “Preferred by Law: The Disappearance of the Traditional Family and Law’s Refusal to Let It Go,” (2004) 25:1 & 3 Women’s Rts L Rep 125, online: <https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/worts25&i=133> accessed 20 February 2020. 95 Jennifer Johnson, supra note 94.  96 Martha Fineman, supra note 94. 29  Conversely, family models that do not conform to the ideal model are considered deviant97 and labeled as special or other.98  Three main assumptions define the ideal family model. The nuclear family must be heterosexual, made up of two adults, and founded on biological ties. According to the first assumption, the core of the nuclear family is a heterosexual union. In this regard, Fineman has introduced the concept of sexual family99 and explained that, in the social and legal imagination, the ideal family is expected to be “founded on the romantic sexual affiliation between one man and one woman.”100 The heteronormative presumption that informs the ideal family model is also manifested in the social expectation regarding parenting. As Butler explains, the social idealization of parenting demands the presence of a father and a mother, consequently, “those who enter kinship terms as non-heterosexual will only make sense if they assume the position of mother or father.”101 Another indicia of the heteronormativity of the nuclear family is the social value assigned to marriage. Accordingly, Fineman points out that “marriage is constructed as essential, not only to the foundational relationship of the nuclear family but to the very basis of society itself.”102 In Argentina, the strong influence of  97 Martha Fineman, Ibid. 98 Catherine Krull, supra note 93 at 11.  99 The concept sexual family was first introduced by Martha Fineman in 1995 in the book “The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies” (New York: Routledge, 1995) 100 Martha A Fineman, "The sexual family" in Fineman, Martha A, ed, The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies (New York: Routledge, 1995) at 145 https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.4324/9781315021744 accessed 5 April 2021.  101Judith Butler, “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?" in Butler, Judith, ed, Undoing Gender (New York: Routledge, 2004) at 124 https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.4324/9780203499627 accessed 5 April 2021. 102 Martha A Fineman, supra note 94 at 47.  30  the catholic church in law and society has reinforced the heteronormativity of the ideal family.103 The second assumption is the couple-based family unit. The family is expected to be a self-sufficient system that needs two adults to distribute productive and reproductive work.104 Thus, the ideal model relies on a gender division of labour in which one of the members, usually the woman, carries out domestic and care work; while the other adult, the man, is the provider of the family’s economy, the main breadwinner.105 In this context, the increased participation of women in the workplace and the rise of lone-mother families appear as perversions of the ideal family model.106 By allocating domestic and productive work in one person, these women threaten the gender division of roles presumed as the basis for the family’s self-sufficiency.  Finally, the ideal family is supposed to be founded on biological ties between parents and children. Appleton argues that there is an understanding of inferiority107 of adoptive families in the social imaginary, which is reflected in laws and judicial decisions. The preference for biological ties is also evident in the assumption of infertility as a tragedy. The  103 Nancy Calvo, “Cuidar la Familia, Forjar la Nación. La Institución Matrimonial y el Modelo de Familia Argentina, Siglos XIX- XX” (2017) 27 Prohistoria 37. 104 Martha A Fineman, “Masking Dependency: The Political Role of Family Rhetoric." (1995) 81:8 Va. L. Rev. 2181 at 2209 online DOI: 10.2307/1073577 https://www-jstor-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/stable/1073577 accessed 5 April 2021. 105 Martha Fineman, Ibid. 106 Martha Fineman, Ibid at 2206 - 2211. 107 “According to the conventional wisdom in family law, families formed through adoption are ‘second best’ to those based on biological ties.” Susan Frelich Appleton, “Planned Parenthood: Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, and the New Ideal Family’ (1999) 1 Wash UJL & Pol’y 85 at 85. 31  negative perception of infertility that prevails in society expresses the strong desire to “produce genetically related offspring.”108  2.1.2 Gender Inequality and the Nuclear Family The heterosexual nuclear family model is one of the most gendered institutions in current society.109 This family model produces and reproduces gender inequality by attributing different roles to men and women. According to Fenstermaker, West & Zimmerman, “the persistence of an unequal distribution of household labor and the belief that the distribution of these tasks is fair and equitable suggest that in doing housework, men and women also do gender.”110 To understand the unequal distribution of domestic and productive work within the family, it is important to first understand the allocation of productive and reproductive work in broader society. The family, as a social institution, performs an important function, it “is the natural repository for inevitable dependency.”111 In this context, reproductive work has been  108 Debra Satz, “Remaking Families: A Review Essay." (2007) 32:2, JSTOR 523 at 525 online www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/508232 accessed 13 February 2020. 109 Martha Fineman, supra note 94 at 49. 110 Sarah Fenstermaker, Candace West & Don H Zimmerman, “Gender inequality: New Conceptual Terrain" in Fenstermaker, Sara & Candance West, eds, Doing Gender, Doing Difference: Inequality, Power, and Institutional Change (New York: Routledge, 2002) at 38 https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.4324/9780203615683  accessed 13 February 2020.   111 Martha Fineman, supra note 104 at 2205. 32  privatized, transferred from the public sphere of the state to the family.112 Consequently, the nuclear family model is assumed as a self-sufficient and independent system that will perform social reproductive functions without requiring state funding.113  To fulfill its social function, the self-sufficient family must distribute productive and reproductive work between its members, and this allocation of labour is gendered.114 Under the separate spheres and family-wage models,115 men and women's productive and reproductive roles were delineated. On the one hand, men were assumed as breadwinners and expected to provide economic support to their wives and children by participating in the labour market. On the other hand, women, primarily understood as caregivers, were supposed to stay at home performing domestic and care work.116 By the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries, economic and political transformations resulted in the emergence of a new paradigm, the dual-earner family.117 In this new model, women and men are expected to equally participate in the labour force.118 However, reproductive work is not evenly distributed and  112 Susan B. Boyd "Legal Regulation of Families in Changing Societies" in Sarat, Austin, ed, The Blackwell Companion to Law and Society (Blackwell,2004) at 263 -264 DOI 10.1002/9780470693650.ch14 accessed 13 February 2020. 113 Martha Fineman, supra note 104. 114 Ibid at 2206. 115According to Nancy Fraser, the separate spheres was the ideal model during the liberal competitive capitalism in the XIX Century. In the XX Century, whit the emergence of the welfare states, the separate spheres model shifted to a family wage model. Nancy Fraser, “Contradictions of Capital and Care” (2016) 100 New left Rev 99.  116 Martha Fineman, supra note 104. 117 Nancy Fraser, supra note 115. 118 Ibid at 114. 33  continues to be mainly performed by women.119 Consequently, this double burden imposed on women reinforces gender inequality.120 The gender division of labour within the nuclear family is informed by patriarchal ideology. From this perspective, male members are the head of the family,121 while female members are dependents.122 According to Fineman, “the patriarchal family is an ‘assumed institution’ with a well-defined, socially constructed form complete with complementary roles—husband/head of household, wife/helpmate, child.”123 In this context, the female/caregiver and the male/breadwinner roles are assumed as natural124 and necessary125.   119 Judy Fudge and Brenda Cossman, “Introduction: Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism” in Judy Fudge and Brenda Cossman, ed, Privatization, Law, and the Challenge to Feminism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002) 3 at 27. 120 Gillian Calder, “Recent Changes to the Maternity and Parental Leave Benefits Regime as a Case Study: The Impact of Globalization on the Delivery of Social Programs in Canada” (2003) 15:2 Can J Women Law 342, online: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2485462 accessed 25 February 2021. Judy Fudge and Brenda Cossman, supra note 119. 121 Martha Fineman, supra note 94 at 47. 122 Fineman has distinguished between inevitable and derived dependency. “Dependency is“inevitable” in that it flows from the status and situation of being a child and often accompanies aging, illness,or disability.” Derived dependents are the caretakers which dependency flows “from their roles and the need for resources their caretaking generates.” Taking care of inevitable dependents is one of the functions of the family that is generally assumed by women, who therefore are derived dependents. Martha Fineman, supra note 94 at 60. 123 Martha A. Fineman, “Law, Ideology, and the Perspective of Feminist Legal Theory—Limitations on Imaginations." in Fineman, Martha A, ed, The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies (New York: Routledge, 1995) at 23. 124 Martha A. Fineman, supra note 104 at 2188. 125 Catherine Krull, supra note 93 at 12. 34  2.1.3 Alternative Family Models. Looking Beyond the Nuclear Family Families are complex and diverse. Among different ethnicities, cultures, times, and countries the organization of the familial institution and how care work is performed vary considerably. Even within the same culture, social, economic, and legal changes may reshape family structures126 Hence, the traditional nuclear family only subsists as an idealization.127 The next paragraphs will examine three factors that challenge the traditional family model and contribute to family diversity. These factors are socio-cultural variations, legal changes, and the development of assisted reproductive technologies. The traditional nuclear family is a Western idea that obscures the organization of non-western families. Regarding the essentialist character of the ideal family, Hill Collins has stated that “the sexual family has arguably never been reflective of families because it reflects a white, middle-class ideology, which has not accounted for dominant practices of childcare across different ethnic and social backgrounds.”128 Accordingly, Baines and Freeman explain that the gender division of roles, the devaluation of care work, and the structure of the  126 Debra Satz, supra note 108. Also, Jelin points out the different socio-cultural, legal, political and economic factors, that have transformed Argentine families. Elizabeth Jelin, “La Familia en Argentina: Trayectorias Históricas y Realidades Contemporáneas” in Eleonor Faur et al. eds Las Lógicas del Cuidado Infantil. Entre las Familias, el Estado y el Mercado, 1 ed. ed (Buenos Aires : IDES, 2012) 45 online https://argentina.unfpa.org/es/publicaciones/las-l%C3%B3gicas-del-cuidado-infantil-entre-las-familias-el-estado-y-el-mercado accessed 25 February 2021. 127 See Catherine Krull supra note 93, and Michele Adams, “Gender Inequality in Families” in Risman, Barbara J., Carissa M. Froyum & William J. Scarborough, eds, Handbook of the Sociology of Gender (Basel, Switzerland: Springer, 2018) 351. 128 Gemma Mitchell, “Shared Parental Leave and the Sexual Family: the Importance of Encouraging Men to Care.” (2019) 41:4 J Soc Welf Fam Law 406 at 407 online: <https://doi.org/10.1080/09649069.2019.1663005> accessed 25 February 2021.  35  traditional nuclear family are aliens to Indigenous cultures.129 In most Indigenous communities, the traditional family model is the extended family and care work is considered as a communitarian rather than individual responsibility. Thus, the imposition of the nuclear family model appears as an expression of colonialism that has produced devastating effects on Indigenous peoples130 in Canada.131 In Argentina, Indigenous communities were decimated, and the few survivors have mostly adopted the Western family model.132 Besides Indigenous communities, the ideal nuclear family excludes the experiences of many women and families within and beyond Western societies. For instance, the female/caregiver and male/breadwinner roles do not reflect the real experiences of Black women. Historically, these women have combined work and caring responsibilities and have relied on women-centered and communal groups to raise their children.133 Moreover, lone  129 Donna Baines & Bonnie Freeman, “Work, Care, Resistance, and Mothering: An Indigenous Perspective" in Krull, Catherine & Justina Sempruch, eds, Reopening the Family-Work Debate (UBC Press, 2011) 67. 130 Throughout this dissertation, I will use the term Indigenous peoples because it seems to be the most adequate for a comparative study. As Chelsea Vowel has pointed out, the term Indigenous has an international connotation, making it applicable to communities in Canada as well as in Argentina. Also, the use of the plural peoples seems more fitted than the singular people since “[i]t speaks to the incredible diversity of Indigenous peoples as hundreds of culturally and linguistically distinct groups, rather than one homogenous whole.” Chelsea Vowel, “Just Don’t Call us Late for Supper. Names for Indigenous Peolples” in Chelsea Vowel, ed, Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Issues in Canada (Portage & Main Press, 2017) 7 at 10. 131 “Residential schools for Aboriginal children, the Sixties Scoop, and foster care are cases in point. The primary objective of earlier government policies was to The Canadian government implemented programs, such as Residential Schools for Aboriginal children, directed to ‘purge Aboriginal children of all traditional cultural identifiers.” As a result, “many Aboriginal communities suffer the lowest living standard of any other family group in the country and have suicide rates two to seven times that of the national population.” Ibid at 18. 132 Elizabeth Jelin, supra note 126 at 54.  133 Jennifer Johnson, supra note 94 at 129.  36  motherhood, adoptive, same-sex, and ensembled families challenge the expectations of the ideal nuclear family structure, demonstrating that the traditional nuclear family is certainly far from reality.134  Apart from cultural variations and social changes, legal reforms may reshape family structures, challenging the expectations regarding the nuclear family. Some of these legal changes are adoption laws, same-sex marriage rights, and no-fault divorce. Firstly, the legal regulation of adoption defies the assumption of and preference for biological parenting. As Satz has pointed out, “while traditionalists base family ties on biological relatedness, adoption shows the multiple ways in which such ties can be secured.”135 Also, the regulation of open adoptions may confront the assumption of a two-parents unit. Open adoptions make possible an extended family structure in which children build connections with adoptive as well as with biological parents.136  Furthermore, the legalization of same-sex marriage confronts the heteronormativity of the traditional nuclear family. The recognition of the rights of LGBTQ+ persons to get married and to become parents challenges the ideal of a family composed of one man and one woman. In 2005, the Bill C-38137 legalized same-sex marriage in Canada. Since then, the number of  134 The census carried out in 2016 has demonstrated that, in Canada, “proportionally fewer households are composed of a 'mom, dad and kids.” Statistics Canada, Families, Households and Marital Status: Key Results from the 2016 Census, The Daily, Catalogue no. 11-001-X (Statistics Canada, August 2, 2017) Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/170802/dq170802a-eng.htm?indid=14425-1&indgeo=0 accessed 25 February 2021. 135 Debra Satz, supra note 108. 136 Ibid at 534.  137 Bill C. 38, An Act Respecting Certain Aspects of Legal Capacity for Marriage for Civil Purposes, 1st Sess., 38th Parl., 2005. 37  same-sex couples, married and in common-law unions, as well as the number of same-sex couples who had children living with them has increased considerably.138 Likewise, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legislate equal rights for same-sex couples by enacting the Egalitarian Marriage Law139 in 2010. Consequently, the proportion of same-sex families in this country has risen, however, it remains low compared to other family models.140 The legalization of no-fault divorce is another significant legal change that has reshaped family structures. Concretely, lone-parent families and blended families are non-traditional models that may result from divorce. Regarding the former, divorce has been pointed out as one of the causes of lone parent-families.141 After divorce, children's custody is  138 The number of same-sex couples grew from 45,350 in 2006 to 72,880 in 2016. Similarly, the percentage of same-sex couples who had children living with them rose from 8.6% to 12.0% over the same period. Statistics Canada, Same-sex Couples in Canada in 2016, Census in Brief, Catalogue no. 98-200-X2016007  (Statistics Canada, August 2, 2017) online: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016007/98-200-x2016007-eng.cfm accessed 25 February 2021. 139Ley 26.618 Matrimonio Civil [Civil Marriage Law] B.O. 22/7/2010, online at http://www.jus.gob.ar/media/3109833/ley_26618_matrimonio_igualitario.pdf accessed 20 November 2020. 140 Juan Ignacio Piovani & Agustín Salvia, La Argentina en el siglo XXI: Cómo somos, vivimos y convivimos en una sociedad desigual: Encuesta Nacional sobre la Estructura Social, (Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, 2018) at 433. 141 In Argentina, the major cause of higher-income lone mothers is the growing trend in the divorce rate. Elizabeth Jelin, supra note 126 at 65.  In Canada, statistical data reveals that since 1971, most lone-parent families were comprised of divorced or separated parents and their children. Nevertheless, over the last decades, the number of lone parents by choice has rapidly increased.  For instance, the percentage of Canadian lone parents who never married in 2011 almost doubled the percentage of 1991. Statistics Canada, Lone-parent families: The New Face of an Old Phenomenon, Canadian Megatrends, Catalogue no. 11-630-X (Statistics Canada: 2015), online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015002-eng.htm accessed 3 December 2020. The rapid rise in lone mothers by choice in Canada has been also pointed out by Fiona Kelly. Fiona Kelly, “Autonomous Motherhood and the Law: Exploring the Narratives of Canada’s Single Mothers by Choice” (2012) 28:1 Can J Fam Law 63.   38  generally allocated to one of the parents, usually to the mother.142 Consequently, the two parents unit is dismantled and replaced by a lone parent unit in which the same person performs reproductive and productive work.143 Regarding the latter, blended families are a new family structure that has appeared as a side effect of divorce. These ensembled families, composed of stepparents and stepchildren with half-siblings and stepsiblings, defy the ideal family unit.144 In Canada, over the last decades, the number of simple stepfamilies145 has remained steady, whereas the number of complex stepfamilies146 has shown an upward trend.147 In Argentina, the proportion of ensembled families is difficult to estimate because the national census has  142 A resent research study has analyzed “the role of gender stereotypes in decisions about child custody” in three Argentina, Brazil, and in the United States of America. The results have shown that judges tend to allocate children’s custody primarily on mothers and that gender stereotypes influence their decisions. Luiza Lopes Franco Costa et al. "Gender stereotypes underlie child custody decisions." (2018) 49:3, Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 548 https://doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2523 accessed 26 February 2021. 143 Fineman refers to the dilemma produced by lone motherhood.  “If she [lone mother] devotes her time to market work to support her child, then she will not be available as a caretaker. However, since she is single, if she fulfills her assigned obligations for the burdens of dependency, then with no wage earner to support her she will starve or ‘go begging to the state.’ In either case, her family has not privately dealt with its dependencies.”  In Martha Fineman, supra note 94 at 62. 144 Jennifer Johnson, supra note 94 at 128.  145 A Simple stepfamily is “a couple with: Children of the father only or the mother only born or adopted in a previous union. No children born or adopted in the current union.” Statistics Canada, Being a Parent in a Stepfamily: A Profile. 2011 General Social Survey: Overview of Families in Canada, by Mireille Vézina, Catalogue no. 89-650-X — No. 00  (Statistics Canada, 2012) online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-650-x/89-650-x2012002-eng.htm accessed 26 February 2021 146 A complex stepfamily is  “a couple with: Children of the father only or the mother only born or adopted in a previous union. Child(ren) born or adopted in the current union. Or a couple with: Children of the father and of the mother born or adopted in a previous union. Child(ren) born or adopted in the current union. Or a couple with:Children of the father and of the mother born or adopted in a previous union. No children born or adopted in the current union.”  Ibid.  147 Ibid.  39  not distinguished this category. However, using available statistical data, a study has estimated that this kind of family makes up about 4% of Argentine families. 148 Lastly, the development of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) confronts the traditional family model by providing new methods to become a parent.149 Surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, donor insemination, and implantation of frozen eggs, to mention a few, have expanded the possibilities to form a family.150 Infertile couples, single people, and same-sex couples now have a variety of options to become parents.151 Also, assisted reproductive technologies “have expanded the possibility that children will have multiple parents.”152 The use of ART is significant among Canadian couples153 and single people,154 and is expected to continue escalating.155 In Argentina, the number of families who use ART is rising, yet, at a  148 Georgina Binstock, “Hogares y organización familiar” in Juan Ignacio Piovani & Agustín Salvia, eds. La Argentina en el siglo XXI: Cómo somos, vivimos y convivimos en una sociedad desigual: Encuesta Nacional sobre la Estructura Social (Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, 2018) 421. 149 Debra Satz, supra note 108. The ideal family unit is “composed of a heterosexual husband and wife and their biological children.” Catherine Krull & Justyna Sempruch, supra note 93 at 11.   150 Marika Morris, “A Life in Balance? Reopening the Family-Work Debate” (2013) 71 Labour 310, at 14. Online https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265830145_A_Life_in_Balance_Reopening_the_Family-Work_Debate_ed_by_Catherine_Krull_and_Justyna_Sempruch_review  accessed 26 February 2021 151 Debra Satz, supra note 108. 152Jennifer Johnson, supra note 94 at 128. 153 By interpreting the data collected through the Infertility Component of the 2009/2010 Canadian Community Health Survey, a research study has shown that “about one in seven couples who attempted pregnancy sought medical help for conception.” Tracey Bushnik et al. “Seeking Medical Help to Conceive” (2012) 23:4 Health Reports, Catalogue No 82-003-X online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2012004/article/11719-eng.htm accessed 1 March 2021. 154 Fiona Kelly, supra note 141. 155 Ibid. 40  slower pace than in North America. 156 These transformations of the familial institution call into question the main assumptions regarding the nuclear family and lead one to conclude, as Krull did, that “the traditional nuclear family is certainly not as prevalent as it once was.”157  2.2 Parental Leave and the Nuclear Family  Family is and has always been a complex institution. Socio-cultural factors, legal changes, and the development of assisted reproductive technologies have accelerated the transformation of the family, leading to the emergence of multiple and diverse family models. Lone-parent families, same-sex families, stepfamilies, among others, coexist today with the traditional nuclear family.  However, the nuclear family, comprised of two heterosexual adults and their biological children, endures as the ideal legal model. Laws and policies continue attached to assumptions about the ideal nuclear family, reinforcing the gender division of labour and the stereotypes of male/breadwinner and female/caregiver. Against this background, I ask whether and to what extent the Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws rest on the assumption of an ideal nuclear family. To answer these questions, in the next section, I identify and discuss some of the main assumptions about the nuclear family that remain in both countries' parental leave regulations.    156 Marisa Herrera, “Conflictos Contemporáneos en Técnicas de Reproducción Asistida: la Experiencia en el Derecho Argentino” (2018) 27:2 Rev Antropol Soc 353. 157 Catherine Krull, supra note 93 at 12. 41  2.2.1 The Remains of the Nuclear Family Model in the Argentine Parental Leave Law In Argentina, there is a legal inconsistency regarding families’ equality.158 On the one hand, the National Constitution159 and the Civil and Commercial Code160 recognize the heterogeneity of families. The National Constitution, article 14 bis, compels the state to provide social welfare to the country inhabitants, including the obligation to grant comprehensive social protection for families,161 protection that is not limited to the traditional nuclear family.162 Since 1994, the recognition of family diversity has been expanded with the introduction into the constitutional text of several Human Rights Treaties that promote equal treatment and protection for families.163 An example of these international treaties is the American Convention on Human Rights, which recognizes the rights of the family in article 17.164 According to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights' interpretation, the protection granted by article 17 is not limited to a traditional family model, but rather, to the family in  158 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16. Romina Cutuli & Eliana Aspiazu, Conciliación entre Trabajo y Cuidado Infantil. Discriminaciones y Exclusiones en el Caso Argentino. (Copenhagen: Addressing Inequalities Networked Alliance (AINA), 2012) online http://nulan.mdp.edu.ar/id/eprint/1981 accessed 2 March 2020. Romina Cutuli & Eliana Aspiazu, supra note 63. 159 Constitucion Nacional de la Republica Argentina, supra note 41. 160 Código Civil y Comercial de la Nación [Civil and Comercial Code], Ley 26.994 [Law No 26.994], online at http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/235000-239999/235975/texact.htm#2 accessed 20 November 2020. 161 Constitución de la Nación de la Republica Argentina, supra note 41 at art. 14 bis [article 14 bis].  162 Aida Kemelmajer de Carlucci, supra note 91. 163 Constitución de la Nación de la Republica Argentina, supra note 41 at article 75.22.  164 American Convention on Human Rights: "Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica”, OAS 22 November 1969, 144 UNTS 123 (entered into force 27 August 1979) [American Convention] article 17 online https://www.oas.org/dil/treaties_B-32_American_Convention_on_Human_Rights.htm accessed 23 November 2020 42  any of its forms and models.165 Moreover, to align the private law with the constitutional and human rights framework, a new Civil and Commercial Code166 was enacted in 2014. Since then, civil legislation recognizes the variety and complexity of Argentine families.167 Detached from the nuclear family expectation, the Civil and Commercial Code regards the family as a social construction and grants equal rights to diverse family models.168  On the other hand, the Labour Contracts Law (LCL)169, that rules maternity and paternity leave benefits, is still fixed to the traditional nuclear family model.170 Thus, several expectations regarding the nuclear family can be identified in the current maternity and paternity leave provisions in Argentina. A first hint of the nuclear family's domain is the assumption of a two-parent family, comprised of a mother, a father, and their children. Some examples of this expectation are found in the provisions governing maternity and paternity leave, which are restricted to mothers and fathers respectively, and in the lack of regulation of  165 “The Court confirms that the American Convention does not define a limited concept of family, nor does it only protect a “traditional” model of the family. In this regard, the Court reiterates that the concept of family life is not limited only to marriage and must encompass other de facto family ties in which the parties live together outside of marriage.”  Atala-Riffo and Daughters v Chile (2012b) Merits, Reparations and Costs, Judgment, Inter- Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. C) No. 239 (Feb. 24, 2012) para 142 online https://corteidh.or.cr/docs/casos/articulos/seriec_239_ing.pdf accessed 23 November 2020. Also, see paras 145 and 177.  166 Código Civil y Comercial de la Nación, supra note 160. 167 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16. 168 Aida Kemelmajer de Carlucci, supra note 91.  169 LCL, supra note 14. 170 Elizabeth Jelin, “Gender and the Family in Public Policy: A Comparative View of Argentina and Sweden” (2007) Glob Perspect Gend Equal Reversing Gaze 40. Eleonor Faur, Gender and Family-Work Reconciliation: Labor Legislation and Male Subjectivities in Latin America (Mexico City: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) & German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), 2005).  