The Relative Generosity of the EU-15 Member States’ Child Policies
The main purpose of this project is to analyse the influence of labour market conditions and social policies on the fertility decisions of young people in order to contribute to the design of better policies at European and national levels to facilitate combination of parenthood and work. Chapter I presents a broader picture on women’s current labour force participation according to motherhood status in the 15 countries of the former EU. The chapter also discusses related European Union policies. More in particular, the chapter examines the influence of the presence of children on labour force participation of women in comparison with that of men. It further explains how men and women allocate differently their time between paid and unpaid work, for example, housework and childcare activities. The chapter finally looks at the influence of the presence of children on wages of men and women. The most important policy-relevant finding is that labour market policies should be aimed to encourage women’s participation by reducing the costs of working, while social policies should help women to better reconcile work and motherhood. In particular European countries where less women work need more flexible labour markets (with more part-time and self-employment opportunities, without wage penalty), more husbands sharing responsibilities in domestic tasks, especially when there are children and public policies to increase childcare services, the length and co-division with the partner of parental leaves. Chapter II shows a summary of the detailed and in-depth analyses of those state interventions that are likely to affect women’s fertility decisions and the opportunities for women with children to work in the market. Particularly, the chapter explains the indicators that measure each EU-15 member state’s generosity in each of the three fields of family friendly policies, namely public childcare, care leaves (maternity and paternity leaves) and child tax and cash benefits. The
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