Family models are evolving rapidly in OECD countries. Only a few decades ago, most families followed the traditional married-couple male-breadwinner model. Today, families look very different. Partnering behaviours have changed substantially, and many more children are now living with unmarried cohabiting parents, in single-parent families or in “re-constituted” families. In the labour market, dual earning has become the norm for most couples in most OECD countries.

The changing nature of families and family life means that family policy must change, too. The OECD has long emphasised the need for governments to modernise and reinforce their family policy packages, starting with the Babies and Bosses series in the early- to mid-2000s. The common message throughout the OECD’s work is that family policy can only succeed if it provides co-ordinated, integrated assistance to all families in all their forms. This means offering families a continuum of support from birth up until adulthood, helping parents meet their work and family goals and protecting all families from poverty and disadvantage, whatever their circumstances.

This report on Spain builds on the rich body of OECD data and policy work on families and children. The report takes a look at family support and protection in Spain and reviews approaches to family policy in EU countries. The report proposes directions for reform to bring Spain’s family policy in line with evolving family models and expand investment in family support. Particular attention is devoted to incorporating family diversity into the national policy framework and addressing structural under-investment in family policies in order to improve family well-being, reduce child poverty and make family life easier for all.

The report was prepared in the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (ELS), under the supervision of Veerle Miranda and the senior leadership of Stefano Scarpetta (Director of ELS), Mark Pearson (Deputy Director of ELS) and Monika Queisser (Head of Social Policy). It was written by Sarah Kups and Veerle Miranda, with valuable contributions from Anna Escobedo (University of Barcelona), Martina Garcia Aisa, Jordi Ribot Igualada (University of Girona), Sophie Riding (independent consultant), Willem Adema and Olivier Thévenon. Lucy Hulett and Jayne Maddock provided logistical, publication and communications support during the project.

The Project was carried out with funding from the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme and in co-operation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM). The co-operation with Félix Barajas Villaluenga, Patricia Bezunartea Barrio and Ricardo Molero Simarro from the Spanish Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda, and Elisa Gómez Alemán from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Structural Reform Support has been instrumental for the project and the report.

The Project benefitted from input to policy questionnaires, discussions, virtual meetings and technical workshops with a wide range of stakeholders over the period November 2020 – July 2021, including representatives of the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda; Ministry of Health; Ministry of Labour and Social Economy; Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration; Ministry of Equality; Ministry of Education and Vocational Training; Ministry of Justice; Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda; Ministry of the Presidency; State Secretariat for the 2030 Agenda; regional social services; non-governmental organisations and associations working with families; and national and international family policy experts.

The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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