43  parental leave in its specific sense, it is as a family entitlement available for either or both parents. A second hint is the use of gendered vocabulary in the legal text, which reveals a preference for the heterosexual family.171 The LCL refers to the mother and the father as the recipients of the benefits. This use of gendered vocabulary results in the exclusion of same-sex parents.172 Another trace of the traditional family model in the Argentine labour law is the preference for biological ties. The current legislation relies on pregnancy and childbirth as conditions for qualifying to maternity and paternity leave benefits.173 This assumption neglects adoptive parents' needs, excluding them from parental leave benefits.174 The gender implications of the Argentine parental leave system deserve special consideration. Informed by the nuclear family and patriarchal expectations, the current system reinforces the gender division of roles within the household. The labour law assumes that women are the exclusive caregivers.175 Thus, it grants a 90-day maternity leave to female employees,176 whereas males can take a maximum of 2 days of paternity leave.177 The  171 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16. 172 Ibid. 173 Referring to the Argentine parental leave legislation, among others in Latin America, Faur has stated that the “current perspective is linked to the protection of ‘biological motherhood’, that is, protection during the gestation period, delivery and lactation, and clearly for women/mothers.” Ibid at 133. 174 Corina Rodríguez Enriquez & Gabriela Marzonetto, “Organización Social del Cuidado y Desigualdad: el Déficit de Políticas Públicas de Cuidado en Argentina (Social Organization of Care and Inequality: the Public Policies of Care Deficit in Argentina” (2015) 8:4 Rev Perspect Políticas Públicas 103, online: <http://revistas.unla.edu.ar/perspectivas/article/view/949/946> accessed 23 November 2020. 175 Eliana Cutuli & Romina Aspiazu, supra note 158.  176 LCL, supra note 14 at art. 178.  177 LCL, supra note 14 at Titulo V: De las Vacaciones y otras Licencias, Capitulo II: De las Licencias Especiales, Art. 158.a. 44  maternity leave benefit, whose length remains below international standards,178 is only available for biological mothers. Therefore, adoptive mothers and non-female parents are not eligible. Also, the maternalistic179 perspective in the labour law has a negative impact on women’s opportunities in the workplace, widening the gender labour gap.180  Considering the negative impact on female employment, Aspiazu & Cutuli have classified the Argentine parental leave legislation as a passive policy.181 Passive policies encourage mothers to stay at home, whereas active policies promote women's participation in the paid labour force.182 Although the Argentine maternity leave system recognizes female employment and intends to protect pregnancy and maternity in a workplace context, it encourages women to stop working. Once the maternity leave period concludes, apart from returning to the former position,183 the law gives mothers two more options. According to the LCL article 183, mothers can take an extra 3 to 6 months of unpaid leave, called estado de excedencia. Also, if they choose to resign, the law grants to female workers a compensation  178 According to ILO, the length of maternity leave should be at least 18 months. R191 - Maternity Protection Recommendation, 2000 (No. 191) ILO, 88th ILC Sess. (2000) online: https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:::NO:12100:P12100_ILO_CODE:R191:NO accessed 3 March 2021. Even though it has not been ratified by Argentina, this international recommendation is a useful and objective standard to assess maternity leave provisions. Carolina Aulicino et al, Documento de Trabajo No 106. Licencias: Protección Social y Mercado Laboral. Equidad en el Cuidado (Buenos Aires, 2013) at 15.  179 From a maternalistic perspective, women are assumed “as mothers, and mothers as the main caregivers to children”. Valeria Esquivel & Eleonor Faur, supra note 15 at 104.  180 Employers may perceive that the provision of maternity benefits makes female employment more costly, which reinforces gender stereotypes and hinders women’s opportunities in the workplace. 181 Romina Cutuli & Eliana Aspiazu, supra note 63.  182 Ibid. 183 LCL, supra note 14 at art. 183 a). 45  equivalent to 25% of the amount of the compensation resulting from the length of service in case of unjust termination.184 In addition to maternity leave, the current paternity leave regulation reinforces gender stereotypes by assuming that fathers are breadwinners and excepted from care responsibilities. Instead of promoting a gendered egalitarian distribution of childcare, the LCL grants fathers an insignificant leave. In Argentina, male parents can take only two days of paid leave right after the child was born.185 These provisions of labour legislation reinforce gender biases that remain in Argentine culture.186  These gender stereotypes are reproduced in several bills of reform187 introduced between March 2019 and April 2020. Half of the surveyed bills propose extending paternity  184 LCL, supra note 14 at art 183 b).  For a greater understanding of how to calculate the compensation resulting from the length of service, see LCL, supra note 14 at art. 245. According to LCL art. 245 first paragraph, in cases of unjust termination, employers become liable to pay the dismissed employee an amount resulting from the length of service, among other compensations. The amount of this payment equals one month of salary for each year worked or period over 3 months. To calculate the compensation, it will be considered the best regular salary earned over the last working year. Take as an example the hypothetical case of employee "A". Employee A, who worked in the same company for 5 years and 6 months, was terminated without cause. Considering that her best regular salary during the last working year was $2000, the employer is liable to pay employee A $12,000 in compensation for the length of service ($2000*6 = $12,000).  If instead of being terminated, employee A resigned from her job upon finishing maternity leave benefit, she will be entitled to a payment which amount equals 25 percent of the payment granted under LCL art. 245. Continuing with the same example, in this last case, the employer will owe $3000 to employee A (25 percent of $12,000). 185 LCL, supra note 14 at art. 158.a. 186 Faur has pointed out that labour laws in Latin America “rely on notions of masculinity virtually unrelated to care for family members.” Eleonor Faur, “Gender and Family-Work Reconciliation: Labor Legislation and Male Subjectivities in Latin America” in Social Cohesion, Reconciliation Policies, and Public Budgeting. A Gender Approach (Mexico City: United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) & German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), 2005) 127 at 135. 187 The analysis has been limited to bills that propose reforming the parental leave legislation introduced to the Argentine Parliament from March 2019 to April 2020. The source of the data was the official 46  leave benefits to promote gender equality; however, most of them still rely on women as main caregivers and provide longer maternity than paternity leaves. To illustrate, 6 out of 9 bills propose extending the paternity leave duration up to 15 days, but only one suggests granting the same length as maternity leave, at 90 days. Hence, it is possible to assert that the biases regarding gender roles still govern legal discourses.   Among the bills introduced in the period March 2019 - April 2020 that proposed amendments to parental leave regulations, an important share, 44.44%, expressed the intention to promote gender equality.188 However, the idealization of a nuclear family and the  webpage of the Argentine National Congress and Senate. The keyword was “licencia” (leave). It is important to note that the bills that propose parental leave benefits for employees of the public sector were excluded. 188 Reform Bills introduced by the Senate, Senado de la Nacion Argentina: Expediente No. S-0020/2020, Proyecto de Ley, Blas:  Reproduce el Proyecto de Ley que Modifica la Ley 20.744 - Contrato de Trabajo -, Estableciendo un Regimen Integral de "Proteccion de la Familia Trabajadora" Respecto de las Licencias. (Ref. S. 339/18), (2020), online https://www.senado.gob.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/20.20/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020.  Expediente No 2893/19, Proyecto De Ley, Fernandez Sagasti y Fuentes: Proyecto de Ley de Regimen de Licencias Especiales, (2019), online https://www.senado.gov.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/2893.19/S/PL  accessed 4 April 2020.  Reform Bills introduced before the National Chamber of Deputies: 0120-D-2020, Regimen de Licencias Especiales – Ley 20.744, (2020), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0120-D-2020&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 4647-D-2019, Proyecto de Ley de Reforma Ley 20744, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4647-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3121-D-2019, Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo N° 20.744: Modificación de los Artículos N° 158 Y 177, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3121-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3614-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3614-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 47  maternalistic perspective of women as caregivers still prevail in these proposed reforms. Consequently, only a few propose the introduction of shared parental leave benefits. These shared benefits consist of enabling the gestating parent to transfer to or to share with the other parent part of the maternity leave period.189 Several bills propose longer maternity190 and/or  4398-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4398-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020.  1269-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=1269-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 189  3 out of 18 reform bills contain this sharing option. See:  3121-D-2019, Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo N° 20.744: Modificación de los Artículos N° 158 Y 177, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3121-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020.  4398-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4398-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 1390-D-2019 El Senado y Cámara de Diputados... Artículo 1°. Sustitúyase el artículo 177° de la ley 20.744. https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=1390-D-2019&tipo=LEY 190 Among the bills that propose longer maternity leaves, the suggested duration range from 100 to 180 days. Expediente No. S-0020/2020, Blas:  Reproduce el Proyecto de Ley que Modifica la Ley 20.744 - Contrato de Trabajo -, Estableciendo un Regimen Integral de "Proteccion de la Familia Trabajadora" Respecto de las Licencias (Ref. S. 339/18), online (2020), online https://www.senado.gob.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/20.20/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020. Expediente No 2893/19, Proyecto De Ley, Fernandez Sagasti y Fuentes: Proyecto de Ley de Regimen de Licencias Especiales, (2019), online https://www.senado.gov.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/2893.19/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020. 4647-D-2019, Proyecto de Ley de Reforma Ley 20744, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4647-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3121-D-2019, Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo N° 20.744: Modificación de los Artículos N° 158 Y 177, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3121-D-2019&tipo=LE  accessed 4 April 2020.  1390-D-2019, Artículo 1°. Sustitúyase el artículo 177° de la Ley 20.744, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=1390-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 48  paternity leaves.191 However, most of them still rely on women as main caregivers and provide a significantly longer length of maternity than paternity leave.192  Regarding family models, more than half of the bills grant benefits for adoptive parents,193 a few introduce protections for employees who are undergoing assisted reproduction treatments,194 and a smaller number includes provisions regarding same-sex families.195 Despite these recognitions of family diversity, the bills do not offer considerable advances in terms of gender and family equality.   0647-D-2019, Modificar la Ley de Contrato de Trabajo en su Artículo 177 - Licencia por Embarazo (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0647-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 191 The next reform bills propose longer paternity leave benefits: Expediente No 2893/19, Proyecto De Ley, Fernandez Sagasti y Fuentes: Proyecto de Ley de Regimen de Licencias Especiales, (2019), online https://www.senado.gov.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/2893.19/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020. 0120-D-2020, Regimen de Licencias Especiales – Ley 20.744 (2020), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0120-D-2020&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 5400-D-2019,  Modificaciones a la Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=5400-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 5309-D-2019, Licencia por Adopcion, (2019) online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=5309-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 192 As pointed out above, the bills that propose longer paternity leaves suggest a length from 10 to 90 days. 193 More than half of the bills propose pre-placement and/or adoption leaves.  194 3 out of 18 bills introduce protection for workers who are receiving assisted reproduction treatments. 195 One bill proposes extending maternity leave benefits to non-gestational mothers in co-maternity families.   49  2.2.2 The Remains of the Nuclear Family Model in the Canadian Parental Leave Law In Canadian society, the nuclear family model is no longer as predominant as it once was.196 However, it is resistant to abandoning its dominant position in legal discourses,197 and the Canadian parental leave legislation is not the exception. One hint of this legal preference is the assumption of a two-parent family. Even though, in 2016, 69.7% of the families in Canada were composed of two parents and their children,198 this family model coexists with other diverse structures. Nevertheless, the Canadian parental leave law still assumes this model as dominant. The federal parental leave provisions intend to promote the distribution of caring work between two eligible parents, which is demonstrated by the possibility to split the leave benefits. In the current legal system, the benefits can be taken entirely by one parent or divided between two eligible parents.199 In this last scenario, the law provides greater flexibility to decide how to distribute the benefit. Thus, the claimants can take parental leave simultaneously  196 Catherine Krull, supra note 93 at 12. 197 Brown concludes that “the understanding of ‘the family’ within the law remains premised upon the traditional, nuclear family, comprised of the nexus of the conjugal relationship and the ‘parent/child’ relationship, and that the continuing centrality of the nuclear model sits uneasily against the complex and diverse family forms, practices and structures within twenty-first century UK society.” Alan Brown, “Conclusion" in Alan Brown, ed,  What is the Family of Law?: The Influence of the Nuclear Family, (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2019) 198 at 200 doi  http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.5040/9781509919611.0007 accessed 20 February 2020. 198Statistics Canada, Portrait of Children’s Family Life in Canada in 2016, Census of Population, 2016, Census in Brief, Catalogue no. 98-200-X2016006 (Statistics Canada, August 2, 2017) online: https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016006/98-200-x2016006-eng.cfm accessed 3 April 2021 199 Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada,  Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 13 - Section 1, online: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/digest/chapter-13/parental-benefits-payments.html#a13_1_0 accessed 3 April 2021. 50  or separately and can choose how many weeks each parent will take.200 Although lone parents can take the entire leave benefit, long periods of leave involve important income reductions which may discourage lone parents to take long benefits. The high cost of taking parental leave results especially detrimental for lone parents in non-standard jobs who will unlikely receive top-up benefits from their employers. This legal assumption of a two-parent unit has been strengthened by recent amendments introduced to the Employment Insurance (EI) Act. First, the Budget Implementation Act. 2017 No.1201 has increased the system’s flexibility by providing two types of parental leave benefits, standard and extended.  Both options enable parents to take longer leaves but at a reduced income replacement, which equals 55% and 33% of the average weekly income in standard and extended programs, respectively.202 Subsequently, starting in March 2019203, a new use it or lose it benefit called Parental Sharing Benefit is available.204  200 The only limitation is that “once parents start receiving the benefits, the options cannot be changed.” Canada, Parliament, supra note 77 at 6.  201 Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 (S.C. 2017, c. 20), Division 11: Support for families: Benefits and Leaves, online https://laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/AnnualStatutes/2017_20/page-23.html#h-65 accessed 7 December 2020.  202 EI Act, supra note 13 at s. 14 (1). 203 The new Parental Sharing Benefit was introduced by the Budget Implementation Act 2018 No 2, which amended the EI Act. Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 (S.C. 2018, c. 27) Division 8: Parental Benefits and Related Leave, online https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/annualstatutes/2018_27/page-38.html#h-102 7 December 2020.  204 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. 23 (4) and 23 (4.1). For further detail see the Government of Canada’s backgrounder documents.  Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Backgrounder: Parental Sharing Benefit, online https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/news/2019/02/backgrounder-parental-sharing-benefit.html 7 December 2020. Canada,                                                                                                     Department of Finance, supra note 84. 51  Aiming to challenge gender inequality in the workplace and at home,205 the new benefit grants to two-parent families, whenever they have shared the parental leave benefit, with 5 and 8 extra weeks in standard and extended programs, respectively. 206 However, since lone parents are unable to split the parental leave benefit with a second parent and eligibility has not been expressly extended to them, lone parents result indeed excluded from access to the Parental Sharing Benefit.207  Another trace of the influence of the nuclear family in Canadian parental leave regulations is the distinction between biological and adoptive parents in the eligibility criteria for maternity leave benefits. In the current legislation, only pregnant and biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, are eligible to take up to 15 weeks of maternity leave.208 To  205 Regarding this new benefit, The Department of Finance Canada has expressed that “the Government of Canada is committed to breaking down barriers to gender equality so that women and girls can participate in, and contribute to, Canada's growing economy.” Also, it has stated that “this type of benefit has been proven to encourage a more balanced sharing of child-care responsibilities that goes well beyond the five-week period.” Canada, Departament of Finance, supra note 84.  206 Regarding the inclusiveness of different family models, the Department of Finance’s backgrounder document expresses that “[t]he new benefit will be available to eligible two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex couples. Ibid.  207 A recent comparative study found out that, in most OECD countries, including Canada, the parental leave benefits available for single-parent families are shorter than those granted to two-parents. The article also pointed out that one of the causes of inequality is that “single parents may be unable to access any  ‘bonus’ durations of leave that are made available when both parents in a two-parent household take a minimum amount of leave, unless legislation specifies otherwise.” Judy Jou et al, “Paid Parental Leave Policies for Single-Parent Households: An Examination of Legislative Approaches in 34 OECD Countries” (2020) 23:2 Community, Work Fam 184 at 193 online https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/13668803.2018.1517083?needAccess=true 7 December 2020. 208 “EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth.” Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits in Reports: Employment Insurance (EI) online https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/maternity-parental.html accessed 3 September 2020 52  support this distinction, it has been noted that the legal purpose of the maternity leave regulation is ensuring income replacement to the birth parent while undergoing the physiological and psychological changes resulting from pregnancy and childbirth.209 Particularly, the availability of maternity leave benefits for “birth mothers who give up their children for adoption” has been understood as a strong indication of the mentioned health recovery aim.210   2.3 Chapter Conclusions: The Preferred Family Model The familial organization is dynamic and subject to continuous transformations. Today, diverse family structures coexist with the traditional nuclear family. Despite this complexity, the ideal nuclear family, assumed as heterosexual, comprised of two adults, and founded on biological ties, still informs Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws. In this chapter, I have outlined the main features of the nuclear family model and its connection with the male-breadwinner/female-caregiver gender order. Following this, I have pointed out some factors that have led to the proliferation of diverse family structures that challenge the expectations about the traditional nuclear family. Against this background, I claimed that the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations remain attached to an ideal nuclear family model and deconstructed the main assumptions that underpin both countries’ laws. I found out that the  209 Canadian Human Rights Commission, 1987 Special Report to Parliament on Income Replacement Benefits for New Parents cited in Tomasson v Canada (Attorney General), 2007 FCA 265 (CanLII), [2008] 2 FCR 176 at para 96, online http://canlii.ca/t/1shk9 accessed 15 December 2020. 210 Ibid at para 99. 53  laws governing parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada still assume a two-parent family and exhibit a preference for biological ties. Also, by using gendered vocabulary, the Argentine parental leave legislation reveals an expectation for a heterosexual family.   All in all, the parental leave laws in Argentina and Canada remain attached to assumptions regarding an ideal nuclear family, neglecting the family's heterogeneity. In the following chapter, I will unpack the effects of these legal expectations on non-traditional families by identifying the barriers and exclusions that adoptive parents, lone-mothers, same-sex parents, and other families, meet when seeking access to parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada.     54  Chapter 3: Non-traditional Families: Exclusions and Limitations in the Parental Leave Laws  Having identified some assumptions regarding the traditional nuclear family that remain in Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws, now, I discuss the outcomes of these legal expectations on certain non-traditional families.211 The objective of this chapter is identifying the barriers and exclusions that the legal preference for a nuclear family model produces for adoptive, same-sex, lone-parent families, and other non-traditional families in Argentina and Canada. Throughout the chapter, I discuss the extent to which parental leave laws in Argentina and Canada address the needs of non-traditional families. I further identify some variations on the eligibility requirements and scope of parental leave benefits for different family models. This chapter is divided into five sections. In the first four sections, I discuss the barriers that  211 Although there is not a single agreed definition of non-traditional families, I follow the conceptualization of the European Commission that states: “a non-traditional family can describe any family group outside of one that includes a mother and a father living together with their biologically-related children. Non-traditional families, therefore, might include families with lone parents, families with same-sex parents, families with adopted or fostered children, families with parents living apart, families with step-parents and step-siblings (‘reconstituted’ families) and families that consist of other relatives living together in ways outside the traditional formulation.”  European Union, Leave Policies and Practice for Non-Traditional Families by Natalie Picken & Barbara Janta, (Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2019) Catalogue number: KE-02-19-409-EN-N Box 1, at 1 online https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&furtherPubs=yes&langId=en&pubId=8239 accessed 24 February 2021.    55  adoptive, same-sex, lone-parents, and multi-parent families encounter when seeking access to parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada. Following this, in the last section, I draw some conclusions from the analysis discussed in the chapter.  3.1 Parental Leave and Adoptive Families In its ideal form, the nuclear family is comprised of a heterosexual couple and its biologically related children. In this respect, adoptive families do not comply with the ideal family's conditions; they challenge the assumption of a biological tie between parents and children. Bearing this in mind, I discuss whether parental leave regulations in Argentina and Canada grant equal benefits to adoptive and biological families. Over this section, I identify some barriers, derived from the legal assumption of an ideal nuclear family, that restrict access to parental leave benefits for adoptive families.   3.1.1 Adoptive Families in Argentina In Argentina, adoptive families were legally recognized for the first time in 1948, even before the enactment of the Labour Contracts Law (LCL).212 Notwithstanding this recognition,  212 The first adoption law, Law No 13252, was introduced in 1948 and remained in force until 1971 when replaced by Law No. 19134. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos de Argentina, Informacion Legislativa y Documental, INFOLEG, [Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina, Legislative and Documentary Data, INFOLEG], online http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/verNorma.do?id=295719 accessed 16 December 2020. 56  the labour legislation does not grant parental leave benefits to adoptive families.213 Based on the assumption of a biological family, the Argentine labour law relies on pregnancy and childbirth as conditions to access maternity and paternity leave benefits.214 This legal expectation results in practice in the exclusion of adoptive parents from access to parental leave benefits.215  To bypass the legal exclusion, adoptive families in Argentina have filed judicial complaints pursuing the extension of the LCL’s maternity leave benefits. In several precedents, courts and tribunals have considered the legal gap in the provision of parental leave benefits for adoptive parents as discriminatory and, therefore, decided to extend to adoptive parents the same benefits available for biological parents. However, the results of the judicial procedures are uncertain. Following a civil law tradition, in Argentina, judicial decisions have not binding force and the outcomes are limited to the particular case. To illustrate, in the case M. V. M. C. y otro,216  an adoptive mother filed an amparo action217 against the decision that denied her  213 Only a few collective agreements provide parental leave benefits for adoptive parents. Pilar Arcidiácono et al, “Asignaciones Familiares, Licencias e Infraestructura de Cuidado.” (2016) 5:9 Rev Perspect Políticas Públicas 117 at 123.  214 LCL, supra note 14 articles 193 and 172.a).  215 Delfina Schenone Sienra, supra note 60.  216 M. V., M. C. y otro s/ Amparo, San Carlos de Bariloche, 11-05-2006. Cámara del Trabajo de Bariloche, Sala/Juzgado: III Circunscripción. 217 In Argentina, “recurso de amparo” is a remedy directed to protect fundamental rights. According to law no. 16.986, the Amparo action must be filed before the lower local court and will be decided through an expeditious judicial procedure. Accion de Amparo: Ley Reglamentaria. Ley No. 16986. [Reglamentary Law: Amparo Action. Law No 16.986] online http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/45000-49999/46871/norma.htm accessed 16 December 2020. Also, see the Ministry of Justice’s simplified explanation of the Amparo action and procedure in Argentina. Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos de Argentina, [Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of Argentina], Ley Simple, Justicia y Derechos Humanos. Amparo [Simple Law. Justice and Human Rights. Amparo] 57  maternity leave benefits based on the absence of stipulations in the LCL that expressly regulates maternity leave benefits in cases of adoption.218 The local court of appeal understood that denying maternity leave benefits to adoptive mothers and providing differential treatment to biological and adoptive mothers and their children was discriminatory and breached the constitutional right of equality, which is protected under the National Constitution, several international human rights treaties, and local legislation.219 The court decided to fill the gap in the labour law by extending the benefits to adoptive families220 and ordered to grant maternity leave benefits to the claimant since the day of the child’s placement.221  The legal gap in the LCL’s maternity leave regulation regarding adoptive families was also interpreted by a federal court of appeal in A.G.M.L. c Alianza Francesa. 222 Although the main issue considered was whether an employee who was terminated at the time of the placement of her adoptive child was unfairly dismissed, the court expressed his opinion about the gap in the LCL maternity leave regulation. Drawing on international human rights treaties,223 the court understood that, within the Argentine legal system, adoptive and biological  online  https://www.argentina.gob.ar/justicia/derechofacil/leysimple/amparo accessed 16 December 2020. 218 M. V., M. C. y otro S/ Amparo, supra note 216 at considerando 1, page 1.  219 Ibid, at considerando 2 – 5, pages 1-4. 220 Ibid, at considerando 5, page 4 221 Ibid, at considerando 5 and resuelvo no. II, page 5. 