Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life

Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life

A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries You do not have access to this content

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Author(s):
OECD
Publication Date :
29 Nov 2007
Pages :
216
ISBN :
9789264032477 (PDF) ; 9789264032446 (print)
DOI :
10.1787/9789264032477-en

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Finding a suitable work/family life balance is a challenge that all parents face. Some people would like to have (more) children, but do not see how they could match that commitment with their employment situation. Other parents are happy with the number of children in their family, but would like to work more. Yet other parents who are happy with their family situation, may wish to work at different hours, or reduce hours worked to spend more time with their children. This book synthesises the finding of the 13 individual country reviews published previously and extends the scope to include other OECD countries, examining tax/benefit policies, parental leave systems, child care support, and workplace practices.

"...a good source for a socio-political analysis of OECD countries and comparative political hypothesis testing."

-Stan Silverberg, Catawba College 

"...a great way of helping students learn to read and interpret graphical data."

-Ken Wedding, author of The AP Comparative Government and Politics Examination: What You Need to Know, Second Edition


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    Reconciling Work and Family Life in OECD Countries: Main Findings and Policy Recommendations
    This chapter summarises the main findings of the Babies and Bosses reviews of work and family reconciliation policies in OECD countries. It introduces main issues and cross-national differences in policy objectives and approaches, and provides a concise overview of fertility trends and parental labour market outcomes. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the main policy recommendations which emerged from the reviews based on the analysis of tax/benefit policies, leave arrangements, childcare and out-of-school-hours care supports and workplace practices that affect the behaviour of families.
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    The Demographic and Family Environment
    This chapter compares demographic, family and social outcomes across OECD countries, and illustrates changing patterns in family formation, fertility behaviour and its relationship to employment trends and desired fertility outcomes.
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    Parents in Employment – Achievements and Challenges
    This chapter discusses parental employment patterns in OECD countries. The presence of children in households has little effect on how much men work, but it can profoundly affect maternal labour force behaviour. In general, mothers have strengthened their labour market attachment in recent decades, but there are considerable differences in employment patterns across countries. Apart from the discussion of employment trends and how maternal employment outcomes vary with the age and number of children, this chapter also considers gender wage gaps and gender differences in the contribution to household earnings, as well as joblessness among families and the related issue of family poverty.
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    Tax and Benefit Systems and the Work Choices by Parents
    This chapter discusses key characteristics of tax and benefit systems across the OECD, and the support they provide to families and children. The chapter looks at spending on family benefits and its implications for the reconciliation of work and family life, and the degree of targeting of public support on low-income groups. It then considers how tax/benefit systems alter financial incentives to work for second earners in couple families and how they affect the distribution of paid work in these families. The chapter also discusses how tax/benefit systems may provide sole parents with financial incentives to work, and how differences in the general policy stance towards sole parents contribute to marked differences in benefit dependency among these families across OECD countries.
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    Parental Leave to Care for Children
    This chapter discusses child-related leave provision in OECD countries. It starts with a summary of different child-related leave programmes, and then considers their effects in view of public policy goals such as enhanced child development, greater labour supply and gender equity.
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    Formal Child and Out-of-School-Hours Care Support
    This chapter discusses public childcare and early education services as well as out-of-school-hours care. It describes past policy trends and current drivers of public investment in childcare. The chapter then provides an overview of formal public childcare and early education supports, including funding mechanisms, and discusses provision of early years’ services across OECD countries, before different aspects of quality and out-of-school-hours care services are considered. Before concluding, the chapter examines parental childcare fees and whether work pays after taking into account the cost of childcare.
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    Family-friendly Workplace Practices
    Working hours are very important to people trying to reconcile work and family life. They differ enormously across countries, but also within countries, with different types of workers having different access to different types of flexible workplace measures. The first section of this chapter illustrates cross-national differences in usual working hours, and documents national policy differences on weekly working hours, paid annual leave and the part-time employment conditions. Subsequent sections illustrate the potential business case for family-friendly workplaces, with some practices (e.g. part-time work, flexitime) being more prevalent than others (e.g. teleworking, childcare support). The chapter concludes with a discussion of different public policy approaches to extending family-friendly workplace practices, which range from encouragement of employers to expand such provisions, to ensuring that all workers have some access to family-friendly workplace support.
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