Two decades after the fall of state socialism, the Czech Republic records the widest employment gap between women with and without pre-school children among OECD countries: 41 pp. Several substantial parental leave reforms took place during the first stage of the transition (1995) and after the EU accession (2008). The responses by the targeted population, i.e. take-up rates and duration of work interruptions, do not fully mimic predictable effects drawn by financial incentives. Why is that? Using the European Values Study and the Generations and Gender Programme panel data, I show that quite counter-intuitively, in the context of post-socialist public policy adjustments, preference for long leaves does not stem from lower preference for welfare state institutions, but from a purely intra-household value change in favour of higher task specialization between men and women. Indeed, unlike most European countries and even other post-communist countries, we observe a significant turn towards specialized couple preferences – among both women and men, both parents and non-parents, and both the higher and lower educated.