222A.G.M.L. v Alianza Francesa s/ despido, Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, 08-05-2014, Cámara Nacional de Apelaciones del Trabajo, Sala V.  223The court’s decision relied on The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Convención sobre eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación contra la mujer), art. 16.1, and on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Convención sobre los Derechos del Niño), art 21. Ibid, at 2 – 3. These human rights treaties have been incorporated into the National Constitution 58  families have equal rights.224 Hence, the court concluded that adoptive mothers can claim and receive maternity leave benefits under the LCL.  Importantly, the Supreme Court of Argentina confirmed the court of appeal's decision225.  Moreover, Argentine courts have decided cases in which the extension of the LCL’s leave benefits was claimed by same-sex adoptive parents. For instance, in A. L. B. Y A. I. O.226 a gay couple adopted two children and claimed an extended paternity leave benefit, in the same terms as the LCL’s maternity leave, for one of the parents.227 This case reveals that the limitations in access to parental leave benefits do not affect all adoptive parents to the same extent. Same-sex parents who adopt children encounter a double barrier. On the one hand, as adoptive families, they struggle with the legal gap on the provision of leave benefits for adoptive families. On the other hand, since the LCL’s parental leave provisions are highly gendered, the benefits cannot be directly extended to same-sex parents. 228 This case and the difficulties that same-sex families encounter to access parental leave benefits will be discussed in detail in section 3.3 of this chapter.  of Argentina and have the same hierarchy as the constitutional text. Constitucion Nacional de la Republica Argentina, supra note 41 at art.75, inc. 22. 224 “En dichos términos, encuentro que la adopción está equiparada jurídicamente a la maternidad”. A.G.M.L. v Alianza Francesa s/ despido, supra note 222 at page 3 last paragraph. 225 The Supreme Court of Argentina is the highest tribunal in the country. A.G.M.L. v Alianza Francesa s/despido, Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, 29-09-2015, Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nacion. 226 A. L. B. Y A. I. O. s/ Materia A Categorizar (Declaracion De Adoptabilidad), Mar del Plata, 15/07/2015, Juzgado de Familia No 5 de Mar del Plata. 227 Ibid, considerando I, page 1. 228 Ibid. 59  Although some courts and tribunals have attempted to fill the gap in the LCL and granted leave benefits to adoptive parents, the lack of legal provision in this respect is yet problematic. Since adoptive parents are not expressly included in the LCL’s maternity and paternity leave provisions, these parents find barriers that hinder their access to parental leave benefits. As the above cases have shown, the lack of legal provision results in the denial of their applications for leave benefits. Consequently, to be entitled to maternity or paternity leave benefits, adoptive parents must file judicial complaints. The results of these judicial procedures are uncertain since in Argentina judges are not bound by precedents.229 Although Argentine tribunals usually draw on case law to guide or support their decisions, it has a "persuasive rather than precedential value.”230 Thus, different judges may decide similar cases differently and, for instance, dismiss the claim or provide diverse benefits to adoptive parents.  To ensure equal access to parental leave benefits for adoptive as well as for biological families and adjust the labour legislation to the National Constitution and international human rights standards, the LCL needs to be amended. Over the last years, some bills have proposed reforming the LCL’s parental leave regulations to include adoptive families. Particularly, in the period 2019-2020, eleven reform bills proposed the introduction of adoption leaves, with a  229 Argentina has a civil law tradition; thus, the lower tribunals and courts are not bound by the decisions of superior tribunals. Despite this general principle, the precedents of the Supreme Court of Argentina are considered as legally binding. As Sagüés has pointed out, the inferior courts and tribunals, either national and provincial, only can diverge from the Supreme Court precedent by expressing new and relevant arguments. Néstor Pedro Sagüés, “La Eficacia Vinculante de la Jurisprudencia de la Corte Suprema de Justicia en EE.UU. y Argentina.” (2006) 4:1 Estud Const Rev del Cent Estud Const 17.  230 Gabriela T Mastaglia & Valerie Oosterveld, supra note 42 at 918.  60  length that ranged from 10 to 130 days231. Four of these bills contemplated the case of the adoption of multiple children, granting extra days of leave in such circumstances.232 Four bills introduced a pre-placement leave benefit, with a length that varied from a short period, 1 to 12  231Senado de la Nacion, Expediente No. S-0020/2020, Blas:  Reproduce el Proyecto de Ley que Modifica la Ley 20.744 - Contrato de Trabajo -, Estableciendo un Regimen Integral de "Proteccion de la Familia Trabajadora" Respecto de las Licencias. (Ref. S. 339/18), online (2020), https://www.senado.gob.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/20.20/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020. 0120-D-2020, Regimen de Licencias Especiales – Ley 20.744 (2020), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0120-D-2020&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 0287-D-2020. Período de Vinculación Previo a la Adopción, (2020), online  https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0287-D-2020&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 5400-D-2019, Modificaciones a la Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=5400-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 5309-D-2019, Licencia por Adopcion, (2019) online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=5309-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 5218-D-2019 Licencia por Adopción (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=5218-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 4647-D-2019, Proyecto de Ley de Reforma Ley 20744, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4647-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3121-D-2019, Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo N° 20.744: Modificación de los Artículos N° 158 Y 177, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3121-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 2210-D-2019, El Senado y Cámara de Diputados. Licencia Adopcion, (2019) online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=2210-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3614-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3614-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020.  1269-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=1269-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 232 See bills: No. S-0020/2020, Blas, article 3;  0120-D-2020, Regimen de Licencias Especiales, article 2; 5400-D-2019, Modificaciones a la Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo, article 1; 1269-D-2019, article 1,  supra note 229.  61  days, to a lengthy leave of 45 days.233 Several bills claimed the purpose to promote equality among diverse family models;234 however, most of them offered more generous benefits to biological than to adoptive parents. To illustrate, only four bills granted equal length of leave for adoptive and biological parents,235 while almost double that number provided a shorter leave for adoptive parents. Overall, these bills promised important progress toward the recognition of the needs of adoptive parents in the Argentine parental leave legislation. Nevertheless, most of the proposed amendments revealed a preference for the traditional nuclear family and failed to advance equal benefits for adoptive families.  3.1.2 Adoptive Families in Canada In Canada, the EI Act entitles adoptive parents to parental leave benefits from the day of the child’s placement236 with the same compensation and duration as biological families.237 However, adoptive parents are not allowed to take paid leave before the placement day. They are excluded from maternity leave benefits which are only available to the person who gives  233 See bills S-0020/2020, 0287-D-2020; 3121-D-2019, and 2210-D-2019, supra note 231.  234 11 out of the 18 surveyed bills mentioned family’s equality among the main purposes.  235 See bills S-0020/2020, 5400-D-2019, 3121-D-2019, and 2210-D-2019, supra note 231. 236 EI Act, supra note 13 s. 23.2.b “Subject to section 12, benefits under this section are payable for each week of unemployment in the period: b) that begins with the week in which the child or children (…) are actually placed with the claimant for the purpose of adoption.” 237 Canada, Employment and Social Development, supra note 208. 62  birth. In addition, except for the province of British Columbia,238 the current legislation in Canada does not provide pre-placement leaves.  As a result of the exclusion from maternity leave, adoptive parents are entitled to a shorter period to care for the newly adopted child compared to biological families (figure 3).239 Considering that only biological mothers are eligible for maternity leave benefits, biological parents can combine maternity and parental leave and take a longer period than adoptive families.240 Consequently, adoptive parents and adopted children have a shorter and usually  238 British Columbia, Pre-placement Adoption Leave for B.C. Government Employees, online https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/all-employees/leave-time-off/maternity-parental-pre-placement-adoption/pre-placement-adoption accessed 16 December 2020. 239 Caroline McLeod et al, Time to Attach: An Argument in Favour of EI Attachment Benefits (2019) online http://works.bepress.com/carolyn-mcleod/57/ accessed 11 December 2020.  240 Combining maternity and parental leave, biological parents can take up to 55 or 84 weeks off work. However, adoptive families are only eligible for parental leave benefits and excluded from the 15 weeks of maternity leave. Thus, the maximum number of weeks that they can take is 40 in the standard program and 69 in the extended. Figure 3: Total Length of Parental Leave by Family Model, Including Parental Sharing Benefits 63  insufficient time241 for attachment and bonding.242 Furthermore, the EI Act does not entitle adoptive families to pre-placement leave benefits, neglecting their special needs during the transition stage.243 Before the child’s placement, parents who seek to adopt must go through an "onerous and intrusive" 244 application phase. During that process, prospective adoptive parents often need to take time off work to attend the mandatory pre-placement visits and go through other legal procedures. The unavailability of a pre-placement leave constrains their options and forces adoptive parents to use vacation time or go on unpaid leave to complete the application and transition processes,245 which may lead to disruptions in employment. Adoptive parents who hold unionized or higher-earning jobs are more likely granted employer benefits than adoptive parents in precarious and lower-earning jobs. Therefore, the absence of preplacement leave benefits disproportionally affects adoptive parents with lower-socio economic status.   The inadequacies of the current parental leave system do not affect all adoptive parents to the same extent. Women, LGBTQ+ parents, lone parents, and families with lower-economic  241 A group of researches conducted an online survey of adoptive and awaiting parents in 2018. In total, 9 parents and caregivers participated in the survey. Referring to the EI Act parental leave benefits, a significant share of participants, 72%, expressed that “the system did not provide enough time for at least one of their children to adjust to their new family and form attachments.” Caroline McLeod et al, supra note 239 at 18-19.  242 In cases of adoption, attachment time is regarded as essential for children's health and development. Caroline Ibid. 243 Ibid. 244 B.C.G.E.U. v British Columbia (Public Service Employee Relations Commission) 2000 CarswellBC 2976, 62 C.L.A.S. 13, 92 L.A.C. (4th) 65 at para 24. 245 The declaration of a survey respondent exemplifies this point. “I am NOT eligible to start my parental leave until AFTER the transition period has completed, even though this transition period is critical for a successful placement. I will have to take an unpaid leave from work for this period.” Caroline McLeod et al, supra note 239. 64  status are the most affected groups among adoptive families. In Canada, “women are the predominant providers of (…) care to children.”246 Hence, they are more likely to take paid and unpaid leaves,247 which impacts negatively on their professional careers and incomes. Also, LGBTQ+248 and lone parents249 bear the extra-burden of the social stigma that may hinder the adoption process. Finally, people with lower-socio economic status and lower-earning jobs are less likely to receive extra benefits from their employers and may find greater difficulties to afford the costs of taking unpaid leaves; thus, the lack of pre-placement leave benefits could constrain the possibilities to adopt children for families from lower-socio economic sectors.    246 Statistics Canada, Time Use: Total Work Burden, Unpaid Work, and Leisure, by Melissa Moyser & Amanda Burlock, Catalogue no. 89-503-X (Statistics Canada, July 30, 2018) at 15 online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/54931-eng.htm accessed 16 December 2020.  247 By 2010, the percentage of women taking leaves for care to children was 83.1% paid leave and 21.5% unpaid leave; whereas only 12.9% men took paid leave and 14.2% unpaid leave. Statistics Canada,  Leave Practices of Parents after the Birth or Adoption of Young Children. Table 1 Type and Length of Leave Taken by Working Mothers and Fathers of Children Aged 1 to 3, by Leanne C. Findlay and Dafna E. Kohen, Canadian Social Trends, Issue 2012002, online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-008-x/2012002/t/11697/tbl01-eng.htm accessed 16 December 2020. 248 Lori Ross et al, “Lesbian and Queer Mothers Navigating the Adoption System: The Impacts on Mental Health” (2008) 17:3 Heal Sociol Rev 254. And Rafael A Javier et al, “Double Stigma: The Impact of Adoption Issues on Lesbianand Gay Adoptive Parents” in Frank A. Biafora, Alina Camacho-Gingerich Rafael A. Javier, Amanda L. Baden, eds., Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2007) 228. 249 Rafael A. Javier et al, “Single-Parent Adoptions and Clinical Implications” in Frank A Biafora, Alina Camacho-Gingerich, Rafael A. Javier & Amanda L. Baden, eds., Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families (Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2007) 190. 65  3.1.2.1 Discrimination Claims The exclusion of adoptive families from maternity leave benefits has been challenged as discriminatory in violation of section 15 of the Canadian Charter250 in several cases. However, since the leading case Schafer v Canada251, these claims have been repeatedly dismissed. To dismiss the complaints, the courts have based their decisions on the different purposes of maternity and parental leave provisions. They have stated that the purpose of maternity leave is women’s recovery from childbirth, whereas the aim of parental leave is caring and bonding.252 As adoptive parents do not need time to recover from the physical and physiological changes resulting from pregnancy and childbirth, the courts have concluded that it is reasonable to exclude them from maternity leave benefits.253 In Schafer v Canada, two adoptive mothers254 pursued declarations that the subsections of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Act255 that rule maternity and child-care leave benefits are discriminatory and contrary to section 15 of the Charter.256 Under the UI Act regulations,  250 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, s 15, Part 1 of the Constitution Act, 1982, being Schedule B to the Canada Act 1982 (UK), 1982, c 11. 251 Schafer v Canada (Attorney General), 1997 CanLII 1508 (ON CA), <http://canlii.ca/t/6hf0>, accessed 14 December 2020 252 Tomasson v Canada, supra note 209 at para at para 98. Also, Schafer v. Canada, supra note 251 at para 70. 253 Tomasson v Canada, supra note 209 at para 134. 254 The applicants were entitled to parental leave but denied maternity leave benefits due that eligibility for these last benefits was restricted to biological mothers. Schafer v. Canada (Attorney General), 1996 CanLII 8150 (ON SC) at paras 6, 7 and 15, online <http://canlii.ca/t/1w5p6> accessed 14 December 2020.  255 Relevant for this dissertation is the application of declaration regarding UI Act subsections 11. 3) and 11.4).  256 Schafer v Canada, supra note 251 at para 6. 66  biological families, who may combine maternity and parental leaves, resulted in an entitlement to a longer leave benefit than adoptive families. While biological parents could take up to 25 weeks of maternity plus parental leave, adoptive families were granted a maximum of 10 weeks of parental leave.257 The applicants claimed that by creating such a distinction, the UI Act provisions discriminated against adoptive mothers and adopted children. The Ontario Court of Justice coincided with the applicants and declared the impugned subsections of the UI Act as discriminatory and contrary to s. 15.258 To reach that conclusion, Cameron J. understood that the purpose of the legislation was “to facilitate the process of family formation, whether by pregnancy or adoption.”259 The Attorney General of Canada appealed the decision.260 The Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision and dismissed the declaration of discrimination of subsections 11.3 and 11.4 of the UI Act.261 In the Court of Appeal’s opinion, Cameron J. misinterpreted the purpose of the UI Act since “[t]he focus of that legislation is the circumstances surrounding employment and unemployment, not the formation of families.”262 Therefore, the court of appeal understood that “the purpose of the maternity benefit is to protect women who work from the economic costs of pregnancy and childbirth.”263 According to the Court of Appeal, adoptive and biological mothers experience different challenges, which  257 Ibid at para 6. 258 Schafer v Canada, supra note 254 at para 261. 259 Ibid at para 155 260 Schafer v Canada, supra note 251 at para 2. 261 Ibid at para 84. 262 Ibid at para 35. 263 Ibid at para 38. 67  justify the legal distinction in the entitlement of maternity leave benefits.264 Drawing on that interpretation, the Court of Appeal determined that the distinction in the UI Act maternity and parental leave provisions did not comprise discrimination against adoptive mothers.265 In 1996, the maternity and parental leave provisions switched from the UI Act to the EI Act; however, eligibility for maternity leave benefits remained restricted to biological mothers. In Tomasson v Canada,266 the differential treatment gave to adoptive and biological mothers under the EI Act maternity leave regulation was challenged as discriminatory and contrary to section 15 of the Charter.267 Patti Tomasson applied to the EI Act leave benefits twice upon the placement of each of her adoptive children.268 On both occasions, given that she was an adoptive mother, the applications for maternity leave benefits were denied.269 Against these rejections, Tomasson challenged the constitutionality of the EI Act maternity leave regulations before the Umpire, claiming that, by providing differential treatment to adoptive and biological mothers, the EI Act maternity leave provision discriminated against adoptive mothers and  264 Ibid at paras 61 to 70.  At para 68 the court stated, “To summarize, it is not necessarily discriminatory for governments to treat biological mothers differently from other parents, including adoptive parents. In order to cope with the physiological changes that occur during childbearing, biological mothers require a flexible period of leave that may be used during pregnancy, labour, birth and the postpartum period. Indeed, such leave provisions may be necessary in order to ensure the equality of women generally, who have historically suffered disadvantage in the workplace due to pregnancy-related discrimination: see Brooks v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219 (S.C.C.).” 265 Ibid at paras 61-70 and 84. 266 Tomasson v Canada, supra note 209. 267 Ibid at para 14. 268 Ibid at para 5.  269 Ibid. 68  breached s. 15 of the Charter.270 The Umpire, drawing on the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Shafer, dismissed the discrimination complaint.271 The Umpire’s decision was appealed before the Federal Court of Appeal. The Court272 analyzed the purposes of the impugned legislation and found that the EI Act maternity and parental leave benefits served different goals.273 On the one hand, maternity leave benefits aim “to provide income while a mother is incapacitated from work due to pregnancy or recuperation.”274 On the other hand, parental leave allowances intend “to provide income while parents are caring for or bonding with their children.”275 Based on these two different legal purposes, the court understood that the legal distinction in maternity leave benefits relied on the different needs of biological and adoptive parents, concluding that the differential treatment resulting from the impugned regulations was legitimate and did not constitute discrimination against adoptive mothers.276 Therefore, the court dismissed the appeal.277  Considering that women and other pregnant people have historically experienced discrimination in the labour market due to pregnancy and childbirth, I agree with the Canadian courts that it is reasonable to provide specific leave entitlements to the person who gives birth, including surrogate parents. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that adoptive parents  270 Ibid at paras 7 to 10 and 14. 271 Ibid at para 15. 272 Vote of M. Nadon J.A. In agreement K. Sharlow J.A. J.D.D. and Pelletier J.A. Ibid.  273 Ibid at para 98. 274 Ibid at para 122. 275 Ibid at para 122. 276 Ibid at para 130. 277 Ibid at para 135. 69  also need to take time off work during the pre-placement period and that the absence of paid leave benefits during this period may lead to discrimination in the labour market among other negative effects, disproportionally affecting women. In my opinion, in both Schafer and Tomasson, the Canadian courts have lost an opportunity for assessing gender discrimination in the context of complex and heterogeneous families. After discussing the different purposes of maternity and parental leave entitlements, the courts could have gone further by considering whether the needs of adoptive parents are addressed in the current parental leave system and the consequent outcomes for gender inequality.     3.1.3 Section Conclusions: Adoptive Families and Parental Leave Policies In Argentina and Canada, legislation granting parental and maternity leave benefits still reveal a preference for biological families which hinders adoptive parents’ access to these benefits. In both jurisdictions, the laws that grant parental leave benefits overlook the special needs of adoptive families; however, the extent of the unequal treatment varies between countries. In Argentina, there is a gap in the regulation of parental leave benefits for adoptive parents. Eligibility for maternity and paternity leaves is limited to biological parents, excluding adoptive families from access to these benefits. In contrast, the Canadian EI parental leave system recognizes adoptive families but grants them a shorter leave benefit. The exclusion from maternity leave place adoptive families in a less favorable position compared to biological families. Also, by not providing pre-placement leave benefits, the Canadian law ignores the barriers and difficulties that prospective adoptive parents encounter before the child’s placement day. 70  The unequal treatment of adoptive families in the parental leave provisions has led to litigation in both countries. Nevertheless, Argentine and Canadian courts have decided the cases differently. On the one hand, Argentine judges and courts have recognized that granting different benefits to biological and adoptive families results in discrimination against the latter. Thus, aiming to fill the gap in the labour legislation, they have provided adoptive parents the same maternity benefits as biological mothers. On the other hand, Canadian courts, have been reluctant to declare that the exclusion of adoptive parents from maternity leave constitutes discrimination. Adoptive parents need to take time off work to care for and bond with their children, and even before the placement day, they may need to take leave to comply with the adoption proceedings. The current laws that regulate parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada have demonstrated to fall short in providing support to adoptive families, reinforcing inequality among different family models. Despite some differences, both countries' parental leave laws present significant obstacles for adoptive parents that prevent them from access the same benefits available for biological families.   3.2 Same-Sex Parents 3.2.1 Same-Sex Families in Argentina 3.2.1.1 The Legal Inconsistency in the LCL Maternity and Paternity Leave Regulations In Argentina, there is legal inconsistency in the recognition of LGBTQ+ families. Over the last decades, Argentina has made significant advances in the recognition of LGBTQ+ 71  rights, which has transformed Argentine families. However, the LCL leave regulations have not been reformed to include these families, producing a legal inconsistency between civil and labour laws.278 Incongruous with the egalitarian civil legislation, the LCL parental leave regulations remain attached to a heterosexual nuclear family, excluding same-sex parents and non-cisgender parents.279 In the next paragraphs, I identify the obstacles that same-sex and other non-heterosexual parents encounter to access parental leave benefits in Argentina. I argue that the exclusion of LGBTQ+ parents from access to parental leave benefits is mostly due to three features of the LCL maternity and paternity leave regulations. These three aspects are the maternalistic perspective280 of care, the use of gendered vocabulary, and the assumption of biological parenthood. Argentina is internationally known for leading the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights in Latin America.  As a result of years of intense activism,281 several laws were introduced during the last decade granting equal rights and recognition to members of LGBTQ+ communities. This legal transformation began in 2010 with the enactment of the Egalitarian Marriage Law,282  278 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16.  279 Ibid. 280 According to Blofield and Franzoni, policies with a maternalistic perspective are those that value and support care work as a female responsibility, reinforcing the gender division of labour and gender stereotypes of men as main breadwinners and women as main caregivers. Merike Blofield & Juliana Martínez Franzoni, “Maternalism, Co-responsibility, and Social Equity: A Typology of Work–Family Policies” (2015) 22:1 Soc Polit Int Stud Gender, State Soc 38. 281 For a further understanding of the LGBTQ activism in Argentina see Instituto Nacional contra la Discriminación la Xenofobia y el Racismo (INADI), Diversidad Sexual y Derechos Humanos. Sexualidades Libres de Violencia y Discriminacion (Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, 2017) online http://www.inadi.gob.ar/contenidos-digitales/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Diversidad-Sexual-y-Derechos-Humanos-9-9-2016.pdf accessed 21 January 2021.  282 Ley de Matrimonio Igualitario [Egalitarian Marriage Law], Law No 26.618, online: https://www.acnur.org/fileadmin/Documentos/BDL/2017/10957.pdf accessed 21 January 2021.  72  which enabled same-sex couples to get married for the first time in Latin America. The next breakthrough took place in 2012 with the introduction of the Ley de Identidad de Genero283 that recognized the right of self-perceived gender identity. Subsequently, the enactment of a law regulating medically assisted reproduction284 in 2013 constituted a significant step forward the recognition of same-sex families.285 To complete this process, in 2015, the new Commercial and Civil Code included gender-neutral vocabulary and recognized gender and family diversity.286  This legal progress produced important transformations in Argentine families,287 including the recognition of same-sex parents. According to the 2010’s national census, same-sex couples represented 0.33% of Argentine couples288 and only 21% have children living with them.289 Even though same-sex families represent a tiny proportion, this family model reveals a growing trend.290 According to data published by the Homosexual Community of Argentina,  283 Ley de Identidad de Genero [Gender Identity Law], Ley No 26.743, online: http://www.jus.gob.ar/media/3108867/ley_26743_identidad_de_genero.pdf accessed 21 January 2021. 284 Ley de Reproduccion Medicamente Asistida [Medically Assisted Reproduction Law], Law No 26.862. Online: http://servicios.infoleg.gob.ar/infolegInternet/anexos/215000-219999/216700/norma.htm accessed 21 January 2021. 285 Diana Maffía, “Desafíos de las Familias Diversas: Nuevos Reconocimientos de Género, Nuevas Demandas en Políticas Públicas” (2013) 10 Rev Cátedra Paralela 94. 286 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16.   287 Diana Maffía, supra note 285. 288 Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos, Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010: Censo del Bicentenario, (2012). 289 Ibid. 290 Considering that the census was conducted at the beginning of the process of legal recognition of LGBTQ rights in Argentina, an increment in the number of same-sex families can be expected in the next years. 73  CHA,291 the number of same-sex marriages has skyrocketed since the enactment of the Egalitarian Marriage Law. In 2013, after three years of the law’s enactment, were registered about 7000 same-sex marriages in Argentina,292 a number that was doubled by 2016.293  The legal advances in the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights and the consequent transformations in family structures have not reached labour legislation in general and parental leave provisions in particular. As Eleonor Faur has expressed, “there is a stark contrast between the revolution in Argentina’s LGBT rights, and maternalistic childcare policy.”294 Inconsistent with the egalitarian civil legislation, the LCL parental leave regulations remain attached to a heterosexual nuclear family, excluding same-sex, transgender, and other non-heterosexual parents.295  I argue that three characteristics of the Argentine labour law lead to the exclusion of LGBTQ+ parents from access to parental leave benefits. These features are the maternalistic perspective296 of care, the use of gendered vocabulary, and the assumption of biological parenthood. Regarding the first character, Esquivel & Faur have pointed out that parental leave  291 Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) 292 Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA), online: https://www.cha.org.ar/2013/07/15/tres-anos-de-la-ley-de-matrimonio-igualitario/ accessed 16 December 2020. 