1887

Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life (Volume 2)

Austria, Ireland and Japan

image of Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life (Volume 2)

Raising children and having a career both rate highly as important life goals for many people. Helping parents to achieve these goals is vital for society: parental care plays a crucial role in child development and parental employment promotes economic prosperity. A failure to assist parents find their preferred work and family balance has implications for both labour supply and family decisions. This study considers how a wide range of policies, including tax/benefit policies, childcare policies, and employment and workplace practices, help determine parental labour market outcomes and family formation in Austria, Ireland and Japan.

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Tax/benefit Policy

Parental Work and Care Choices

The avowed policy objective in Austria, Ireland and Japan is to “Provide Choice to Parents”, but in practice policies and related outcomes differ markedly. Tax/benefit systems co-determine whether it pays for parents to work, work more hours, work few hours or not at all, so as to care for (very young) children on a full-time basis. The very different tax/benefit policies in the three countries under review contribute to significantly different outcomes in parental work and care choices. Low tax burdens in all three countries mean that work pays for most individuals. However, the intricacies of the Japanese benefit system provide incentives to second earners to keep their earnings at relatively low levels. Austrian policy is most generous in support to couple families where one parent chooses to provide full time care for a very young child, while its tax/benefit system favours second earners in couple families when children are older. Irish policy makers are most explicit in their quest to ensure equity between mothers regardless of their employment status, but reducing long-term benefit recipiency among single mothers remains an important policy challenge. This chapter also discusses employment support policies aimed at re-integrating parents into the labour force...

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