293 Ibid.  294 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16, at 623. 295 Ibid. 296 According to Blofield and Franzoni, policies with a maternalist perspective are those that value and support care work as a female responsibility, reinforcing the gender division of labour and gender stereotypes of men as main breadwinners and women as main caregivers. Merike Blofield & Martínez Franzoni, supra note 280. 74  policies in Argentina remain embedded with a maternalistic perspective of care.297 By assuming that women are always primary caregivers, the LCL grants uneven benefits to mothers and fathers, being maternity leave significantly longer than paternity leave. This maternalism and the consequent gender division of roles do not match the experiences of many LGBTQ+ parents, producing unfair outcomes. For instance, if the current regulations are taken literally, only one of the mothers in a lesbian couple could take 90 days of maternity leave and, in a gay male family, only one of the fathers could take 2 days of paternity leave.298   Connected to the law’s maternalistic approach, the second factor is the use of gendered vocabulary. Unlike the civil code, the LCL parental leave provisions have not introduced gender-neutral language.299 Terms such as female employee, mother, and father persist in the text of the labour law, excluding same-sex and other parents who do not conform to the female/male binary.300  The third factor that leads to the exclusion of LGBTQ+ families is the legal assumption of biological parenthood.301 Under the LCL regulations, eligibility for maternity and paternity leave benefits is restricted to the biological mother and the biological father, respectively.302 Moreover, the LCL does not grant similar benefits for adoptive families  297 Valeria Esquivel & Eleonor Faur, supra note 15. 298 Fabián Repetto et al., "Recomendaciones para una Nueva Ley Nacional de Licencias por Maternidad, Paternidad y Familiares" (2013) Documento de Políticas Públicas 126  online https://www.cippec.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/1385.pdf accesssed 8 March 2021. 299 Eleonor Faur, supra note 16 at 622 - 623. 300 A. L. B. Y A. I. O. s/ Materia A Categorizar, supra note 226. 301 Eleonor Faur, Gender and Family-Work Reconciliation: Labor Legislation and Male Subjectivities in Latin America (Mexico City: United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA] & German Technical Cooperation [GTZ], 2005) at 133. 302 LCL, supra note 14 articles 157.a and 177. 75  and does not provide income replacement for parents who need to take time off work to undergo assisted reproductive treatments. Considering that adoption303 and the use of assisted reproductive techniques304 are important alternatives for same-sex couples to become parents, the lack of provision of paid leave in these cases is especially detrimental for same-sex families.   3.2.1.2 The Outcomes of the LCL Inconsistency: Litigation and the Need for Legal Reform In Argentina, the LCL maternity and paternity leave regulations exclude LGBTQ+ parents.305 The maternalistic assumptions, the gendered vocabulary, and the attachment to biological parenthood that characterize the LCL leave regulations restrict access to maternity and paternity leave benefits for same-sex and other families that do not conform to the heterosexual nuclear family. This legal exclusion has led to extensive litigation.306  The case A. L. B. Y A. I. O. S307 illustrates the struggles experienced by gay male same-sex families. In this case, a gay couple adopted two children and claimed extended leave  303 The enactment of the egalitarian marriage law entailed the legalization of same-sex adoptions. Before 2010, only heterosexual couples were allowed to adopt. Diana Maffía, supra note 285. 304 According to Maffia, most same sex-parents are female and have used assisted reproductive techniques to conceive their children. Ibid at 98.  305 Natalia Saralegui, “La Licencia por Co-maternidad a la Madre no Gestante, Entre el Modelo De ‘Familia Patriarcal’ y los Avances Legislativos del Colectivo LGBTIQ+ (Comentario al Fallo ‘Díaz Reck, Malena C/ARBA S/Medida Autosatisfactiva’)” Pensamiento Civil (29 May 2019) online https://www.pensamientocivil.com.ar/doctrina/4201-licencia-co-maternidad-madre-no-gestante-entre-modelo-familia accessed 23 December 2020. 306 Ibid. 307 A. L. B. Y A. I. O. s/ Materia A Categorizar, supra note 226. 76  benefits for one of the parents, to the same extent as the LCL maternity leave benefit.308 The judge understood that the LCL regulations, by only granting maternity and paternity leave benefits,309 do not match the experiences of same-sex families, perpetuating gender stereotypes.310 By asking which father should receive the benefits, the judge concluded that entitling only one of the fathers with an extended “paternity leave” would still be discriminatory. 311 Hence, the judge ordered granting leave benefits, with the same extension and compensation provided by the LCL maternity leave regulation, simultaneously to both fathers.312  In several cases,313 non-gestating mothers in lesbian same-sex families have filed judicial complaints against the decisions that denied them maternity leave benefits and claimed the extension of the same allowances available for gestating mothers.314 Overall, the courts have  308 Ibid, considerando I, page 1. 309 Ibid, considerando II, pages 1 -2.  310 Ibid, considerando III, pages 2-3. 311 Ibid, considerando III, page 2.  312 Ibid, resuelvo, page 4, last paragraph.  313 See Natalia Saralegui, supra note 305. It is important to mention that, in these cases, the legislation considered was maternity leave regulations under provincial labour laws and professional statutes rather than the LCL maternity leave provisions. Nevertheless, the issues, arguments, and judicial decisions may be applicable to future litigation regarding the LCL regulations. 314 M. M. C. c GCBA s/ Amparo (Expte. 21864/2018-0), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 08/08/2018, Juzgado De 1ra Instancia En Lo Contencioso Administrativo Y Tributario Nº 15 Secretaría N°30. N.G. N. c GCBA S/ medida cautelar autónoma (Expte. 35690/2018-0), Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Octubre 2018, Juzgado en lo Contencioso y Tributario N° 12 de CABA. Diaz Reck c ARBA s/ Medida autosatisfactiva  (Expte N°50832/2018), La Plata, 27/12/2018, Juzgado en lo Contencioso Administrativo N°1 de La Plata. 77  agreed with the claimant and ordered to grant maternity leave benefits to the non-gestating mother in a lesbian couple with equal length and compensation as those available for gestating mothers. To illustrate, in the cases M. M. C. c GCBA,315 N. G. N. c G.C.B.A.,316 Diaz Reck M. c A.R.B.A,317 and E. B. A. y otros c G.C.B.A318 the courts assisted reason to the claimants and ordered to provide equal maternity leave benefits to the non-gestating mother.  However, in other cases, courts have reached adverse decisions for the claimants, granting less favorable benefits to the non-gestating mother or even dismissing the discrimination claim and denying access to maternity leave benefit for the claimants. For instance, in Pasarin Y. B. c INSSJP – PAMI,319 a federal court confirmed the lower court’s decision that granted maternity leave benefits to the claimant, a non-gestating mother in a lesbian family, but for a shorter period than that available for gestating mothers.320 In this case, the non-gestating mother was allowed to take only the maternity leave benefit corresponding  E. B. A. y otros c GCBA, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 19/03/2019, Juzgado en lo Contencioso Administrativo y Tributario No 1 de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. 315 M. M. C. c GCBA s/ Amparo (Expte. 21864/2018-0), Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 08/08/2018, Juzgado De 1ra Instancia En Lo Contencioso Administrativo Y Tributario Nº 15 Secretaría N°30. 316  N.G. N. c GCBA S/ medida cautelar autónoma (Expte. 35690/2018-0), Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, October 2018, Juzgado en lo Contencioso y Tributario N° 12 de CABA. 317 Diaz Reck c ARBA s/ Medida autosatisfactiva  (Expte N°50832/2018), La Plata, 27/12/2018, Juzgado en lo Contencioso Administrativo N°1 de La Plata. 318 E. B. A. y otros c GCBA, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, 19/03/2019, Juzgado en lo Contencioso Administrativo y Tributario No 1 de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires. 319 Pasarin, Yanina Beatriz c Instituto Nacional De Servicios Sociales Para Jubilados Y Pensionados (Inssjp - Pami) S/Medida Autosatisfactiva (Expte. N° FLP 28498/2019/CA1), Camara Federal De La Plata - Sala 1, Junio 2019.  320 Ibid, Resuelvo I [Resolutive section, I), page 9. 78  to the period after the day of childbirth.321 Moreover, in R. C. M.,322 a provincial court of appeal overturned323 the lower court’s decision that granted maternity leave benefits to the non-gestating mother.324 The court understood that the exclusion of non-gestating mothers from maternity leave benefits did not constitute discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexual orientation.325 According to the court, the differential treatment granted to gestating and non-gestating mothers under the laws that regulate maternity leave benefits was reasonable and attended to these mothers’ different experiences.326 Concretely, the biological transformations experienced by gestating mothers justified the legal differentiation.327  Bearing in mind the different outcomes of the cited case law, access to parental leave benefits for same-sex families in Argentina appears uncertain. To include LGBTQ+ families, avoid future litigation, and align labour laws with the rest of the national legislation, the LCL leave regulations should be urgently amended.328 Accordingly, between March 2019 and April  321 The impugned collective agreement (Convenio Colectivo de Trabajo para los Trabajadores del INSSJP) grants a maternity leave benefit for a maximum of 100 days. Within this period, 30 days must be taken before the day of childbirth, leaving a maximum of 70 days that can be enjoyed after that day. In Pasarin, the court ordered to grant the claimant maternity leave for a period of 70 days corresponding to the post-partum benefit. Ibid, considerando VI, page 5-6; resuelvo I [resolutive section I] page 9. 322 R. C. M. P/ Medida Autosatisfactiva, Cámara de Apelaciones en lo Civil, Comercial, Minas, de Paz y Tributario No 3, Mendoza, 12/02/2020, online http://www2.jus.mendoza.gov.ar/listas/proveidos/vertexto.php?ide=7528979096 accessed 18 December 2020. 323 Ibid, Resuelve 1º [resolutive section 1º], page 16. 324 Ibid at 1, vote Dr. Lamena point No. 1.  325 Ibid at 12. 326 Ibid at 9. 327 Ibid.  328 The urgent need for legal reform was expressed in the case Diaz Reck “Es imperioso en este sentido que la legislatura local avance en el dictado de una normativa que contemple esta nueva realidad de conformación familiar y de parentesco de un modo inequívoco, con la finalidad de evitar la reiteración 79  2020, some legislators have proposed reforms to the LCL leave regulations to include same-sex and other non-heterosexual families. With this aim, some bills have proposed using gender-neutral vocabulary in the legal text, replacing gendered terms such as mother and father for other more gender-inclusive, like parent.329 One bill introduced in 2019 addressed the difficulties experienced by lesbian same-sex families by proposing a new type of leave benefit, a co-maternity leave.330 The submitted bill stated that the non-gestating mother in a lesbian same-sex couple has the right to access equal maternity leave benefits as the gestating mother.331 Nevertheless, to date none of these proposed amendments have succeeded; thus, LGBTQ+ families in Argentina continue struggling to access parental leave benefits.  de conflictos de esta naturaleza.” Diaz Reck, Considerando, 2.1, page 4. In the resolutive section, the court called upon the local legislature to promptly reform the laws that regulate maternity and parental leave benefits to address the needs of diverse families. “Exhortar a la Legislatura de la Provincia de Buenos Aires a dictar una normative respecto del régimen de licencias para el sector público provincial, que contemple las diversas conformaciones familiares, a cuyo fin líbrese oficio. Diaz Reck, supra note 317 Resuelvo 3 (Resolutive section, 3) page 7. 329 Expediente No 2893/19, Proyecto De Ley, Fernandez Sagasti y Fuentes: Proyecto de Ley de Regimen de Licencias Especiales, (2019), online https://www.senado.gov.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/2893.19/S/PL  accessed 4 April 2020. 0287-D-2020. Período de Vinculación Previo a la Adopción, online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=0287-D-2020&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 3121-D-2019, Ley de Régimen de Contrato de Trabajo N° 20.744: Modificación de los Artículos N° 158 Y 177, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=3121-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 4398-D-2019, (2019), online https://www.hcdn.gob.ar/proyectos/textoCompleto.jsp?exp=4398-D-2019&tipo=LEY accessed 4 April 2020. 330 Expediente No 3357/19, Proyecto De Ley, Odarda: Proyecto de Ley sobre Licencia por Comaternidad, (2019), online https://www.senado.gov.ar/parlamentario/comisiones/verExp/3357.19/S/PL accessed 4 April 2020. 331 Ibid, at 1.  80   3.2.2 Same Sex Families in Canada In Canada, same-sex marriage was legalized in 2005 through the enactment of the Civil Marriage Act.332 Even before that year, some rights were recognized to same-sex couples at the federal level and in some provinces.333 For instance, since the 1970s, same-sex couples in Canada have been entitled to some rights and duties of marriage.334 Furthermore, beginning in the mid-1990s, some provinces have recognized same-sex couples as common-law relationships.335 The growing legal recognition of LGBTQ+ families has reshaped the organization of Canadian households. The 2016 Census revealed that the percentage of same-sex couples in Canada sharply rose by over 60% between 2006 and 2016.336 The percentage of same-sex couples with children living with them also grew from 8.6% in 2001 to 12% in 2016.337 Among same-sex couples who had children living with them, lesbians couples  332 Civil Marriage Act (S.C. 2005, c. 33) online https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/c-31.5/page-1.html accessed 24 December 2020. 333 Susan B Boyd & Claire FL Young, “‘From Same-Sex to No Sex’?: Trends Towards Recognition of (Same-Sex) Relationships in Canada” (2003) 1:3 Seattle J Soc Justice 757 at 760, online <https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/sjsj1&div=49&g_sent=1&casa_token=PguBlq1ktbsAAAAA:iiqUfekVbFSCeEXFHUqyDM14-HWCJYfL6tiOkd_zOwcsjv6pX3lYM2tAxe4pU6IRXmDdNiUz&collection=journals> accessed 24 December 2020. 334 Ibid. 335 Ibid. 336 Statistics Canada, Census in Brief: Same-sex couples in Canada in 2016, Census Program, Catalogue no. 98-200-X (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2003) at 2 online https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016007/98-200-x2016007-eng.pdf accessed 24 December 2020. 337 Ibid at 5. 81  significantly outnumbered gay male couples, accounting for four-fifths of the total of same-sex couples in 2016. 338  Considering that some assumptions of an ideal nuclear family remain in the legislation, the legal recognition of LGBTQ+ families in Canada has not been even. While some families, such as lesbian families, have been largely recognized by the legal system, other non-heterosexual families still find several legal challenges, as in the case of  non-normative queer families.339 In this regard, Fiona Kelly has argued that LGBTQ+ families who most resemble the nuclear family model have the greatest chances to be legally protected.340 Conversely, the more divergent from the nuclear family the LGBTQ+ family is, the highest the challenges to access to legal rights and benefits.341 The same reasoning may apply to parental leave regulations. Families composed of two same-sex biological or adoptive parents are closer to the ideal model; thus, they will likely enjoy parental leave benefits like those conferred to heterosexual parents. In contrast, non-normative queer families, who deviate more from the nuclear family norm, will more likely find hurdles to access equal parental leave benefits as heterosexual parents.  In section 3.5, I analyze with more detail the barriers to and the exclusion from access to parental leave benefits experienced by non-normative queer families.  338 Ibid. Following Fiona Kelly’s opinion, one possible explanation of the prevalence of lesbian parents over gay parents is “the fact that lesbians can, more easily than gay men, create the types of families envisaged by the law — nuclear families where the donor is anonymous — ”and therefore the legal system “tend to offer a more favourable framework for lesbians.”  Fiona Kelly, “One of these Families is Not Like the Others: The Legal Response to Non-normative Queer Parenting in Canada” (2013) 51:1 Alberta Law Reviw 1 at 2. 339 Ibid.  340 Ibid at 2-3. 341 Ibid at 3. 82  Regarding same-sex parents, the EI parental leave system appears highly inclusive, granting equal benefits to parents regardless of gender. The scarce literature on the topic has found that the policy design, especially the use of gender-neutral or gender-inclusive language, is a determining factor in the inclusiveness of parental leave benefits for same-sex families.342 In Canada, shared parental leave benefits are granted in gender-neutral terms to “parents”, including different-sex and same-sex parents. The use of gender-neutral vocabulary is also evident in the recently introduced Sharing Parental Leave Benefit that has been made available for the “other parent343 rather than restricted to fathers.344 Hence, same-sex couples who have shared the leave benefit can enjoy the extra weeks granted under this new allowance.345  Although same-sex parents in Canada are entitled to parental leave benefits, the maximum total duration of the accumulated parental leave entitlement differs among heterosexual and female same-sex biological parents, on the one hand, and male same-sex  342 Wong et al have compared the duration of parental leave benefits available for different and same-sex parents in 34 OECD. To carry out this comparison they relied on the legislative language and classified maternity, paternity, and parental leave policies as gender-restrictive, gender-neutral, and gender-inclusive.  Elizabeth Wong et al, “Comparing the Availability of Paid Parental Leave for Same-Sex and Different-sex Couples in 34 OECD Countries” (2020) 49:3 J Soc Policy 525 doi 10.1017/S0047279419000643 accessed 4 January 2021. Also, see Amy Raub et al. "Paid Parental Leave: A Detailed Look at Approaches Across OECD Countries" (WORLD Policy Analysis Center: Los Angeles, 2018) at 19 online https://www.worldpolicycenter.org/sites/default/files/WORLD%20Report%20-%20Parental%20Leave%20OECD%20Country%20Approaches_0.pdf accessed 4 January 2021.                                                                                               343 Canada, Department of Finance, supra note 84. 344 These “take it or lose it benefits” are generally implemented to promote gender equality in heterosexual families by encouraging men to take some weeks off work to take care of their children.  345 Andrea Doucet et al, “Canada Country Note” in Alison Koslowski et al, eds, International Review of Leave Policies and Research 2020 (Leavenetwork, 2020) 145 at 152-153 online http://www.leavenetwork.org/lp_and_r_reports/  accessed 4 January 2021. 83  parents, on the other hand.346 Given that eligibility for maternity leave benefits is restricted to biological mothers, only lesbian and heterosexual couples can qualify for this benefit, whereas male same-sex parents are excluded. Consequently, male same-sex families, unable to accumulate maternity and paternity leave benefits, are granted a shorter maximum number of weeks of leave than their lesbian and heterosexual counterparts.347 Specifically, lesbian and heterosexual couples can accumulate maternity and parental leave benefits and take up to 55 weeks of maternity plus regular parental leave or 84 weeks of maternity plus extended parental leave, when including the sharing bonus of 5 and 8 weeks, respectively (figure 3), or 50 and 76 weeks if the bonus is not considered. In contrast, male same-sex couples can take a maximum of 40 and 69 weeks of regular or extended parental leave benefits, respectively (figure 3).    3.2.3 Section Conclusions: Same-sex Parents and Parental Leave Policies The analysis of the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations reveals a stark contrast between the benefits available for same-sex parents in each country. In Argentina, parental leave provisions remain attached to maternalistic perspectives, use gendered vocabulary, and rely on biological parenthood. Thus, parental leave benefits do not address the lived experienced of same-sex families, resulting in unequal access across gender. In several precedents, tribunals intended to fill the gaps in the labour law and comply with the civil legal  346 Elizabeth Wong et al, supra note 342. 347 Ibid. 84  framework, expressing the need for legal reform. However, only a few bills introduced in the last year address the needs of same-sex parents. In contrast, the Canadian federal legislation grants parental leave benefits to eligible parents regardless of gender, making parental leave benefits accessible for same-sex parents. Nevertheless, there are some differences in the length of leave benefits granted to lesbian and gay same-sex parents due to limitations associated with the extension of maternity benefits to biological mothers.  Unable to access maternity leave benefits, gay same-sex parents are entitled to a shorter leave period than lesbian and heterosexual couples.   3.3 Lone-Parent Families Lone-parent family refers to families composed of one parent and at least one dependent child living with them. It is used as an umbrella term that includes divorced, never-married, and lone-parents by choice. The analysis in this section will focus primarily on lone motherhood with a brief reference to the situation of lone fathers. Lone mothers are prominent among lone-parent families; in Argentina and Canada, more than 80% of lone-parents are women.348 In addition, lone mothers exhibit the highest risk of poverty among family groups,  348 Georgina Binstock, “Hogares y Organización Familiar” in Juan Ignacio Piovani & Agustín Salvia, eds. La Argentina en el Siglo XXI Cómo Somos, Vivimos y Convivimos en una Sociedad Desigual. Encuesta Nacional sobre la Estructura Social,  (Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires: Siglo XXI, 2018) 421 at 433. Statistics Canada, Employment Patterns of Families with Children: Lone-parent Families. Insights on Canadian Society. Catalogue No 75-006-X Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2015001/article/14202/parent-eng.htm accessed 2 February 2021. 85  and deal with distinct stereotypes, bad mother349 and deviant mother.350 For these reasons, this study will focus on lone motherhood.  3.3.1 Lone Motherhood, Vulnerability, and Parental Leave Policies The proportion of lone-parent families has considerably increased over the last decades and is gaining prominence. Statistics show that, in Argentina, the percentage of lone-parent families rose from roughly 12% in 1986 to 19% in 2018.351 Similarly, in Canada, the percentage of lone-parent families almost doubled between 1981 and 2011, increasing from 12.7% to 21.5% over that period.352 An important fact is that lone-parent families are mostly headed by women. Thus, lone mothers represented 85%353 and 81%354 of lone-parent families in Argentina and Canada, respectively, revealing the gender dimension of this family model.    349 Nitya Iyer, "Some mothers are better than others: A re-examination of Maternity Benefits" In Susan B. Boyd, ed., Challenging the Public/Private Divide: Feminism, Law, and Public Policy (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997) 168.  350 Martha A. Fineman, “The Deviant Mother” in The Neutered Mother, The Sexual Family, and Other Twentieth Century Tragedies, first ed. (New Yourk: Routledge, 1995) 101. 351 Gala Díaz Langou et al, “Día de la Madre: las Políticas Públicas Todavía no se Adaptan a los Cambios en las Familias”, CIPPEC, chart 1, online https://www.cippec.org/textual/dia-de-la-madre-las-politicas-publicas-todavia-no-se-adaptan-a-los-cambios-en-las-familias/?fbclid=IwAR1rR8-itbEa9oannvpJBzf2YP74oRkZD8AwJVxcY3pcx5uVbblEI2DjCCs accessed 2 February 2021. 352 According to Statistics Canada, in 1981, 12.7% of children aged 24 and under lived with one parent, while 84.7% lived with two married parents. By 2011, the percentage of children living with one parent accounted for 21.5%, yet, the percentage of two married families dropped and made up 64.9%. Statistics Canada, Lone-parent Families: The New Face of an Old Phenomenon, Canadian Megatrends, Online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015002-eng.htm accessed 2 February 2021. 353 Georgina Binstock, supra note 348. 354 Statistics Canada, supra note 348. 86  Several studies indicate that lone parents, and especially lone mothers, are a vulnerable group who reports significantly higher risks of poverty than two-parent families.355 To illustrate, empirical research reveals that 30.9% of lone mothers in Argentina were indigent and 17.8% lived in poverty by 2010.356 Likewise, in 2014, lone mothers living in low-income households in Canada made up 26%, whereas couples with children accounted for 5.1%.357 One possible explanation is the fact that lone mothers must deal alone with productive and reproductive work.358 This double burden may trap them in a circle of vulnerability.    355 Rense Nieuwenhuis & Laurie C Maldonado, The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies to Improve Wellbeing.(Bristol: Policy Press, 2018) online https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt2204rvq accesed 2 February 2021. OECD, “Sole Parents, Public Policy, Employment and Poverty” (2011) 213, online: <http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health/doing-better-for-families/sole-parents-public-policy-employment-and-poverty_9789264098732-8-en> accessed 5 January 2021. Barbara Harris & Annemarie Gockel Mary Russell, “Canadian Lone Mothers Describe Parenting Needs : European Solutions Explored.” (2008) 25:2 Can Soc Work Rev 169, online: < https://www.jstor.org/stable/41669892 accessed 5 January 2021. Joya Misra, Stephanie Moller & Michelle J Budig, “Work-family Policies and Poverty for Partnered and Single Women in Europe and North America” (2007) 21:6 Gend Soc 804. Christine Chambaz, “Lone‐parent Families in Europe: A Variety of Economic and Social Circumstances” (2002), 35:6, Soc Policy Adm 658 https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9515.00259 accessed 5 January 2021. 356 Carina Lupica, "Madres solas en la Argentina. Dilemas y Recursos para hacer frente al Trabajo Remunerado y al Cuidado de los Hijos" (2012) 31:1 Rev del Hosp Matern Infant Ramón Sardá 13 at 14.  357 Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Towards a Poverty Reduction Strategy – A Backgrounder on Poverty in Canada, (2016) Online: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/poverty-reduction/backgrounder.html#h2.4-h3.1-h4.4 accessed 5 January 2021. 358 Carina Lupica, supra note 356 at 16. 87  The lack of flexibility to care for their children359 makes lone mothers more likely to be employed part-time and in precarious jobs.360 For instance, in Argentina, only 4 out of 10 lone-mothers secured formal employment by 2010,361 while in Canada, 21.7% of lone mothers worked part-time compared to 6.3% of lone fathers by 2014.362 Non-standard jobs363 pay lower wages, which adversely affects lone mothers' financial independence. Consequently, lone  359 In contrast to two-parent-families, lone-parents are unable to share childcare with a partner. Rense Nieuwenhuis & Laurie Maldonado, “Prepare versus Repair? Combining Parental Leave and Family Allowances for Social Investment Against Single-Parent Poverty” (2016) 1 Belgisch Tijdschr voor Soc Zekerh 115 at 115-116. Also, see  Anna Amilon, “The Temporary Leave Dilemma: Lone and Partnered Mothers in Sweden” (2010) 16:4 Fem Econ 33 at 33.  360 Leslie J Nichols, “Motherhood and Unemployment: Intersectional Experiences from Canada.” (2016) 76 Can Rev Soc Policy/Revue Can Polit Soc 1, online: https://crsp.journals.yorku.ca/index.php/crsp/article/view/40238 accessed 4 February 2021.  Also, statistics show that lone parents are less likely to work full-time and full year than coupled parents. Statistics Canada, Results from the 2016 Census: Work activity of families with children in Canada, by André Bernard, Insights on Canadian Society, Catalogue no. 75-006-X (Otawa: May 15, 2018) online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2018001/article/54969-eng.htm accessed 4 February 2021. 361 Carina Lupica, supra note 356 at 16.  362 Statistics Canada, supra note 352.  363 ILO defines non-standard forms of employment as  “an umbrella term for different employment arrangements that deviate from standard employment. They include temporary employment; part-time and on-call work; temporary agency work and other multiparty employment relationships; as well as disguised employment and dependent self-employment.”  ILO, Non-standard Forms of Employment, online https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/non-standard-employment/lang--en/index.htm accessed 4 February 2021 88  mothers364 are usually unable to afford to delegate care work to daycare,365 which hinders their chances to remain in the workforce.366 Some scholars367 agree that parental leave policies that address the special needs of lone parents, along with other work-family policies,368 may be effective tools to reduce lone mothers' poverty risks. The availability of parental leave benefits may increase lone-mothers' chances to remain in the workforce and reduce the negative impacts on employment. However, parental leave policies that overlook the particularities of lone-mother families may reinforce their vulnerabilities.369  3.3.2 Lone-Parent Families in Argentina In Argentina, parental leave legislation, embracing a maternalistic perspective, grants protection to working mothers regardless of whether they are lone or partnered. The LCL allows all eligible female employees to take 90 days of paid maternity leave. Despite this  364 In 2018, the average income after taxes was $101,600 for two-parent families with children compared to $52,000 for lone-parent families. Statistics Canada, Canadian Income Survey, 2018. Table 1: Income Statistics by Selected Family Type, 2017 and 2018, The Daily, Catalogue no. 11-001-X (February 24, 2020). Online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200224/dq200224a-eng.htm accessed 4 February 2021. 365 “For lone mothers, poverty results in part from their inability to seek employment because of a lack of daycare that is accessible, affordable, and of reasonable quality.” Barbara Harris et al., supra note 355 at 172.  366 Not surprisingly, statistics show that “one third of single mothers with young children had no reported work activity in 2015.” Statistics Canada, supra note 352.  367 Rense Nieuwenhuis & Laurie Maldonado, supra note 355.  368 Some examples of work-family policies are childcare support, family allowances, and affordable and available daycare.   369 Barbara Harris et al., supra note 355 at 171. 89  apparent equality, lone mothers face significant barriers to access maternity leave. The LCL parental leave regulations are attached to formal employment, excluding informal workers and unemployed parents.370 Considering that lone mothers exhibit higher rates of unemployment371 and informal employment than their partnered counterparts, they will more likely be excluded from the labour law benefits. This pattern of exclusion reinforces social inequality among lone mothers.372  Even though the percentage of lone-father families373 is significantly lower compared to lone-mothers, this family model struggles to combine work and childcare. The LCL parental leave system assumes that men are the providers of the family's economy and discourages them to participate in childcare.374 Thus, the law grants fathers an insignificant 2-day paternity leave, which is insufficient to meet the needs of lone-father families. Neglected by the legal system, these parents depend on the generosity of their employers to take time off work.375   370 Eleonor Faur, “A Widening Gap? The Political and Social Organization of Childcare in Argentina” (2012) 42:4 Seen, Hear Counted Rethink Care a Dev Context 93 at 980-981. 371 According to data collected from the 2010 census, 9% of lone mothers were unemployed compared to 4% of coupled mothers. Daniela Alicia Gorosito, “Mujeres Madres Solas de Argentina y Córdoba. Análisis Comparativo de los Censos 2001 y 2010”, working paper, (2018), Chart 12.b, at 15. 372 Higher income lone mothers are more likely to secure better jobs and to afford paying for childcare private services.  Carina Lupica, supra note 356. 373 To the best of my knowledge, there is not extensive research on the experiences of lone fathers with the parental leave system. For further detail on the current studies conducted on lone-father families see Roberta L Coles, “Single-Father Families: A Review of the Literature” (2015) 7:2 J Fam Theory Rev 144. Online <https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/jftr.12069> accessed 20 January 2021. 374 Eleonor Faur, supra note 170 at 135. 375 Gisele Sousa Dias, “Tuvo una Hija, Logró Anotarla como Padre Soltero y en el Trabajo le Dieron la Misma Licencia que a una Madre”, Infobae (September 21, 2019) online at https://www.infobae.com/historias/2019/09/21/tuvo-una-hija-logro-anotarla-como-padre-soltero-y-en-el-trabajo-le-dieron-la-misma-licencia-que-a-una-madre/ accessed 1 February 2021. 90  3.3.3 Lone-Mother Families in Canada In Canada, lone mothers encounter further barriers than partnered mothers when seeking access to parental leave benefits. Particularly, the restrictive eligibility criteria and the provision of a long leave with a low compensation constrain the availability of parental leave benefits for single-mother families. The first barrier that Canadian parents encounter is the restrictive eligibility criteria. The requirement of 600 insurable hours accumulated during the previous year376, limits the access for non-standards workers.377 Considering that lone mothers are overrepresented in non-standard jobs, they are especially disadvantaged by the prohibitive eligibility criteria.378 Hence, lone mothers are more likely to be excluded from maternity and parental leaves than partnered mothers.379  Even when meeting the eligibility requirements, lone mothers face further barriers. The Canadian parental leave regulations under the EI Act provide a generous length of leave that is expected to be shared between two parents. This expectation results in less favorable conditions for lone parents. First, by being unable to split the leave with a partner, lone parents must choose between taking the full period of leave or a reduced one. Both options have detrimental effects. Long leaves may negatively affect lone parents’ employment and increase the risks of poverty.380 Conversely, shorter leaves may enhance employment opportunities but  376 Canada, supra note 77. 600 hours per year is equivalent to roughly 12 hours per week. 377 Lindsey McKay et al. supra note 69 at 553.  378 Gillian Calder, supra note 120 at 360-361.  379 Nitya Iyer, supra note 349. 380 Wim Van Lancker, “Does the Use of Reconciliation Policies Enable Single Mothers to Work? A Comparative Examination of European Countries” in Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C. Maldonado, 91  reduce time for child-parent attachment. In addition, lone parents are excluded from the EI Parental Sharing Benefit,381 which affects the total length of leave that they can take (figure 1). As Doucet et al. have noticed, access to this extra benefit is restricted to two-parent families, given that “the father or second parent can only qualify for the benefit if both parents qualify for and take leave benefits”.382 Consequently, even when lone parents decide to take the full leave, they are allowed a shorter period than two-parent families.383  Moreover, the Canadian parental leave system is especially costly to lone mothers.384 As Amilon points out, lone mothers are unable to share the costs of taking time off work with a partner. They must bear alone with the direct 385 and indirect 386 costs of taking parental leave.387 Hence, the low rate of income replacement hinders lone mothers' chances to take parental leave and conciliate reproductive and productive work, disproportionally affecting lone-mothers employed in lower-earning and non-standard jobs who generally do not have access to employer-provided top-up benefits. Statistics and quantitative research confirm that the use of parental leave benefits is significantly lower among lone parents than among coupled  eds., The Triple Bind of Single-Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies (Bristol: Policy Press, 2018) 239. And Joya Misra et al., supra note 355.  381 Andrea Doucet, Sophie Mathieu & Lindsey McKay, “Reconceptualizing Parental Leave Benefi ts in COVID-19 Canada: From Employment Policy to Care and Social Protection Policy” (2020) 46:S3 Can Public Policy S 272, online: <https://utpjournals.press/doi/10.3138/cpp.2020-091> accessed 3 February 2021. 382 Ibid. 383 Judy Jou et al, supra note 207 at 193.  384 Anna Amilon, supra note 359. 385 Direct costs are represented by the reduction of earnings. Ibid at 36. 386 The indirect or signaling costs are “the potential punitive ramifications” in the labour market. Ibid at 36 -37. 387 Ibid at 36. 92  parents388 and that the family’s income is a factor that influences that decision.389 Thus, lower-income parents show lower take-up rates.390 The burdens to access parental leave benefits do not affect all lone mothers to the same extent. The literature agrees that the most vulnerable groups, those who most need support, are likely to be excluded.391 When lone mothers have low education levels,392 are Indigenous, racialized, have disabilities, or are immigrants,393 the probabilities to be excluded from maternity and parental leave benefits increase considerably.394 Consequently, unable to combine work and care, these women and their children experience a higher risk of poverty, reinforcing social inequalities across families.  Relatedly, Fiona Kelly has shown that single mothers by choice (SMC), a non-traditional family model that is growing in Canada, experience several legal challenges and have had  388 By 2013, 72.3% and 77.6% of married and common-law couples, respectively, used EI parental leave benefits. In contrast, lone parents made up only 44.5%. Statistics Canada, Estimating Parental Leave in Canada Using Administrative Data, Analytical Studies: Methods and References, by Feng Hou, Rachel Margolis, and Michael Haan, Catalogue No. 11-633-X (August 2017) Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-633-x/11-633-x2017009-eng.htm accessed 4 February 2021. 389 Rachel Margolis et al, “Use of Parental Benefits by Family Income in Canada: Two Policy Changes” (2018) 81:2 J Marriage Fam 450.  390 Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69.  391 Gillian Calder, supra note 120. Nitya Iyer, supra note 349. 392 Juho Härkönen, “Single-Mother Poverty: How Much Do Educational Differences in Single Motherhood Matter?” in Rense Nieuwenhuis and Laurie C Maldonado, eds., The Triple Bind of Single‑Parent Families: Resources, Employment and Policies, (Bristol: Policy Press, 2018) 31.  393 Canadian Women’s Foundation. Fact Sheet: Facts About Women and Poverty. Online: https://canadianwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Fact-Sheet-WOMEN-POVERTY-September-2018.pdf accessed 4 February 2021. 394 Nitya Iyer, supra note 349. 93  “little voice at the law reform table.”395 Although Kelly does not refer to parental leave regulations, it is possible to infer that, since SMC challenges the two-parents assumption they might find higher barriers to access the same parental leave benefits compared with nuclear families. As lone parents, SMC faces the barriers described above for lone parents in general, such as the exclusion from the extra weeks of leave granted under the Parental Sharing Benefit to two-parent families. On top of that, the rhetoric of choice may be even more pervasive for these lone mothers. As Gillian Calder has noted, the rhetoric of choice and the assumption of unpaid care work as a matter of individual responsibility have influenced the debates regarding parental leave benefits in Canada and supported the implementation of restrictive eligibility requirements, among other outcomes.396 Given that SMC have chosen to have and raise their children alone, the rhetoric of choice will likely be deployed to detriment of these mothers preventing potential legal reforms of the parental leave regulations aimed at addressing the needs of these families. Also, the rhetoric of choice may negatively affect the decisions on possible future discrimination complaints by SMC that challenge the EI Act parental leave regulations.   395 Fiona Kelly, supra note 141 at 102.   396 Gillian Calder, “The Personal is Economic: Unearthing the Rhetoric of Choice in the Canadian Maternity and Parental Leave Benefit Debates” in Sharon Cowan & Rosemary Hunter eds. Choice and Consent: Feminist Engagements with Law and Subjectivity, 1ST ed (London: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007) 125 online https://doi-org.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/10.4324/9780203937389 accessed 4 April 2021. 94  3.3.4 Section Conclusions: Lone Parents and Parental Leave Policies Lone mothers are one of the most vulnerable family groups. The difficulties of balancing paid work and unpaid care work put these mothers and their children at risk of poverty. Parental leave policies that are attentive to their needs may be effective to mitigate lone mothers’ difficulties. However, Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws pose significant barriers that result in the exclusion of the most vulnerable lone mothers, reinforcing gender and social inequalities. To lessen women’s poverty risks and secure equal opportunities to lone mothers, both countries should introduce parental leave benefits that meet the particular needs and challenges of this family model.   3.4 Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Multi-parents  The development of assisted reproductive technologies, socio-cultural shifts, and legal changes have made it possible that a child may have more than two parents.397 Multi-parent families are a social reality that challenges one of the bases of the ideal nuclear family, the assumption of a two-parent family unit. This family model is complex and can take different structures.398 Non-normative queer families399 illustrates this complexity. Non-normative  397Abraham Haim, “A Family Is What You Make It? Legal Recognition and Regulation of Multiple Parents” (2017) 25:4 Am Univ J Gend Soc Policy Law 2 at 416. 398 Haim has identified five multiparent structures: families emerged from assisted reproductive techniques, co-parenting, stepfamilies, open adoptions, and extended kinship care. Ibid. 399 Fiona Kelly, supra note 338. 95  queer families are families composed of three or more parents, yet, as Fiona Kelly has pointed out, these families may take various configurations.400  The heterogeneity that characterizes multi-parent families may hinder their legal regulation.  Notwithstanding, these families have slowly begun to be legally recognized.401 The difference between regulation and recognition of multi-parent families has been clearly stated by Abraham Haim. According to him, “[r]ecognizing multiparents requires the state to have a more passive role than regulating multiparents, as recognition reflects the individuals' choices while regulation requires the state to act as an administrator that is constructing the family structure.”402   400 Fiona Kelly mentioned three configurations of non-normative queer families including  “(1) where three or more individuals agree to co-parent a child across two households; (2) where it is agreed that a gay man (and his partner) are parents and have regular contact, but the child lives with the lesbian woman or couple; or (3) where a gay couple raises a child conceived via surrogacy, but agree that the birth.”  Ibid at 4. 401 Marisa Herrera, supra note 156. Abraham Haim, supra note 377. Fiona Kelly, “Multiple-parent families under British Columbia’s new Family Law Act: a challenge to the supremacy of the nuclear family or a method by which to preserve biological ties and opposite-sex parenting?” (2014) 47:2 UBC Law Rev 565. Lois Harder, After the Nuclear Age? Some Contemporary Developments in Families and Family Law in Canada (Ottawa: Vanier Institute of the Family, 2011) online https://vanierinstitute.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CFT_2011-10-00_EN.pdf accessed 9 February 2021. Alison Harvison Young, “Reconceiving the Family: Challenging the Paradigm of the Exclusive Family” (1997) 6 Am Univ J Gend Law 505. 402 Ibid at 428. 96  In the case of Argentina, the state has avoided recognizing multiparent families403 and the civil and commercial code limits the number of parents to a maximum of two.404 However, the same civil law includes assisted reproductive technologies as a type of filiation and recognizes the value of the parents’ procreational will, opening the door to the rise and recognition of multi-parent families. Consequently, in several cases, civil registers405 and tribunals have conferred parental status to three parents.406 In Canada, multiparent families have achieved some legal recognition. In the precedent A.A. v B.B, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that a child may have three parents.407 Also, Canadian multi-parent families have been recognized by the law. In 2013 the province of British Columbia passed the British  403 Marisa Herrera, “Conflictos Contemporáneos en Técnicas de Reproducción Asistida: La Experiencia en el Derecho Argentino” (2018) 27:2 Rev Antropol Soc 353 at 374. 404 Código Civil y Comercial de la Nación, supra note 160 at Libro Segundo: Relaciones Familiares, Titulo V: Filiación, articulo 558 (Civil and Commercial Code, Second Book: Familial Relationships, Title V: Filiation, article 558.)  405 In Litardo’s et al opinion, denying the registration of the parental status to multiparent families and imposing them the extra burden of going through litigation to get the same recognition as other families, will constitute discrimination. Emiliano Litardo et al, “Multiple Filiacion en Argentina: Ampliando los Limites del Parentesco.” 27 Revista Boliviana de Derecho 372 at 376 online https://www.revista-rbd.com/descargas/RBD%20Num.%2027%20Completo.pdf accessed 21 January 2021. 406 Marisa Herrera, supra note 156. 407 In this precedent, the biological mother, her couple, and the biological father of the child claimed the concession of parental status to the biological mother's couple. That means that the child would have two mothers and one father. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed the application. The decision was appealed before the Ontario Court of Appeal who, recognizing the complexity of the familial institution, used its parens patriae jurisdiction and conferred parental status to the third parent. A.A. v B.B., 2007 ONCA 2 (CanLII), online <http://canlii.ca/t/1q6jh> accessed 23 March 2020. 97  Columbia Family Law Act408 which enables children conceived through assisted reproduction techniques to have more than two parents.409  Despite this significant progress in the recognition of multi-parent families, Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws overlook this complex family model and limit maternity and parental leaves to lone and two-parent families. The only exception in which the parental leave system has recognized multiparent families is surrogacy. In Canada, where altruistic surrogacy is allowed,410 the EI Act protects surrogate mothers' recovery needs and grants them maternity leave benefits (figure 3) equal to other parents who give birth.411 Unlike Canada, Argentina has neither banned nor allowed surrogacy. Despite this lack of regulation, the creation of surrogacy agreements has recently increased among Argentine families, simultaneously with the claims for its legal recognition. In several recent cases, Argentine tribunals have accepted the legality of surrogacy and, relying on the parents’ procreational will, have awarded parental  408 Family Law Act, [SBC 2011] section 30. Online: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/11025_03#section30 accessed 20 January 2021. 409 Fiona Kelly has pointed out several limitations contained in the BC Family Law Act regarding the recognition and regulation of multiparent families. Fiona Kelly, supra note 338.  410 Altruistic surrogacy, in contrast to commercial surrogacy, does not involve economic compensation. In Canada, the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHR Act) prohibits and criminalizes paying a surrogate mother. Hence, only altruistic surrogacy is allowed. Canada, Health Canada, Prohibitions related to Surrogacy, online https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/biologics-radiopharmaceuticals-genetic-therapies/legislation-guidelines/assisted-human-reproduction/prohibitions-related-surrogacy.html  accessed 20 January 2021.  411 I have opted for using gender-neutral terms such as “parents who give birth” and “pregnant parents” aiming to address the lived experiences of transexual and bisexual pregnancy and parenthood. For a better understanding of the obstacles that the use of gendered language related to pregnancy and reproduction poses on transexual and bisexual persons, see, Amber Leventry, “Trans and Nonbinary People Can Be Pregnant Too”, Parents (October 9, 2019) online https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/pregnancy-health/trans-and-nonbinary-people-can-be-pregnant-too/ last accessed 20 January 2021. 98  status to the claimants.412 In the novel case H.M y otro s/ Medidas Precautorias the family’s tribunal of Lomas de Zamora, apart from confirming the legality of surrogacy, ordered to grant maternity leave benefits to the non-gestating mother based on the best interest of the child.413  The growing trend in the regulation and use of assisted reproductive technologies has produced the rise of complex family models, such as multi-parent and queer non-normative families,414 that challenge the traditional nuclear family. These transformations in the familial institution have not been yet reflected in Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws. Both countries’ laws remain attached to a two-parent family and do not provide proper solutions for multi-parent families. In Argentina, three bills, introduced over the period 2019-2020, propose updating the Labour Contracts Law by providing special protections to employees who are undergoing assisted reproductive treatments, but none of them addresses the particular case of multi-parent families. Consequently, unless the laws introduce parental leave benefits that meet the complexity of modern families, multi-parents along with other non-traditional families will depend on the tribunals’ decisions to access these benefits.     412 Between 2012 and 2016 were identified 14 precedents in which the claimants demanded the recognition of a family that emerged from a surrogacy arrangement. All of these claims were granted. Agustina Pérez, “Gestación por Sustitución y Licencias por Maternidad/Paternidad: La Agenda de Cuidado a la Luz de la Jurisprudencia Española y la Perspectiva Argentina” (2017) 7:1 Oñati socio-legal Ser 205 at 214 online https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2779614 accessed 10 February 2021. 413 Herrera, Mónica y otro/a s/Medidas Precautorias, Lomas de Zamora, Buenos Aires, 30 December 2015, Juzgado de Familia de Lomas de Zamora N° 7. 414 Fiona Kelly, supra note 338. 99  3.5 Chapter Conclusions Family forms are becoming more diverse and complex. Legal, social, and cultural changes have reshaped the familial institution. Despite this diversity, Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations still rely, in various ways, on assumptions of an ideal nuclear family and overlook the needs of non-traditional families. Consequently, non-traditional families encounter significant barriers to access parental leave benefits in both countries. This study revealed that the Argentine labour law remains attached to a nuclear family model. Thus, it excludes adoptive, same-sex parents, and multi-parent families from maternity and paternity leaves. To fill the gap in the laws, Argentine courts and tribunals have recognized these families' needs and granted parental leave benefits to them. Although not being directly excluded from maternity leave, lone mothers also encounter significant barriers when trying to conciliate productive and reproductive work. The labour law, embedded within a maternalistic perspective, does not distinguish between lone and partnered mothers. However, the limitations that lone mothers face to secure formal employment hinder their access to maternity leave benefits.  In Canada, the EI parental leave system grants less generous benefits to adoptive parents and lone mothers than to nuclear families. Excluded from maternity leave, adoptive parents are unable to access paid leave before the day of the child's placement, leaving them unprotected while going through the adoption process. In the case of lone mothers, the impossibility of sharing the costs of the leave with a partner hinders their access to parental leave benefits. Moreover, attached to a two-parent assumption, the EI parental leave 100  regulations exclude multiparent families from the benefits. Unlike other non-traditional families, same-sex parents are granted equal benefits as different-sex parents.  All in all, Argentine and Canadian parental leave systems, embedded within a traditional nuclear family ideal, fail in addressing the complexity of the familial institution. Both countries’ laws, tailored to fit a nuclear family model, neglect non-traditional families' needs. Consequently, they reinforce inequality among different family models. In Argentine and Canadian laws, access to and the extent of parental leave benefits vary among families, resulting in the exclusion of the most vulnerable families.   101  Chapter 4: Non-standard Employment and Parental Leave Benefits  The “standard employment” relationship, characterized as full-time, dependent, stable, and socially protected employment, was for a long time the dominant model in Western countries’ labour markets.415 Accordingly, legal systems have constructed the standard employee as the ideal model and intended to protect it. However, over the last decades, diverse non-standard employment and other work relationships have proliferated. Part-time, temporary, agency, and self-employed workers, among others, increasingly participate in the labour markets along with the ideal full-time standard worker. Despite this transformation of the labour market, some scholars416 have argued that the legal systems remain reluctant to address the multiplicity of employment relationships, leaving non-standard workers unprotected.  Against this background, this chapter calls into question the extent to which Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws have recognized and extended parental leave benefits to workers engaged in non-standard employment relationships.  The present chapter aims to carry out a detailed examination of the barriers that non-standard workers experience when trying to access to parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada. Particularly, I focus on the experiences of part-time workers, self-employed  415 Katherine VW Stone & Harry Arthurs, “The Transformation of Employment Regimes: A Worldwide Challenge” in Katherine VW Stone & Harry Arthurs, eds, Rethinking Workplace Regulation: Beyond the Standard Contract of Employment (New York: Russell Sage Foundation Stone, 2013) 1. 416 Judy Fudge & Leah F Vosko, “Gender, Segmentation and the Standard Employment in Canada” (2001) 22:2 Econ Ind Democr 271, online: <https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0143831X01222005> accessed 16 June 2020. 102  individuals, temporary workers, and informal workers.417 Also, with a feminist and intersectional perspective, I discuss the gender and social implications of the barriers that exclude non-standard workers from parental leave rights. The chapter is divided into six sections. Section one discusses the concepts of standard (SER) and non-standard employment relationships (NSER). Sections two to five investigate the extent to which the Argentine and Canadian labour laws provide inclusive access to parental leave benefits for some non-standard workers. Specifically, I discuss the obstacles that part-time, self-employed, temporary, and informal workers encounter to access parental leave rights in Argentina and Canada. I introduce a conceptualization of each of these four types of employment and an overview of its demographic composition. Finally, in section six, I summarize the findings. This chapter concludes that part-time, self-employed, temporary, and informal workers confront substantial barriers when seeking access to parental leave rights in Argentina and Canada, which reinforces gender and social inequalities.   4.1 From Standard to Non-Standard Employment Relationships The Standard Employment Relationship (SER) is defined by Gerhard Bosch as a “stable, socially protected, dependent, full-time job . . . the basic conditions of which (working time, pay, social transfers) are regulated to a minimum level by collective agreement or by labour  417 Even though informal employment is not a type of NSER, the large overlap between non-standard and informal employment justifies its consideration in the present chapter. 103  and/or social security law”.418 After the World War II, the SER was established as the normative419 model of employment in Western countries. Labour laws and policies assumed the full-time, stable, dependent, and socially protected worker as the paradigm.420  Nevertheless, since the mid-1970s, a new context of financial capitalism, globalization, and deregulation421 has resulted in the decline of the SER and the proliferation of non-standard employment relationships, NSER.422 Non-standard employment relationships (NSER) encompass employment arrangements that do not conform to the SER because they “lack one of the core features”423 or “lack the full-time or permanent character.”424 In other words, non-standard employment relationship is an umbrella term that includes several employment arrangements such as dependent self-employment, agency, temporary work, and part-time work, among others.  418 Gerahrd Bosch, 1989 at 165. Cited in Gerhard Bosch, “Towards a New Standard Employment Relationship in Western Europe” (2004) 42:4 Br J Ind Relations 617, at 619. 419 “The standard employment relationship is a normative model akin to an ideal type, rather than an empirical reality.” Judy Fudge, “The Future of the Standard Employment Relationship: Labour Law, New Institutional Economics and Old Power Resource Theory” (2017) 59:3 J Ind Relations 374 at 377, online: <https://doi.org/10.1177/0022185617693877>  accessed 16 June 2020. 420 Katherine VW Stone & Harry Arthurs, supra note 415.  421 Judy Fudge, supra note 419 at 377 - 378. 422 Several terms have been coined to refer to these employment relationships that are replacing the SER. For instance, these employment arrangements have been called non-standard, atypical, precarious, contingent. In Canada the most used terms are non-standard and contingent. Fudge has pointed out some differences in the use of these terms. See Judy Fudge, “Beyond Vulnerable Workers: Towards a New Standard Employment Relationship” (2005) 12 CLELJ 151 at 155-160.  423 Paul Schoukens & Alberto Barrio, “The Changing Concept of Work: When does Typical Work become Atypical?” (2017) 8:4 ELLJ 306 at 315, online: <https://doi.org/10.1177/2031952517743871> accessed 16 June 2020. 424 Ibid. The core features that define SER are personal subordination, bilateral relationship, open-ended relationship, full-time, and economic dependency. Ibid. 104  This proliferation of employment arrangements has not been reflected to the same extent in labour laws and policies, resulting in a lack of fit between labour legislation and employment relationships.425 This mismatch reinforces inequalities among workers according to their position in the labour market and excludes many workers from labour and social protections,426 among which are parental leave rights. In general, laws and policies remain fixed to a standard employment paradigm. Thus, “the closer a worker’s employment relationship conforms to the SER, the more likely is that the worker will enjoy the benefits of statutory minimum employment such as (…) maternity and parental leave.”427   4.1.1 The Gender Dimension of Standard and Non-Standard Employment Relationships Previous literature has examined the intersection of gender and standard and non-standard employment relationships.428 Regarding the SER, Leah Vosko noted that this  425 Judy Fudge & Leah Vosko, supra note 416 at 299. 426 Ibid. 427 Ibid at 299.  428 Leah Vosko has extensively studied the intersection of gender and employment relationships in the Canadian and international context. Sylvia Fuller & Leah F Vosko, “Temporary Employment and Social Inequality in Canada: Exploring Intersections of Gender, Race and Immigration Status” (2008) 88:1 Soc Indic Res 31, online: < https://www.jstor.org/stable/27734685 > accessed 11 February 2021.Fudge & Vosko, supra note 416. Leah F. Vosko, “Gender differentiation and the Standard/Non-standard employment distinction: A genealogy of policy interventions in Canada” In Danielle Juteau Ed., Social Differentiation: Patterns and Processes, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016) 25 https://doi.org/10.3138/9781442680029-005 accessed 11 February 2021. Leah F. Vosko, ed., Managing the Margins: Gender, Citizenship, and the International Regulation of Precarious Employment. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010). Marica has studied this issue in the European context, Mihaela Emilia Marica, “Non-standard Employment Relationship and the Gender Dimension” 105  employment model emerged during a historical period when female employment was unusual.429 Therefore, the SER emerged embedded with assumptions of a male breadwinner/female caregiver gender contract, gender division of labour that is similarly entrenched by the nuclear family model.430  In contrast, the proliferation of the NSER coincided with an upward trend in female employment.431 In Argentina and Canada, women's participation in the workforce has significantly increased since the 1960s, narrowing the gender labour participation gap.432 Despite growing gender equality in the labour participation rate,433 unpaid care work has not been equitably distributed to the same extent. Over the last decades, the participation of men in reproductive work has remained at a low level, while women still take up most unpaid care  (2015) 5:10 Trib Juridică 168 online https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=419381 accessed 4 February 2021.   429 Judy Fudge & Leah Vosko, supra note 416. 430 Ibid. Leah Vosko, supra note 428. 431 Ibid. Mihaela Emilia Marica, supra note 428. 432 According to ILO, “[w]omen perform 76.2 per cent of the total amount of unpaid care work, 3.2 times more time than men.” ILO, Care work and Care Jobs for the Future of Decent Work (2018) online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_633135.pdf accessed 11 February 2021. 433 In Argentina, the percentage of female employment rose from 22% to 27% between the 1960s and the 1980s. Catalina Wainerman, “Familia, Trabajo y Relaciones de Genero” (2013) 53:9 J Chem Inf Model 1689 at 6. In the following decades, especially during the 1990s and 2000s, this trend was intensified while male employment dropped. During that period, female participation in the workforce rose from 43,2% in 1990 to 50,8% in 2002, while male participation fell from 81.3% to 78.3% in the same period. Carina Lupica, Trabajo Decente y Corresponsabilidad de los Cuidados en Argentina (Santiago de Chile: ILO, 2010) online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---ilo-buenos_aires/documents/publication/wcms_bai_pub_131.pdf accessed 4 February 2021. In Canada, the female labour force participation rate increased from about 30% to 82% between 1960 and 2014. Statistics Canada, The Surge of Women in the Workforce, The Daily, Canadian Megatrends, Catalogue no. 11-630-X (Ministry of Industry, 2015). Online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-630-x/11-630-x2015009-eng.htm accessed 4 February 2021. 106  work. Therefore, women perform a double role: they simultaneously do productive and reproductive work. Due to this double role, women are more likely than men to be employed in some forms of NSER, especially in part-time work.434 In the next sections, I will further analyze the gender dimensions of each of the analyzed types of NSER.  4.2 Part-time Employment 4.2.1 Conceptualization There is no single agreed definition of part-time work, but rather it varies across jurisdictions and for legal and statistical purposes. At the international level, ILO Part-Time Work Convention No. 175435 provides a broad definition, without stating a precise number or percentage of hours. According to article 1(a) of the referred international standard, “the term part-time worker means an employed person whose normal hours of work are less than those of comparable full-time workers”.436 Besides this international definition, countries may provide a definition for part-time employment drawing on different criteria. For some countries, part-time workers are those who work fewer hours than the normal or statutory time;  434 ILO, Women in Non-standard Employment (ILO,2017) online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---protrav/---travail/documents/publication/wcms_556160.pdf accessed 4 February 2021. 435 Until date, Argentina and Canada have not ratified ILO Convention No.175. 436 Part-Time Work Convention, No. 175, ILO (1994) article 1(a) online https://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB:12100:0::NO::P12100_ILO_CODE:C175 accessed 25 March 2021. 107  while others establish a “maximum [or minimum] number of working hours”;437 finally, some countries conceptualize part-time work based on “a percentage of full-time hours of work”.438  Moreover, part-time work may be voluntary and involuntary depending on “whether employees freely choose such work, rather than being effectively compelled to take it up for lack of a viable alternative.”439 Linked to involuntary part-time work is time-related underemployment, which refers to those workers who would prefer to work full time but cannot secure standard employment.440 Part-time and full-time workers may also be distinguished according to pay. While most full-time workers are salaried employees, the earnings of most part-time workers are rated according to an hourly-wage basis. Hourly-waged workers usually are paid lower and experience greater job instability than their salaried counterparts. The concurrence of multiple concepts of part-time work may be problematic. The misalignment between legal and statistical definitions may create grey areas and hinder the examination of part-time employment. 441  For instance, some individuals who are classified as part-time workers by law may not be counted as such in statistical reports, and vice versa.442  437 ILO, Non-standard Employment around the World: Understanding Challenges, Shaping Prospects at 28 online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_534326.pdf accessed 12 February 2021.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            438 Ibid. 439 Jon C Messenger & Nikhil Ray, “The ‘Deconstruction’ of Part­ Time Work” in Janine Berg, ed, Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015) 184 at 186. 440 Ibid at 188. 441 International Labour Organization (ILO), supra note 437 at 27.  442 Ibid. 108  Moreover, comparing different jurisdictions appears still more intricate.443 On top of the mismatch between legal and statistical concepts, the definitions of part-time work may vary across jurisdictions. Different countries may draw on diverse criteria to define part-time employment.444 Thus, it is difficult to find a comparator to accurately compare the incidence of part-time employment across different jurisdictions.445  Against this background, it is not surprising that Argentina and Canada define part-time employment differently. In Argentina, the LCL defines part-time work based on a maximum proportion of full-time hours. According to the Argentine labour legislation, part-time workers are those who work up to two-thirds of the normally scheduled hours for full-time work.446 Besides the legal definition, for statistical purposes, the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses of Argentina (INDEC), defines time-related underemployment based on a maximum number of working hours. Statistically, time-related underemployment comprises workers who work less than 35 hours per week but would prefer to work more hours.447  In contrast, in  443 Elena Bardasi & Janet C Gornick, “Working for less? Women’s part-time wage penalties across countries” (2008) 14:1 Fem Econ 37 at 50. 444 ILO, supra note 437 at 27-28.  445 For example, if part-time workers are defined as those who work less than 30 hours per week in country A, and less than 35 hours per week in country B, it will be difficult to accurately compare the share of female part-time workers in these jurisdictions. Many workers will be considered part-time employees in country A but not in country B. 446 LCL, supra note 14 at articulo 92 ter, Artículo sustituido por art. 1º de la Ley Nº 26.474 B.O. 23/01/2009. [ article 92 ter, substituted by Law No. 26.474, article 1].   447 “Población subocupada: se refiere a la subocupación por insuficiencia de horas, visible u horaria, y comprende a los ocupados que trabajan menos de 35 horas semanales por causas involuntarias y están dispuestos a trabajar más horas.” Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC), “Mercado de trabajo. Tasas e indicadores socioeconómicos (EPH).” (2020) 4 28, at 26, online: http://www.iunma.edu.ar/doc/MB/lic_historia_mat_bibliografico/Fundamentos%20de%20Econom%C3%ADa%20Pol%C3%ADtica/mercado_trabajo_eph_4trim19EDC756AEAE.pdf accessed 8 February 2021. 109  Canada, there is no legal definition of this type of non-standard employment relationship. The EI Act does not conceptualize part-time work. However, for statistical purposes, Statistics Canada considers that part-time workers are those who work less than 30 hours per week. 448  4.2.2 Who are Part-time Workers? Worldwide, women predominate in part-time employment. According to the ILO, women comprise more than half of part-time workers.449 The gendered unequal distribution of unpaid care work has been identified as the main reason that leads women to work part-time.450 Following the global trend, in Argentina and Canada, women outnumber men in part-time employment. In Argentina, the percentage of women part-timers ranged between 47% and 53.2% in the period 2010-2019.451 Over the same period, in Canada, the share of women in part-time employment fluctuated in a range between 47.8% and 52.55%.452 Although both countries report similar rates of women in part-time work, Argentina exhibits a considerably wider gender gap in part-time employment453 than Canada. In Argentina, the gender gap in  448 “Part-time employment consists of persons who usually work less than 30 hours per week at their main or only job.” See Note to Readers in Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, December 2019, The Daily, online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200110/dq200110a-eng.htm accessed 16 February 2021. 449 According to ILO, women accounted for 57% of part-time workers. ILO, supra note 437 at 121.  450 ILO, supra note 437. 451 Ibid. 452 Ibid. 453 Gender gap in part-time employment, in this dissertation, refers to the average difference between the percentage of female part-time employment and male part-time employment.  110  part-time employment fluctuated between 24.3% and 27.2% over the period 2010-2019.454 Conversely, in Canada, the gender gap remained below 20% over the same period.455  Although women dominate in part-time employment, their participation varies across different groups. In Argentina, income level, age, and education level are some factors that determine women's participation in part-time employment. Regarding the income level, there is a connection between poverty and time-related underemployment.456 Drawing on national statistics, Diaz Langou has shown that women from the two poorest quintiles made up the highest time-related underemployment rates in Argentina.457 Also, the same study revealed that there are important differences among age groups. Women aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44 made up the highest rates of total and demanding underemployment.458 Apart from age, education affects women's participation in part-time work. In Argentina, women with lower educational attainment show higher underemployment rates than their better-educated counterparts.459  454 The gender gaps in part-time employment were calculated based on statistical data provided by ILO statistics, ILO, Incidence of Part-Time Employment by Gender (Annual), ILOSTAT, online https://www.ilo.org/shinyapps/bulkexplorer19/?lang=en&segment=indicator&id=EMP_PTER_SEX_RT_A accessed 16 February 2021. 455 Specifically, the gender gap in part-time employment ranged from 19.7% to the lowest point of 17.2 in 2019. Ibid. 456 Time-related underemployment is a category that includes to those workers who would prefer to work full time but cannot secure standard employment. INDEC, supra note 447. Gala Díaz Langou et al, El Género del Trabajo: entre la Casa, el Sueldo y los Derechos (Buenos Aires: CIPPEC-OIT-ONU Mujeres-PNUD, 2019) at 89 online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---ilo-buenos_aires/documents/publication/wcms_734272.pdf accessed 21 February 2021. 457 Ibid at 89. 458 The percentage of total and demanding underemployment was equal for women aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 44. Particularly, these two age groups made up  15% of total underemployment and  11% of demanding underemployment in 2018. Ibid at 90 (bar chart). 459 Ibid at 90. 111  Based on this data, it is possible to assert that the most vulnerable women are the most likely to work part-time in Argentina. In Canada, age, race, and education also affect the extent of women's participation in part-time employment. Regarding age, females' participation in part-time work varies across age groups, being women aged 15 to 24 who made up the highest share of part-time employment, accounting for 56.4%.460 In contrast, women aged 25 to 44 reached the lowest participation in part-time employment. 461 Beyond age, some important trends in part-time employment were found for women who are immigrants, visible minorities, or Indigenous. In the case of immigrants, women are more likely than men to work part-time.462 Also, recent immigrant women are slightly more likely to work part-time than Canadian-born women.463 Concerning visible minorities,464 age determines the likelihood of visible minority women to  460 Statistics Canada, Proportion of Workers in Full-Time and Part-Time Jobs by Sex, Annual, Table: 14-10-0327-03. Online: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410032703 accessed 30 June 2020 461 Ibid. 462 Statistics Canada, Immigrant Women, by Tamara Hudon, Catalogue No 89-503-X. Online at  https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14217-eng.htm#a20 accessed 30 June 2020. 463 According to data collected in 2010, 31.1% of recent immigrant women worked part-time, compared to 30% of Canadian-born women. Ibid.  464 Visible minority is one of four designated groups under the Employment Equity Act. According to the Act, “members of visible minorities means persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour”. Employment Equity Act, SC 1995, c 44, s.3, <http://canlii.ca/t/532r5> accessed 6 June 2020.  “The visible minority population consists mainly of the following groups: South Asian, Chinese, Black, Filipino, Latin American, Arab, Southeast Asian, West Asian, Korean and Japanese. Other visible minority groups are also included in this population, as are people belonging to multiple visible minority groups.”  112  work part-time. For instance, visible minority women aged 15 to 24 are more likely to be employed part-time than non-visible minority women in the same age group.465 Conversely, visible-minority women aged 65 and over are less likely to work part-time than women who are not a visible minority.466 Lastly, Indigenous women are more likely to work part-time than Indigenous men in Métis,467 First Nations living off reserve,468 and Inuit communities.469 Concerning education level, statistics data reveal a small connection between part-time work and education level in Canada. In 2019, the participation rate of women with no degree and  Statistics Canada, Visible Minority Women, by Tamara Hudon, Catalogue No 89-503-X, online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14315-eng.htm accessed 30 June 2020.  The term visible minority has been criticized for generalizing the experiences of the myriad of ethnic groups that currently live in Canada. In this regard, the UN has warned that this term could lead to a homogenizing discourse. Also, scholars have noted that the category is outdated and does not match current trends that show that, in the near future, some ethnic groups would account for the majority in some Canadian cities. Tavia Granta & Denise Balkissoon, “Visible Minority': Is it Time for Canada to Scrap the Term?” Globe and Mail, (6 February, 2019) online https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-visible-minority-term-statscan/ accessed 8 February 2021.  465 In 2011, the share of part-time employment was 66.2% for visible minority women aged 15-24, compared to 61.1% for non-visible minority women in the same age group. Statistics Canada, supra note 464. 466 Among women aged 65 years old and over, those who were a visible minority made up 46.9%, compared to 56.7% for their non-visible minority counterparts. Ibid. 467 Statistics Canada, Aboriginal Peoples Survey, Employment Characteristics of Métis Women and Men Aged 25 to 54 in Canada, by  Tara Hahmann et al. Catalogue no. 89-653-X (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2019) https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/89-653-x/89-653-x2019002-eng.htm accessed 30 June 2020 468 The share of Indigenous people living off-reserve who worked part-time was 20% for females and 7% for males. Statistics Canada,  Employment of First Nations Men and Women Living Off Reserve, The Daily, catalogue no. 11-001-X (Statistics Canada, June 13, 2019) online at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190613/dq190613f-eng.htm accessed 30 June 2020 469 “The 2017 APS found that … [w]omen (25%) were more likely to work part time than men (17%).” Statistics Canada, Labour Market Experiences of Inuit: Key Findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, The Daily, catalogue no. 11-001-X (Statistics Canada, 2018) online at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181126/dq181126c-eng.htm accessed 30 June 2020 113  lower educational levels was slightly higher in part-time than in full-time employment. Conversely, in the same year, women with high school and higher education degrees showed marginally higher rates of full-time employment than their lower-educated counterparts.470     In both Argentina and Canada, the incidence of age, race, and education levels in the participation of women in the labour market reveals that the most vulnerable groups of women are the most likely to be employed in part-time jobs, which affects social equality. The negative impact on social equality is even bigger when considering that, in general, part-time employment is connected to lower earnings, also known as the part-time wage penalty, reduced promotion prospects, and restricted social security coverage.471  4.2.3 Part-time Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits In Argentina, access to maternity and paternity leave benefits is not attached to workers’ employment history. All workers within the scope of the LCL, regardless of any previous length of service with the same or different employers, may qualify for the leave benefits. Hence, part-time and full-time workers have equal access to parental leave rights. Despite this  470 For instance, in Canada, women with no degree, certificate, or diploma represented 6.5 % and 4.2% of the total of women in part-time and full-time employment, respectively, by 2019. Over the same year, women with university degrees made up about 33% of the total of females employed part-time and roughly 40% of the total rate of women in full-time employment. For further details, see Statistics Canada, Table: 14-10-0118-0: Labour Force Characteristics by Educational Degree, Annual, online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/t1/tbl1/en/tv.action?pid=1410011801&pickMembers%5B0%5D=1.1&pickMembers%5B1%5D=2.5&pickMembers%5B2%5D=4.3&pickMembers%5B3%5D=5.3&cubeTimeFrame.startYear=2016&cubeTimeFrame.endYear=2020&referencePeriods=20160101%2C20200101 accessed 2 April 2021. 471 Jon C. Messenger & Nikhil Ray, supra note 439. 114  equality in access, the scope of the benefits granted to part-time and full-time workers generally differ. The LCL, article 92 ter subsections 3 and 4, rules that social benefits granted to part-time workers, including economic compensations during parental leaves, will be proportional to their contributions to the system.472 Furthermore, the same provision states that the contributions to the social insurance system by part-time workers will be proportional to their working time and wages, enabling the accumulation of hours and wages with different employers.473 Given that part-time workers work fewer hours, on average they contribute less to social insurance than full-time workers. Therefore, part-time workers will likely receive less generous economic compensations during maternity and paternity leaves than their full-time counterparts, which especially constrains the options for low-income families. In contrast, in Canada, the restrictive eligibility requirements lead to the exclusion of several part-time workers from access to parental leave rights, affecting women disproportionally. To qualify for parental leave benefits, the EI Act requires to demonstrate labour market attachment based on the accumulation of 600 insurable hours474 during the previous year.475 Consequently, a large number of part-time workers who are unable to accumulate the required hours result excluded from maternity and parental leave protections.476  472 LCL, supra note 14 at art. 92 ter 4.  473 Ibid at art. 92 ter 3 and 4.  474 Due to the COVID-19 emergency, the federal government has temporarily reduced the number of hours required to qualify for EI parental leave benefits from 600 to 120 insurable hours. This amendment of the EI eligibility requirements will be in effect from March 2020 to September 2021. Canada, supra note 76. For a deeper analysis of this temporary amendment see Andrea Doucet et al., supra note 76.  475 Monica Townson & Kevin Hayes, Women and the Employment Insurance Program (Toronto, 2007).  476 Ibid.  115  The hours-based eligibility requirement disproportionally affects women, producing what Monica Townson & Kevin Hayes have called the gender gap in coverage.477  Since women work on average fewer hours than men,478 they are less likely to meet the required hours to qualify for parental leave benefits.479 Among women, statistics show that mothers who work full-time “were more than twice as likely to take paid leave as mothers who were working part time, but equally likely to take unpaid leave.”480 Moreover, women from vulnerable groups, who are more likely to work part-time, encounter the highest barriers to access to maternity and parental leave benefits.481  The adverse effects of the EI eligibility requirements on women have been challenged as discriminatory in Canada v Lesiuk.482 In that case, Kelly Lesiuk was excluded from maternity leave benefits because, as a part-time worker, she was unable to meet the EI eligibility requirements.483 The Umpire484 agreed with the claimant and supported that the impugned  477 Ibid. 478 Statistics Canada,  Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report: Women and Paid Work, by Melissa Moyser, Catalogue No. 89-503-X (Statistics Canada, 2017) at 13-26, online: <http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/2015001/article/14694-eng.htm> assecced 20 July 2020. 479 Monica Townson & Kevin Hayes, supra note 475.  480 Statistics Canada, Leave Practices of Parents after the Birth or Adoption of Young Children, Canadian Social Trends, by Leanne C. Findlay and Dafna E. Kohen, Catalogue no. 11-008-X (Statistics Canada, July 30, 2012) at 8, online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/11-008-x/2012002/article/11697-eng.pdf?st=lcGVact5 accessed 11 February 2021.  481 Ibid at 9.  482 Canada (Attorney General) v Lesiuk, 2003 FCA 3 (CanLII), [2003] 2 FC 697, <http://canlii.ca/t/4hjb> accessed 25 June 2020 483 Ibid at paras 4 – 9. 484 Ibid at paras 10 – 13. The Umpire’s decision acknowledges that the disproportional allocation of unpaid care work on women restricts the amount of time available for paid work and explains the gender different patterns in employment.   116  provisions485 were discriminatory on the ground of sex and contrary to section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter. However, the Federal Court of Appeal overruled the Umpire’s decision and ruled that the EI eligibility requirements do not discriminate against women who are parents. According to the Court of Appeal, the respondent failed to demonstrate whether the differential treatment under the EI act amounts to discrimination.486 In the Court’s opinion, the EI eligibility requirements “do not create or reinforce stereotypes”487 of women as caregivers and do not affect their human dignity.488 Conversely, the Court found that the restrictions imposed by the hours-based qualifying requirements were reasonable and necessary to ensure the viability of the employment insurance scheme.489 Therefore, the Court of Appeal rejected that the EI hours-based eligibility requirement discriminated against women. Agreeing with Kathryn Meehan, I argue that the Federal Court of Appeal failed to recognize the gendered dimension of part-time work and its connection with the unequal distribution of caregiving responsibilities among men and women.490  The recent Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Fraser v Canada491 may increase the chances of success of future s. 15(1) complaints pursuing the declaration of the EI parental  485 EI Act, supra note 13 at ss. 6(1) and 7(2). Canada v Lesiuk, supra note 482 at para 2. 486 Canada v Lesiuk, supra note 482 at paras 49-51. 487 Ibid at para 45. 488 Ibid at paras 45 and 51. 489 Ibid at paras 51, 67, and 69. 490 Kathryn Meehan, “Falling Through the Cracks: The Law Governing Pregnancy and Parental Leave” (2004) 35:2 Ottawa Law Rev 211 at 249, online<https://marcomm.mccarthy.ca/pubs/Falling_Through_the_Cracks_KMeehan.pdf> accessed 11 February 2021. 491 Fraser v Canada (Attorney General), 2020 SCC 28 online https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2020/2020scc28/2020scc28.html accessed 11 February 2021. 117  leave eligibility requirements as discriminatory on the ground of gender.  In Fraser, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the differential treatment provided to part-time workers who were excluded from the option of pension buy-back that was available for full-time workers disproportionally disadvantaged women with children.492 Unlike the Federal Court of Appeal in Lesiuk, in Fraser, Avella J. recognized the historical disadvantage experienced by women in part-time employment as well as its causal connection with the unequal gender distribution of childcare.493 Moreover, she rejected the “choice” argument by stating that “[t]his Court has consistently held that differential treatment can be discriminatory even if it is based on choices made by the affected individual or group.”494 The arguments cast in this Supreme Court decision may provide a sound foundation for future discrimination complaints against provisions that, like the EI parental leave regulations, adversely affect women in part-time employment.  In Canada, the low statutory income replacement provided during the period of parental leave is especially restrictive for part-time workers. Under the EI program, the benefit amount that parents can receive is 55% of their average insurable weekly earnings for maternity or standard parental leave, or 33% when opting for extended parental leave benefits.495 Parents in part-time employment generally earn lower wages and are less likely covered by employer- 492 Ibid at para 25 (Avella J. vote). “Unlike full-time members who work regular hours, who are suspended or who take unpaid leave, full-time RCMP members who job-share are classified as part-time workers under the Regulations and cannot, under the terms of the pension plan, obtain full-time pension credit for their service.”  493 Ibid at para 98. 494 Ibid at para 86. 495 Canada, Employment and Social Development, supra note 71. 118  provided top-up benefits than standard and higher-earning workers. Therefore, even when meeting the eligibility requirements, part-time workers, who are predominantly women, may find it difficult to afford the cost of taking parental leave benefits, exacerbating not only gender but also social inequalities among different workers.496  4.2.4 Summary This section has given an account of gender and social inequalities in part-time employment. Concerning gender, it has been shown that women dominate in part-time employment, globally including Argentina and Canada. Although these two countries revealed similar rates of female part-timers, the gender gap in part-time employment was considerably wider in Argentina. Moreover, among women, participation in part-time work varies across different groups, reinforcing social inequalities. Women with the lowest incomes, lower educational attainment, and racialized groups were generally more likely to be employed part-time.   Regarding the inclusiveness of access to parental leave rights for part-time workers, Argentina and Canada revealed substantial differences. In Argentina, given that the labour law does not impose eligibility requirements, part-time and full-time workers have equal access to maternity and paternity leave rights. Notwithstanding, the scope of the benefits may vary, part- 496 Andrea Doucet & Lindsey McKay, “Parental Leave, Class Inequalities, and ‘Caring With’ An Ethics of Care Approach to Canadian Parental-Leave Policy” in Patrizia Albanese et al. eds, Caring for Children: Social Movements and Public Policy in Canada  (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017) 97 online https://books.scholarsportal.info/en/read?id=/ebooks/ebooks3/upress/2017-07-24/1/9780774834308 accessed 3 April 2021. 119  time workers are generally awarded lower economic compensations during the leave than their full-time counterparts. In contrast, the Canadian labour legislation requires to demonstrate labour market attachment through an hours-based eligibility criterion. Consequently, a large number of part-time workers, mostly women, unable to accumulate the required 600 insurable hours, result excluded from access to parental leave benefits.497   497 According to the 2018 Employment Coverage Survey (EICS) 71.5% of all recent mothers living outside Quebec had insurable employment. Consequently, about a 30% of all recent mothers in the Rest of Canada had not insurable employment and were unable to qualify for EI maternity and parental leave benefits. Canada, Employment and Social Development, “Chapter 2: Impact and effectiveness of Employment Insurance benefits (Part I of the Employment Insurance Act)” in Employment Insurance Monitoring and Assessment Report for fiscal year beginning April 1, 2018 and ending March 31, 2019 online https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/monitoring2019/chapter2.html#h2.08 accessed 8 March 2021.  Also, see McKay, Mathieu & Doucet, supra note 69. Norene Pupo & Ann Duffy. “Caught in the Net: The Impact of Changes to Canadian Employment Insurance Legislation on Part-time Workers” (2003) 2:1 Social Policy and Society 1 https://doi.org/10.1017/S1474746403001039 accessed 8 March 2021.  120  4.3 Self-employment 4.3.1 Conceptualization Self-employment is a highly heterogeneous working arrangement.498 Different self-employment arrangements exhibit significant variations in incomes,499 informality,500 and social protection,501 among others, that hinders their categorization.502 Despite this complexity, most countries rely on the self-declaration of labour status to distinguish employment from self-employment.503 Yet, such a dualistic approach may obscure the vulnerabilities experienced by workers who are in a grey area between paid employment and self-employment.504 These workers in the grey area may fall outside parental leave provisions directed to paid employment while excluded from protections aimed at self-employed persons.   498 ILO & OECD, Ensuring Better Social Protection for Self-employed Workers (2020), Paper prepared for the 2nd Meeting of the G20 Employment Working Group under Saudi Arabia’s presidency (2020) https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---ddg_p/documents/publication/wcms_742290.pdf accessed 16 July 2020. Fabio M Bertranou, Economía Informal, Trabajadores Independientes y Cobertura de la Seguridad Social en Argentina , Chile y Uruguay (Santiago, 2007).  499 Leonor Saravia, Trabajadores Independientes y Cobertura Previsional en Brasil y Chile, in Fabio M Bertranou, ed. Trabajadores Independientes y Protección Social en América Latina, (OIT: Santiago, 2009) at 86 https://www.social-protection.org/gimi/gess/RessourcePDF.action?ressource.ressourceId=15843 accessed 16 July 2020. 500OECD, "Annex 2.A3 to Chapter 2, Extent and Characteristics of Informal Employment" in The OECD Employment Outlook 2008:  Declaring Work or Staying Underground: Informal Employment Seven OECD Countries (OECD: 2008) 79 online https://www.oecd.org/employment/emp/40843646.pdf accessed 16 July 2020. 501 ILO & OECD, supra note 498.  502 Ibid at 2.  503 Ibid.  504 ILO, Disguised Employment/Dependent Self-employment, https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/non-standard-employment/WCMS_534833/lang--en/index.htm accessed 16 July 2020. 121  The International Labour Organization (ILO) has proposed a classification that provides a valuable conceptual framework for the study and protection of self-employment.505 Initially, the International Classification of Status in Employment (ICSE-18)506 distinguished two main categories of employment status which are employment for pay and for profit,507 including self-employed individuals in this last category.508 Afterward, these categories were further classified by the type of authority (ICSE-18-A)509 and type of economic risk (ICSE-18-R). 510  Another important classification of self-employment is based on whether a self-employed individual has paid employees.511 In Argentina and Canada, this differentiation is implemented for statistical purposes. In Argentina, The National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC) classifies self-employed persons in two main categories which are patrones and cuentapropistas or own-account workers. Patrones exhibit higher levels of  505 ILO & OECD, supra note 498 at 2.  506 ILO,  International Classification of Status in Employment (ICSE-18), online https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/methods/classification-status-at-work/#icse13 accessed 17 August 2020. 507 ILO, International Classification of Status in Employment (ICSE) and International Classification of Status at Work (ICSaW), https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/methods/classification-status-at-work/ accessed 15 July 2020 508 ILO & OECD, supra note 498 at 3.  509 ILO,  International Classification of Status in Employment according to Type of Authority (ICSE-18-A), online https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/methods/classification-status-at-work/#icse13 accessed 17 August 2020. 510 ILO & OECD, supra note 498 at 3. ILO,  International Classification of Status in Employment according to Type of Economic Risk (ICSE-18-R), online https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/methods/classification-status-at-work/#icse13 accessed 17 August 2020. 511 Sébastien LaRochelle-Côté, “Self-employment in the Downturn” (2010) 22:2 Perspect Labour Income 5 at 2, online: <https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/docview/609462152?accountid=14656> accessed 16 July 2020. 122  autonomy and employ at least one paid worker; whereas, cuentapropistas hold lower autonomy512 and do not hire paid employees.513 In Canada, Statistics Canada distinguishes self-employed who are “[w]orking owners of an incorporated business, farm or professional practice, or working owners of an unincorporated business, farm or professional practice.”514 This last category includes self-employed persons who do not own a business. Moreover, “[s]elf-employed workers are further subdivided by those with or without paid help.”515   4.3.2 Who are Self-employed Workers? Globally, self-employed workers account for a lower proportion than paid employees.516 Nevertheless, recent transformations in business models and the emergence of platform work, give reasons to expect a rapid growth in this employment arrangement.517 From a comparative perspective, statistics reveal that self-employment is more predominant in emerging than in  512 For example, cuentapropistas cautivos (captive own account workers) have similar levels of dependency as salary workers. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC), La Nueva Encuesta Permanente de Hogares de Argentina. 2003, at 9 https://www.indec.gob.ar/ftp/cuadros/sociedad/Metodologia_EPHContinua.pdf accessed July 9, 2020. Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC), “Mercado de Trabajo. Tasas e Indicadores Socioeconómicos (EPH).” (2020) 4 28, <www.indec.gob.ar/calendario.asp>  accessed 9 July 2020  513 INDEC, supra note 512 at 9.  514 Statistics Canada, Guide to the Labour Force Survey: 2020, Catalogue no. 71-543-G https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-543-g/71-543-g2020001-eng.htm accessed 16 July 2020 515 Ibid. 516 ILO & OECD, supra note 498. 517 Ibid at 4.  123  advanced countries.518Accordingly, the incidence of this non-standard employment arrangement is greater in Argentina than in Canada.519  A more detailed view reveals that the percentage of self-employed persons in Argentina is roughly 10% higher than in Canada. In the case of Argentina, the share of self-employed workers fluctuated over the period 1991-2020, reaching a peak of 31% in 1993 and falling to its lowest point, 22%, in 2012.520 Since 2012 the percentage of self-employed individuals has escalated and currently hovers around 26%.521 In Canada, the share of self-employment has remained relatively steady over the last decades, rising from 12.2% in 1976 to 15.3% in 2018522. In this country, the highest self-employment rate was reached in the period between 1996 and 2000 when it made up over 17%.523 Although the difference in the self-employment rates of Argentina and Canada, there are some common demographic characteristics in the composition of this employment arrangement. For instance, in both countries, men outnumbered women in self-employment524 and this gender gap narrows for the most informal  518 Ibid. 519 The World Bank, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.EMP.SELF.ZS?locations=AR-CA accessed July 9, 2020 520 Ibid.  521 Ibid. 522 Statistics Canada, Self-employed Canadians: Who and Why?, Labour Statistics at a Glance  by Lahouaria Yssaad and Vincent Ferrao, Catalogue no. 71-222-X (Statistics Canada, 2019) online   https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-222-x/71-222-x2019002-eng.htm accessed 3 April 2021. 523 Ibid. 524 In Argentina, women made up less than 40% of the total of self-employed workers. Díaz Langou et al, supra note 456 at 122.  Similarly, in Canada, the proportion of women in self-employment has increased from 26% to 38% between 1976 and 2018. Statistics Canada, supra note 522.  124  and precarious types of self-employment.525 In addition to gender, Argentina and Canada reveal similar connections between age and self-employment. In both countries, older age-groups are more likely to be self-employed than their younger counterparts.526  In Argentina, the lack of statistical data about self-employment at the national level and in the rural sector precludes a thorough intersectional analysis.527 Conversely, the statistical information available in Canada enables such analysis. According to statistics, in Canada, immigrant individuals were more likely than non-immigrants to be self-employed.528 Among immigrants persons, men and non-recent immigrants showed greater participation in self- 525 Díaz Langou et al, supra note 456 at 101.  Fabio Bertranou & Maurizio, Roxana, Trabajadores Independientes, Mercado Laboral e Informalidad en Argentina (Organizacion Internacional del Trabajo (OIT): Buenos Aires, 2011) at 53 https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/documents/publication/wcms_178455.pdf accessed 16 July 2020.  Fabio M. Bertranou, Economía Informal, Trabajadores Independientes y Cobertura de la Seguridad Social en Argentina , Chile y Uruguay, ISIE/2007/7 (Organizacion Internacional del Trabajo (OIT): Santiago, 2007) at 6 online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_emp/---emp_policy/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_125982.pdf accessed 16 July 2020.  Judy Fudge, “Self-employment, Women, and Precarious Work: The Scope of Labour Protection” in Fudge, Judy & Owens, Rosemary eds, Precarious Work Women, and the New Economy: The Challenge to Legal Norms (London: Hart Publishing, 2006) 201 at 210 - 211.  526 Fabio Bertranou & Rocana Maurizio, supra note 525 at 54. Fabio Bertranou, supra note 498 at 5. Statistics Canada, Self-employment in Canada, 2018, Infographics Catalogue no. 11-627-M (Statistics Canada: 2018) online at https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2019040-eng.htm accessed 14 July 2020. 527 Fabio Bertranou & Saravia Leonor, Trabajadores Independientes y la Protección Social en América Latina: Desempeño Laboral y Cobertura de los Programas de Pensiones, in Fabio M Bertranou ed. Trabajadores Independientes y Protección Social en América Latina (OIT: Santiago, 2009) at 11 online https://www.social-protection.org/gimi/gess/RessourcePDF.action?ressource.ressourceId=15843 accessed 16 July 2020. 528 Feng Hou & Wang Shunji, “Immigrants in Self-employment” (2011) 23:3 Perspect Labour Income 1 at 1, Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 75-001-X online: <https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/pub/75-001-x/2011003/article/11500-eng.pdf?st=Nr6AsDk_> accessed 16 July 2020. 125  employment than women and recent-immigrants;529 however, immigrant women were “over-represented at the low end of the income range among self-employed women.”530 The prevalence of men in self-employment was also found in the case of Métis531 and Indigenous Peoples living off-reserve in Canada.532  4.3.3 Self-Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits The gap in social and labour protections coverage is one of the most pressing difficulties experienced by self-employed workers.533 In general, self-employed persons are excluded from labour and social protections and when included, they are granted fewer benefits than dependent workers.534 The incidence of traditional stereotypes about self-employment may explain the exclusion of these workers from social and labour protections. Historically, self- 529 Ibid at 4 - 5. 530 Judy Fudge, supra note 525 at 214.  531 “In 2017, around one in seven (14% or 40,260) employed Métis were self-employed.” In this Indigenous community, the percentage of women in self-employment was 41% compared to 59% for men. Statistics Canada, Self-employment among Métis: Findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, Infographics Catalogue no. 11-627-M (Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 2008) https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2018047-eng.htm accessed 16 July 2020. 532 “In 2017, 11% of employed First Nations people living off reserve were self-employed. (…) The share of self-employed First Nations people with an incorporated business was higher among men than women (45% versus 24%).” Statistics Canada, Labour Market Experiences of First Nations people living off reserve: Key findings from the 2017 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, The Daily, catalogue no. 11-001-X (Statistics Canada: November 26, 2018) online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/181126/dq181126a-eng.htm accessed 16 July 2020.  533 ILO & OECD, supra note 498.  International Labour Organization (ILO), Extending Social Security and Facilitating Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy: Lessons from International Experience (2019) online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_protect/---soc_sec/documents/publication/wcms_749431.pdf  accessed 27 March 2021.  534 ILO & OECD, supra note 498. 126  employment has been associated with autonomy and ownership; however, this stereotyped image does not reflect the reality of many self-employed persons who work under precarious conditions.535 Concerned with the coverage gap experienced by self-employed workers across the world, ILO has urged the inclusion of self-employment within the scope of labour and social rights.536 Considering maternity and parental leave rights as part of labour and social protection schemes, in the following paragraphs, I assess the inclusiveness of the Argentine and Canadian parental leave systems for self-employed individuals. In Argentina, although self-employed workers are included in the social security coverage,537 maternity and paternity leave rights remain restricted to formal paid employment. Consequently, roughly 50% of workers, including self-employed and informal workers, do not qualify for maternity and paternity leave benefits.538 Considering the restrictive access of the current system, some scholars propose switching to a universal parental leave system, which includes all parents regardless of their position in the labour market.539 Nevertheless, to date, the LCL has not been amended to extend parental leave rights to self-employed individuals.  535 Judy Fudge, supra note 525. 536 Ibid. ILO, supra note 533.Also, in Canada, Fudge et al. have advocated for the extension of labour and social rights to independent workers.  Judy Fudge, Eric Tucker & Leah F Vosko, “Employee or Independent Contractor? Charting the Legal Significance of the Distinction in Canada” (2011) 10:2 CLELJ 193. 537 Fabio Bertranou, supra note 498. ILO & OECD, supra note 498. 538 Carolina Aulicino et al, supra note 178 at 12. Delfina Schenone Sienra, supra note 60 at 9. 539 Fabián Repetto et al., supra note 298 at 12. Also, Delfina Schenone Sienra, supra note 60 at 14.  127  In contrast, since 2011, self-employed persons in Canada can voluntarily access to EI maternity and parental leave coverage.540 Due to the voluntary basis of the system, self-employed persons intending to take parental leave benefits must have opted and registered in the program at least 12 months before applying.541 Also, to be eligible, they must have experienced a reduction of more than 40% of the time devoted to their business due to childbirth or caring for the newborn or adopted child, have earned at least the minimum amount for self-employment earnings542 during the previous 56 weeks, have paid the contributions,543 and have provided the expected date of birth or official date of placement.544   Although extending the EI parental leave system to self-employment was an important step toward a more inclusive coverage, it has not been as effective as expected. To date, a small number of self-employed individuals have claimed the benefits in Canada.545 The voluntary basis546 of the EI system, the fact that some workers might be unaware of this option, and the  540 Bill C-56 amended the EI Act by extending special benefits to self-employed persons. Canada, Parliament , Legislative Summary of Bill C-56: An Act to Amend the Employment Insurance Act and to make Consequential Amendments to other Acts (Fairness for the Self-Employed Act), by Daphne Keevil Harrold & André Léonard, Research Publications, 40th Parl, 2nd Sess  (14 January 2010) https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/LegislativeSummaries/402LS665E#a5 accessed 16 July 2020. The amendment to the EI Act was implemented in 2011. Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69. 541Canada, EI Special Benefits for Self-employed People online https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/self-employed-special-benefits.html accessed 16 July 2020. 542 For example, in 2019 the minimum amount was $7,279. Ibid.  543 Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69 at 6.  544 Canada, supra note 541.  545 Jennifer Robson, supra note 69.  546 Given that self-employed individuals who meet the eligibility requirements must pay into the EI system to access the leave benefits, they may opt for a personal savings model instead. 128  stringent eligibility requirements547 are factors that may explain the low take-up among self-employed workers. According to ILO, voluntary systems are less effective than mandatory systems in providing coverage, especially to the most vulnerable self-employed groups.548 Moreover, as in other non-standard employment arrangements, the stringent eligibility criteria hinder access to parental leave benefits for many self-employed workers who are unable to meet the requirements.549 The lack of flexibility of the EI system may also prevent self-employed workers from claiming parental leave benefits.550 In Canada, the EI system grants the same length of maternity and parental leaves to paid employees and self-employed persons,551 neglecting their different needs. While long leaves may be beneficial for dependent workers, it may be undesirable for self-employed individuals,552 who usually are unable to stop running their  547 Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69 at 551. Also, see Jennifer Robson, supra note 69 at 9.  548 ILO & OECD, supra note 498 at 14. Quebec presents an example of the effectiveness of mandatory systems. Unlike the EI federal system, Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) includes self-employment on a mandatory basis.  Consequently, in that province, a higher number of self-employed workers claim parental leave benefits than in the rest of Canada. Jennifer Robson, supra note 69 at 6.  549 Lindsey McKay et al., supra note 69 at 551. Also, see Jennifer Robson, supra note 69 at 9.  550 The Canadian Bar Association suggested introducing greater flexibility in the EI parental leave system for self-employed persons, considering that such flexibility was essential for the successful implementation of the system. The Canadian Bar Association, Improving EI Benefits by Enhancing Flexibility in the System (2011), Letter addressed to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, online at https://www.cba.org/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=56edd2e4-59da-4aa7-ba6d-26e48378ceac accessed 15 July  2020. 551 The different needs of employees and self-employed persons regarding the length of maternity and parental leave may explain the differences in the number of weeks claimed. Statistics reveal that female and male self-employed individuals take significantly lower weeks than paid workers. Statistics Canada, supra note 480 at 8 - 9.  552 Anne Annink et al. have pointed out that “self-employees have different needs than employees”. Anne Annink, Laura den Dulk & Bram Steijn, “Work-family State Support for the Self-Employed across Europe” (201 5) 4:2 J Entrep Public Policy 187. 129  business for the long term.553 A flexible system that allows self-employed workers to continue working part-time while on leave may better accommodate their needs.554 However, the current EI system penalizes this option. Under the EI scheme, self-employed persons can continue working or generating incomes while receiving EI parental leave benefits, but, in such cases, they will experience negative effects on the income compensation received. More specifically, self-employed persons who decide to continue working while on parental leave will be able to keep 50 cents of the EI benefits for every dollar earned, up to a maximum amount. 555  4.3.4 Summary In Argentina as well as in Canada, self-employed persons still encounter significant barriers to access parental leave benefits. On the one hand, the Argentine system ties access to parental leave benefits to formal paid employment and directly excludes self-employment from its scope. On the other hand, Canada has recently extended parental leave rights to self-employed workers. However, due to the design of the EI parental leave system, self-employed persons still confront several obstacles that restrict their access to the benefits. The voluntary basis, the strict eligibility requirements, and the lack of flexibility are aspects of the EI scheme that discourage self-employed parents to claim maternity and parental leave rights in Canada.   553 The Canadian Bar Association, supra note 550.  554 Ibid. 555 Canada, EI Special Benefits for Self-Employed People, supra note 541. 130  Drawing on the experiences of self-employed workers in Argentina and Canada, it is possible to conclude that just extending coverage to self-employment, although being an important step forward, is not enough to provide inclusive access to parental leave rights.556 To achieve an egalitarian parental leave system it is essential to recognize and accommodate the special needs of self-employed individuals.557 As long as parental leave regulations remain tied to a standard employment relationship, self-employed persons, among other non-standard workers, will continue encountering obstacles to access to parental leave benefits.   4.4 Temporary Workers 4.4.1 Conceptualization Temporary work is a non-standard form of employment that is defined by its limited duration. Unlike standard employment, temporary work “does not allows the prospect of ongoing employment.”558 Besides this central feature, temporary employment is very heterogeneous and encompasses multiple subtypes.559 Contract or fixed term work, seasonal employment, and temporary agency are some forms of temporary work which display distinctive characteristics.  Regarding the first subtype, contract employment is an employment arrangement which end depends on the compliance of a certain condition, such as reaching a  556 ILO & OECD, supra note 498 at 14.   557 Ibid. 558 Sylvia Fuller & Leah Vosko, supra note 428 at 32. 559 Ibid. 131  fixed date or finishing a specific task.560 Conversely, in seasonal jobs, employees work during certain months of the year,561 such as during harvest or fishing times. Lastly, temporary agency involves a triangular relationship where workers are hired by an agency to work for a client company.562  The heterogeneity of temporary work may complicate its study. The different subtypes encompass different features, outcomes, and demographic composition.563 Moreover, temporary employment can intersect with other types of non-standard employment, mainly with self-employment and informal work, which turns the analysis even more difficult. Although these limitations, the next paragraphs attempt to shed light on the barriers and exclusion that temporary workers encounter to access to parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada.   4.4.2 Who are Temporary Workers? Unlike other non-standard forms of employment, the connection between gender and temporary work is unclear. Some countries report that women dominate in temporary work,  560 ILO, supra note 437 at 22.  According to the Argentine Labour Law, fixed-term contracts (contratos de plazo fijo) consist of employment arrangements that last until the expiration of the time limit, which cannot exceed 5 years. LCL, supra note 14 at CAPITULO II: Del Contrato de Trabajo a Plazo Fijo, Articulo 93: Duración [Chapter II: Fixed-term Contracts, article 93: Duration]. 561 Shawn de Raaf et al. “Seasonal Work and Employment Insurance Use” (2003) 4:9 Perspectives on Labour and Income, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-001-x/00903/6641-eng.html#:~:text=By%20definition%2C%20seasonal%20jobs%20provide,which%20services%20are%20in%20demand.&text=They%20may%20work%20one%20or,employment%20displays%20a%20seasonal%20pattern. Accessed 30 July 2020. Also, LCL, supra note 14 at arts. 93 – 95. 562 Sylvia Fuller & Leah Vosko, supra note 428 at 37.  LCL, supra note 14 at arts. 96 – 98  563 Sylvia Fuller & Leah Vosko, supra note 428 at 32. 132  whereas in others the exact opposite is claimed.564 In the case of Argentina, there is a slight difference in the proportion of men and women engaged in contract employment. Statistical data shows that the share of workers in contract employment has slightly fluctuated in a range between 15% and 7% for women and between 15% and 10% for men over the period 2008-2018.565 Although the limited data available about temporary agency, a 2013 study has estimated that, in Argentina, men dominate in this employment arrangement, accounting for about 75% of temporary agency workers.566  In Canada, the proportion of women and men in temporary employment is alike. Official statistics revealed that, in 2018, the percentage of women in temporary employment slightly exceed the share of men by 1%. 567 However, some gender differences have been found across the specific types of temporary work. According to Fuller and Vosko, men dominate in seasonal work, whereas, in contract work, which is the most stable type of temporary employment, the gender participation gap is not as significant.568   564 ILO, supra note 437 at 127.  565 Gala Díaz Langou et al, supra note 456 at 116.  566 Confederación Sindical de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras de las Américas [CST] & Confederación Sindical Internacional (CSI). (2013). Tercerización mediante agencias de trabajo temporal en América Latina. Campaña Libertad Sindical, Negociación Colectiva y Autorreforma Sindical. San Pablo: CSA-CSI. IV. Estudios Nacionales 1. Argentina. http://www.relats.org/documentos/CSA.Agencias2013.pdf accessed 29 July 2020. 567 In 2018, 14% of temporary workers were women, while 13% were men. Statistics Canada, Temporary Employment in Canada, The Daily, Catalogue No. 11-001-X (Statistics Canada, May, 2019) online https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/190514/dq190514b-eng.htm accessed 29 July 2020. 568 Sylvia Fuller & Leah Vosko, supra note 428.  133  Unlike gender, age appears to affect participation in temporary employment. In Argentina as well as in Canada, young groups made up the highest share of temporary employment.569 In Canada, the group aged 65 and older made up the second largest percentage of temporary workers;570 however, the participation of this age group was not as significant in Argentina.571 Regarding the intersection of gender with immigration and visible minorities status, Fuller and Vosko have shown some connections with temporary employment.572 According to them, women who are either recent immigrant or visible minorities are more likely to participate in the most precarious forms of temporary work.573    4.4.3 Temporary Employment and Access to Parental Leave Benefits In Argentina, eligibility and exclusion from maternity and paternity leaves depends on the type of temporary employment. For instance, in seasonal employment, during the season,574  569 In Argentina, the group aged 18 to 24 was the most representative in temporary work and made up 22% and 28% for women and men respectively by 2018. Gala Díaz Langou et al, supra note 451 at 117, Figure 51. In Canada, the group aged 15 to 24 accounted for 30.6 % of temporary workers by 2019. OECD, Temporary Employment (Indicator), 2020, online https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/employment/temporary-employment/indicator/english_75589b8a-en accessed on 29 July 2020. 570 In Canada, the share of temporary employees aged over 65 years old was 20.6% in 2019. Ibid. 571 In Argentina, the share of temporary workers aged over 65 years old was 12% and 10% for men and women respectively by 2018. Gala Díaz Langou et al, supra note 456 at 117, Figure 51.  572 Sylvia Fuller & Leah Vosko, supra note 428.  573 Ibid at 43. 574 In a relevant precedent, the Supreme Court of Rio Negro Province confirmed that even when a temporary worker has given birth before the beginning of the season, she has the right to take maternity leave benefits for the extension of the season. Aravena, Yanina Mariela c Fruticultores Reginenses S.A. s/ Reclamo s/ Inaplicabilidad De Ley, No 20834/06, Superior Tribunal de Justicia de la Provincia de Río Negro [Supreme Court of Rio Negro Province], 5 February 2007. 134  temporary workers can access to the same maternity and paternity leave benefits as standard workers and receive income compensations. Nevertheless, once the season ends, the benefits cease for temporary employees.575 In a relevant precedent, the Supreme Court of Rio Negro Province, confirming the decision of the lower court, granted maternity leave rights, although restricted to the extension of the season, to a worker who have had given birth before the beginning of the season.576 Regarding temporary agency, temporary workers are subjected to the collective agreement applicable to the sector, but only during the period of activity. Thus, they can qualify to the same maternity and parental leave benefits as their full-year counterparts.577 Drawing on these examples, it is possible to assert that temporary workers in Argentina can access to maternity and paternity leave benefits, although restricted to the period of activity. Also, the significant overlap between temporary and informal employment in Argentina,578 suggest that many temporary workers, who are in informal employment, fall outside labour protections and result excluded from parental leave benefits.   575 Ana Laura Alasia et al, “Contrato de Trabajo de Temporada”, SAIJ - Sist Argentino Inf Juridica (2008) at 3, online: <http://www.saij.gob.ar/ana-laura-alasia-contrato-trabajo-temporada-dacc080122-2008/123456789-0abc-defg2210-80ccanirtcod> accessed 4 August 2020. 576 Aravena, Yanina Mariela c Fruticultores Reginenses S.A., supra note 574. 577 David Trajtemberg & Hernan Varela, “Movilidad Laboral de los Trabajadores con Contratos Eventuales: ¿Mecanismo de Inserción en Empleos Estables o Regularizacion de la Inestabilidad Laboral?” (2015) 24 NB - Núcleo Básico Rev Científicas Argentinas 109 at 113, online: <https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/3873/387334696006.pdf> accessed 17 August 2020. 578 Roxana Maurizio, “Formas Atípicas de Empleo en América Latina: Incidencia, Características e Impactos en la Determinación Salarial” (2016) 76 Serie Condiciones Trabajo y Empleo, ILO at 17, online: <www.ifrro.org> accessed 4 August 2020 . 135  In Canada, like part-time work, the hours-based eligibility requirement restricts access to parental leave benefits for many temporary workers, affecting women disproportionally.579 Given the intermittent nature of this employment arrangement, temporary workers are often unable to accumulate 600 insurable hours during the previous year. Furthermore, even when eligible, since temporary workers may have had periods of inactivity and no earnings prior claiming parental leave benefits, these workers are likely to receive lower compensation than standard employees.580 In some cases, temporary workers are also self-employed which increases the barriers to access parental leave benefits. To avoid these restrictions and grant a more inclusive access to EI parental leave benefits for workers in non-standard employment relationships, it has been proposed to lower the entry threshold from 600 to 360 insurable hours. As a result of this modification, it is estimated that about 70% more female temporary workers aged 20 to 39 living outside Quebec would be able to qualify for EI parental leave benefits.581    579 Jennifer L Dengate, “How Does Family Policy ‘Work’? Job Context, Flexibility, and Maternity Leave Policy” (2016) 10:5 Sociol Compass 376 at 378. 580 Monica Townson & Kevin Hayes, supra note 475 at 22.  581 Leah F Vosko, The Challenge of Expanding EI Coverage: Charting Exclusions and Partial Exclusions on the Bases of Gender, Immigration Status, Age, and Place of Residence and Exploring Avenues for Inclusive Policy Redesign (Toronto: Mowat Centre EI Task Force - School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto, 2011) at 28, Table 11b Entry: Proportion of All Eligible Women Employees Aged 20-39 Living Outside Quebec Who Would Meet 360 Hours Threshold for Maternity/ Parental Benefits, by Demographics online https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/mowatcentre/wp-content/uploads/publications/23_the_challenge.pdf accessed 4 August 2020. 136  4.4.4 Summary In Argentina and Canada, temporary workers face significant barriers to access parental leave benefits. In Argentina, temporary workers in formal employment are eligible to take the same parental leave benefits as non-temporary workers. However, the benefits will be restricted to the period of activity; once it ends, the benefits cease. Also, due the significant incidence of informal employment in temporary jobs, most temporary workers will be excluded from maternity and paternity leave rights under the LCL. On the other hand, in Canada, several temporary workers who are unable to accumulate the 600 insurable hours result excluded from the EI parental leave benefits. Even when eligible, temporary workers who have had periods with no earnings prior claiming the benefits will experience negative effects on the income compensation.  4.5 Informal Employment 4.5.1 Conceptualization Across countries, the meaning of, and terms referring to, informal employment may vary.582 On the international level, ILO has distinguished the concepts of the informal economy, the informal sector, and informal employment. The informal economy is defined by  582 OECD & ILO, Tackling Vulnerability in the Informal Economy (Paris: OECD Publishing, 2019) at 26 online http://www.oecd.org/fr/publications/tackling-vulnerability-in-the-informal-economy-939b7bcd-en.htm  accessed 27 March 2021.  137  opposition to the formal economy and excluding illegal activities.583 According to the Recommendation n°204, the informal economy “refers to all economic activities by workers and economic units that are – in law or practice – not covered or insufficiently covered by formal arrangements.”584  The informal economy is further disaggregated into the informal sector and informal employment.585 These two dimensions are distinguished by their different observation units. On the one hand, the informal sector is an enterprise-based concept in which the observation unit is productive units.586 According to the ILO’s Resolution concerning Statistics of Employment in the Informal Sector, the informal sector encompasses “units engaged in the production of goods or services with the primary objective of generating employment and incomes to the persons concerned.”587 On the other hand, informal employment is a job-based concept in which the observation unit is jobs.588 Hence, informal employment consists of jobs  583 Recommendation concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy, Recommendation No. 204, (held on 23 June 2015), ILO, online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_norm/---relconf/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_377774.pdf accessed 24 July 2020. 584 Ibid, at section I.2.a 585 ILO, Guidelines concerning a Statistical Definition of Informal Employment, The Seventeenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) (held on November 2003), online https://ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---stat/documents/normativeinstrument/wcms_087622.pdf accessed 24 July 2020. 586 Ibid. 587 Resolution concerning Statistics of Employment in the Informal Sector, Fifteenth International Conference of Labour Statisticians (January 1993), ILO,  at section 5.(1) http://www.ilo.int/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---stat/documents/normativeinstrument/wcms_087484.pdf  accessed 24 July 2020. 588 Recommendation concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy, Recommendation No. 204, supra note 583 at para 1. 138  that employ individuals whose labour relationships are unregistered and “not subject to national labour legislation, income taxation, social protection or entitlement to certain employment benefits.”589 This definition of informal employment provides the conceptual framework for this section.  4.5.2 Who are Informal Workers? Globally, informal employment constitutes a major issue. Including agriculture, informal workers comprise more than half the global workforce.590 Not surprisingly, informal employment disproportionally affects developing and emerging countries, although it is not as significant in developed economies.591 Besides inequalities among countries, the incidence of informal employment varies across occupational sectors, agriculture being the most affected.592 In the agriculture sector, about 94% of the workers are informally employed.593 The likelihood to participate in informal employment also depends on age and gender. Regarding age, young and old groups are more likely to be informally employed than core-age  589 Ibid at section 3(5).  590 OECD & ILO, supra note 582 at 16.  591 In developing and emerging economies, informal employment accounts for 70% of the labour market compared to 18% in developed economies. Ibid at 16.  592 Ibid at 16 and 29. 593 Ibid at 16 and 28-29. 139  groups.594 Regarding gender, worldwide, men outnumber women in informal employment;595 however, women dominate in the most precarious informal jobs,596 such as domestic work. From a comparative perspective, available data reveals that the incidence of informal employment in Argentina is higher than in Canada, although in both countries agriculture and domestic work are regulated by law. In the case of Argentina, The World Bank has reported that informal employment, excluding agriculture, has fluctuated in a range between 46% to roughly 50% in the period 2008 - 2019.597 In Canada, the extension of informal employment is difficult to estimate due the scarce statistical data available. Despite this shortage in information, considering that ILO has listed Canada among the countries with the lowest share of informal employment,598 it is possible to infer that the proportion of informal workers in that country remains below 20%.599  A more detailed view of the incidence of informal employment in Argentina shows that own-account self-employed individuals comprise more than half of informal workers in the  594 ILO, Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A Statistical Picture, third ed, ILO, ed. (Geneva: ILO, 2018) at 19 online https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/books/WCMS_626831/lang--en/index.htm accessed 27 March 2021. 595 Ibid at 21, Box 3: Women and men in the informal economy. 596 OECD & ILO, supra note 582 at 134-136.  597 The World Bank, Informal Employment (% of Total Non-agricultural Employment) – Argentina, online https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.ISV.IFRM.ZS?end=2019&locations=AR&start=2s004 accessed 27 July 2020. 598 In a recent report, ILO has classified countries according to the share of informal employment in total employment, excluding agriculture. The five categories range from countries with the highest informal employment rate, 90% and over, to countries with the lowest, below 20%. Canada has been listed among countries in this last category. OECD & ILO, supra note 582 at 27, figure 1.1.  599 ILO, supra note 594 at 16, Figure 5. Share of informal employment in total employment, including and excluding agriculture (percentages, 2016) 140  country.600 Moreover, as in most countries, lower income groups,601 younger and older groups,602 as well as people with lower levels of educational attainment,603 are the most likely to be informally employed. In Canada, the lack of statistical data about informal employment hinders a detailed analysis of its incidence. Notwithstanding, two recent studies that analyze the situation of the informal gig economy in Canada show that younger groups,604 part-time workers,605 and workers from lower income households606 were more likely to participate in the informal gig-economy607 than other groups.   600 OIT, Caminos hacia la formalización laboral en Argentina, primera ed, Fabio Bertranou & Luis Casanova, eds. (Buenos Aires: OIT, 2015) at 28, online https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---americas/---ro-lima/---ilo-buenos_aires/documents/publication/wcms_390431.pdf accessed 27 July 2020. OIT is the acronym in Spanish for Organizacion Internacional del Trabajo (International Labour Organization). 601 Ibid at 33-34. 602 Ibid at 30 -31. Also, see Mariana Busso, “Mercado de Trabajo y Grupos Vulnerables” in Julio César Neffa & Pérez Pablo, eds, Macroeconomia, Mercado de Trabajo y Grupos Vulnerables: Desafíos para el Diseño Políticas Públicas, 1 ed (Buenos Aires: CEIL-PIETTE CONICET, 2006) 139 at 144. 603 OIT, supra note 600 at 31. Also, see Mariana Busso, supra note 598 at 144.  604 Bank of Canada, Canadian Economic Analysis Department, Olena Kostyshyna & Corinne Luu, The Size and Characteristics of Informal (“Gig”) Work in Canada (2019) at 3-4, online https://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/san2019-6.pdf accessed 27 July 2020.  605 Ibid at 6. 606 Angus Reid Institute, The “Gig” Picture: One-in-three Canadians have done some kind of informal work in the past five years Canadians (Angus Reid, November 26, 2019) online http://angusreid.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019.11.26_Gig_economy_pdf.pdf accessed 27 July 2020.  607 According to Jamie Woodcock & Mark Graham the term gig economy refers to  “(…) labour markets that are characterized by independent contracting that happens through, via, and on digital platforms. The kind of work that is offered is contingent: casual and non-permanent work. It may have variable hours and little job security, involve payment on a piece-work basis, and lack any options for career development.” See Jamie Woodcock & Mark Graham eds. The Gig Economy: A Critical Introduction (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2020). 141  Regarding gender, female and male participation in informal employment varies across countries. In Argentina, more men than women are informal workers;608 however, women are more likely to be informally employed.609 In other words, fewer women than men participate in the labour market, but when they do participate, women are more likely to engage in informal employment.610  In Argentina, even though domestic work is regulated under national legislation, it is still one of the most informal occupations with female workers predominance.611 In Canada, on the other hand, men predominate in informal employment.612  4.5.3 Unprotected Workers: Analysis of the Exclusion of Informal Workers from Parental Leave Protections Informal employment is, by definition, an unprotected activity613 that is not subject to labour regulations and social protections.614 According to ILO, this gap in social protection coverage is one of the main sources of the vulnerabilities experienced by informal workers.615  608 According to ILO, the share of men in informal employment exceeded the percentage of women by 10%. OIT, supra note 600 at 30-31.  609 47.3% of female workers are informally employed, compared to 39.5% of male workers. Ibid.  610 Gala Díaz Langou et al, supra note 456 at 93.  611 The share of informal employment in domestic work made up 75.7% in 2018. Ibid at 98-99. 612 ILO, supra note 594 at 21 Box 3.  613OECD & ILO, supra note 582 at 26.  614On top of the exclusion from formal employment-targeted protections, informal workers are often excluded from poverty-targeted social assistance. Given that poverty-targeted protections generally require demonstrating very low or no earnings, many informal workers may not qualify. ILO, supra note 533 at 6.  615 Ibid at 5. For instance, the lack of social protection along with the lower wages that, on average, informal workers earn, increases the risks of experiencing in-work poverty. Also, because of the gap in 142  Thus, aiming to bridge the gap in coverage, ILO has called upon extending social protection to informal workers identifying some priority areas.616 Maternity protection is one priority area that results especially relevant for this dissertation. Considering the vulnerability of women in informal employment, ILO has declared essential to grant them income support during pregnancy and after childbirth.617 Unless maternity protection is extended, women in informal employment will likely work until advanced pregnancy and return to work earlier, jeopardizing their own and their children’s health.618 Due to the exclusion from labour law protection, informal workers who take long periods of maternity leave could be terminated with no recourse, which adds further disincentive. Narrowing the perspective to the inclusiveness of parental leave benefits in Argentina and Canada, it is possible to assert that informal workers are the most likely to be excluded from access to these benefits.619 On the one hand, since parental leave rights, in both countries, are provided by labour laws tied to formal employment, it is expected that informal workers will be ineligible.620 On the other hand, as informal workers are generally unable to pay  social and labour protections coverage and the lack of representation by Trade Unions, informal workers are exposed to greater general and work-related risks. Ibid at 19 – 20.  616Ibid. 617 Ibid at 36. 618 Ibid. 619 A research study has noted that about 47% of workers in Argentina, among which a huge proportion are informal employees, are excluded from access to maternity and paternity leave benefits under the labour law. Delfina Schenone Sienra, supra note 60 at 9.  Also, Carolina Aulicino et al.  have referred to the exclusion of informal workers in Argentina. Carolina Aulicino et al, supra note 178 at 47-48. 620 “[I]nformal workers are ineligible for social protection that is tied to formal employment status, particularly contributory social insurance, such as pensions, maternity benefits, unemployment benefits and health insurance.” Martina Ulrichs, Informality, Women and Social Protection: Identifying Barriers to Provide Effective Coverage (2016) ODI Working Paper No 435 at 14 https://www.odi.org/sites/odi.org.uk/files/resource-documents/10525.pdf accessed 4 August 4, 2020 .  143  contributions, they might be excluded from social benefits that, as in the case of the LCL and EI parental leave benefits, are based on contributions.621 Considering the demographic differences in informal employment, the exclusion from parental leave rights appears more pervasive for some groups, reinforcing gender and social inequalities. For instance, in Argentina, given that women are more likely to be informally employed than men, they will also be more affected by the exclusion from maternity and paternity leave benefits. Similarly, lower-income persons, young and old people, people with lower educational attainment, and own-account self-employed workers report higher propensity to informal employment. Thus, these groups will be more often excluded from parental leave benefits. In Canada, the shortage of statistical data prevents an accurate estimation of the incidence of informal employment by gender and other grounds.     4.6 Final Thoughts In Argentina and Canada, workers engaged in part-time, self-employment, temporary, and informal employment encounter significant barriers that restrict access to parental leave benefits. However, there are remarkable differences between both countries and across different employment arrangements.  In Argentina, maternity and paternity leave provisions appear to be very inclusive for part-time and temporary workers. Given that the LCL’s benefits are granted independently of any previous period of employment, part-timers enjoy equal parental leave benefits as their  621 ILO, supra note 533 at 6. 144  full-time counterparts. Concerning temporary workers, although limited to the period of activity, they are also entitled to the same maternity and paternity leave benefits as standard workers. In contrast, self-employment and informal employment are worse off than other non-standard employment relationships. Excluded from the scope of the LCL, self-employed individuals and informal workers are ineligible for paternity and maternity leave benefits. In Canada, non-standard workers encounter different, though significant, barriers. This chapter revealed that part-time and temporary workers are often unable to qualify for parental leave benefits. The stringent eligibility criteria, especially the demonstration of employment attachment through the accumulation of insurable hours, result in the exclusion of many part-time and temporary workers.  As opposed to Argentina, the Canadian EI Act has extended the parental leave scheme to self-employment. Since 2011, self-employed individuals who have voluntarily opted into the EI system are eligible for maternity and parental leave benefits. Nevertheless, the voluntary character, the strict eligibility requirements, and the lack of flexibility discourage self-employed persons to take parental leave. Lastly, holding that informal employment, by its very nature, is not subject to social protection coverage, I inferred that it is likewise excluded from parental leave rights. However, further research is needed to shed light on the experience of informal workers in Canada. Throughout this chapter, I have shown that, among non-standard workers, some demographic groups were more likely excluded from parental leave benefits than others. Regarding gender differences, women appeared to be more affected than men. As women predominated in part-time jobs, in some forms of temporary employment, and informal work, they were more often excluded from parental leave rights. Furthermore, women from some 145  vulnerable groups, such as women from lower-income households, with lower educational attainment, and some racialized women, were even more likely excluded than other groups of women. Therefore, the barriers that restrict access to parental leave benefits for non-standard workers reinforce gender as well as social inequalities.      146  Chapter 5: Conclusion  Parental leave policies have been proposed as effective tools to redress gender inequality in the family and the labour market. These policies have the potential to bring gender equity in both axes by boosting men’s participation in unpaid care work while improving women’s opportunities in the labour market. Nevertheless, I have argued that due to the important transformations experienced by families and the labour market, to effectively promote substantive equality, parental leave regulations should be sensitive to these changes and address the diversity of families and employment arrangements. Parental leave policies that continue embracing assumptions about the traditional nuclear family and the standard worker will likely exclude many parents who do not fit these ideal models, reinforcing not only gender but also social inequalities.  This thesis examined the parental leave regulations of two countries: Argentina and Canada. These countries' parental leave systems exhibit relevant differences in the scope and type of benefits granted. In general, the Canadian parental leave legislation seems to be more inclusive and progressive than the Argentine. However, throughout the chapters, this thesis demonstrated that both countries rely on similar assumptions about family and worker models which restricts access to and the scope of benefits for some parents who do not meet these expectations. Through feminist lenses, I unpacked the legal assumptions regarding the nuclear family and standard worker that continue to underpin the compared parental leave systems. I demonstrated the effects of these assumptions on the inclusiveness in access to parental leave benefits. The research question that guided this study was to what extent the parental leave 147  regulations in Argentina and Canada provide equal access and scope of benefits for parents in different families and employment relationships. To answer this question, the study focused on two axes: family and work. Regarding the family axis, in Chapters 2 and 3, I demonstrated that despite the diversity of families in both countries, the nuclear family continues to be the ideal legal model in Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws. Both laws remain underpinned by assumptions about a nuclear family composed of two heterosexual parents and their biologically related children. Consequently, the diversity of families has not been reflected in the labour legislation and the specific needs of adoptive, same-sex parents, lone-parents, and multiple-parent families, among others, remain overlooked.  In Argentina, the LCL does not offer parental leave benefits for adoptive and same-sex parents. To access maternity and paternity leave benefits, these families must fill judicial complaints requesting the extension of the LCL benefits. In general, most Argentine courts and judges have understood the exclusion of these families as discriminatory and filled the gap in the labour legislation by extending parental leave benefits to adoptive and same-sex parents. Embedded on maternalistic perspectives, the Argentine law grants the same maternity leave benefits to lone and coupled mothers; however, the system overlooks the needs of male lone parents who can only take a two-day paternity leave benefit. In Canada, the total length of parental leave benefits varies across families. Excluded from maternity leave, adoptive families and male gay same-sex parents are not granted any leave benefit before the date of placement or childbirth. Lone-parent families, unable to share the benefit with a second parent, are excluded from the extra weeks provided under the Parental Sharing Benefit. In Argentina and 148  Canada, multi-parent families have not been recognized yet. In addition, in both countries, adoptive, LGBTQ+, lone-parents, and multi-parent families who hold lower-earning or precarious jobs may experience even greater barriers when seeking access to parental leave benefits, reinforcing social inequalities. Moving on to the second axis, employment relationships, in chapter 4, I assessed the inclusiveness of the Argentine and Canadian parental benefits for parents in different non-standard types of employment. In the first part of the chapter, I demonstrated that the standard full-time, full-year, dependent worker is still the preferred model in the parental leave regulations of both countries. Consequently, I noted that parents who engage in non-standard forms of employment may confront significant barriers when seeking access to parental leave benefits, and some of them, as is the case of informal workers, are directly excluded from the leave benefits.  In Argentina, informal and self-employed workers, excluded from the labour law protection, are unable to access LCL maternity and paternity leave benefits. In contrast, Part-time and temporary workers can qualify for these benefits; however, in several cases part-time and temporary work overlap with informal work and self-employment, leading to the exclusion of these workers from the parental leave system. Due to the high incidence of informal employment in Argentina, many workers, mostly women and lower-income persons, are excluded from access to parental leave benefits. In Canada, on the other hand, the EI parental leave benefits have been extended to self-employed workers who can opt into the system. Nevertheless, the voluntary basis of the EI system and the restrictions to continue working while on leave, among other factors, prevent self-employed parents from claiming the benefits. 149  Although the incidence of informal employment is lower in Canada than in Argentina, informal workers are also excluded from access to parental leave benefits in the former country. Part-time and temporary workers may find it difficult to meet the eligibility criteria to qualify for parental leave benefits in Canada. In addition, the low rate of income replacement granted under the Canadian parental leave system disproportionally affects parents in non-standard and informal employment, who are regularly paid less and less likely to receive top-up benefits than their standard counterparts. All in all, in both countries, access to parental leave benefits varies according to the parents’ employment statuses, being those on non-standard and informal employment relationships the most likely to be excluded from access to parental leave benefits.   Throughout all the chapters, feminist and intersectional perspectives were applied revealing that the legal assumptions that underpin the Argentine and Canadian parental leave regulations have significant implications for gender and social inequality. The nuclear family and the standard worker assumptions are embedded in a male-breadwinner/female-caregiver gender order and produce significant repercussions for gender equality. Further, the attachment to an ideal standard worker led to the exclusion of several non-standard workers, who are mostly women. Considering that part-time, informal, and other non-standard types of employment are connected to lower earnings and less job security, the exclusion of these workers reinforces gender and, at the same time, social inequalities. In Argentina and Canada, women, and LGBTQ+ parents from lower socio-economic sectors are the most likely excluded from parental leave benefits.  150  5.1 Recommendations Drawing on these conclusions, I suggest that the Argentine LCL and Canadian EI Act should be reformed to ensure equal access to parental leave benefits for all parents regardless of their familial organization and employment status. To effectively confer inclusive access to the benefits, the parental leave regulations of both countries should address the diversity of families and the multiplicity of employment relationships. Given the particular needs that different families and workers have, future reforms should be directed to accommodate the eligibility requirements as well as the scope of benefits to these specific needs. Although it might be difficult to address the complexity of families and employment relationships, it is important to begin advocating for a transformation of the parental leave systems that ensure inclusive access to and equal benefits for all parents. In addition to the general recommendations, I propose specific recommendations for legal reforms based on each of the analyzed axes: family and work.  5.1.1 Specific Recommendations To promote equal access to and scope of parental leave benefits for diverse families, the following amendments are suggested. The needs of adoptive families have not been properly addressed under the Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws. In Argentina, these parents are excluded from the scope of the parental leave regulations; therefore, to fill the legal gap, future reforms should extend the scope of the LCL regulations to include adoptive families. To address the needs of adoptive parents and adopted children even before the placement day, both countries should introduce pre-placement leave benefits. Furthermore, to 151  effectively promote gender equality and include LGBTQ+ parents, the Argentine parental leave legislation must urgently replace gendered terms with gender-inclusive vocabulary, as the Canadian LCL has already done. In addition, to ensure equal access for lone-parent families, both countries’ parental leave systems need to be reformed. In Canada, to extend the recently introduced Parental Sharing Benefit to lone families, specific provisions directed to lone parents should be added. It can be done either by directly granting the extra weeks to lone parents or allowing them to share the leave with a non-parent caregiver, such as grandparents or another extended family member. In Argentina, considering that the two days of paternity leave available for male lone-parent families is insufficient, these parents should be granted a longer leave benefit. To begin with, the period of 90 days granted to female lone parents could be extended to males. Lastly, to include multi-parent families, both Argentine and Canadian laws should avoid limiting access to parental leave benefits for two-parent families. The Argentine and Canadian parental leave laws also need to be reformed to ensure inclusive access for parents in different forms of non-standard and informal employment relationships. In the case of part-time and temporary employees, demonstrating employment attachment through the accumulation of insurable hours may be a highly restrictive requirement for them. Therefore, it is recommended to revise the Canadian EI parental leave legislation to progressively reduce the number of hours required to qualify. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hours threshold has been temporary reduced from 600 to 120 hours.622 This temporary amendment could serve as a precedent to impulse long-term changes  622 Canada, supra note 76. 152  in the Canadian parental leave system. In Canada, self-employed persons may opt into the EI parental leave system. However, to ensure effective access, the parental leave scheme should be extended on a compulsory rather than a voluntary basis. Also, self-employed parents would benefit from a more flexible leave system that allows them to continue working part-time while on leave instead of penalizing that option. In Argentina, the scope of the LCL parental leave system remains restricted to formal paid employment; therefore, the scope of the legislation should be widened to include self-employed parents. To grant access to parental leave benefits for informal and other non-standard workers, Argentina and Canada could introduce parental leave entitlements available for all parents on a citizenship-based eligibility criterion, rather than an employment insurance system. Some scholars, drawing on the experiences of European countries such as Germany, have proposed to implement mixed parental leave systems that combine two types of benefits.623 Like the Canadian EI Act and Argentine LCL, the suggested systems offer parental leave benefits according to employment-based eligibility requirements. However, countries with mixed systems also offer some universally available parental leave benefits which are granted to all parents regardless of their employment status. 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