Doing Better for Families

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All OECD governments want to give parents more choice in their work and family decisions. This book looks at the different ways in which governments support families. It seeks to provide answers to questions like: Is spending on family benefits going up, and how does it vary by the age of the child? Has the crisis affected public support for families? What is the best way of helping adults to have the number of children they desire? What are the effects of parental leave programmes on female labour supply and on child well-being? Are childcare costs a barrier to parental employment and can flexible workplace options help? What is the best time for mothers to go back to work after childbirth? And what are the best policies to reduce poverty among sole parents?

English Also available in: French, Korean, Spanish

The balance of family policy tools – benefit packages, spending by age and families with young children

Across OECD countries, public spending on family benefits makes up, on average, one-tenth of total net public social spending. Since the mid-1990s, there has been a trend increase in spending on in-kind benefits (in particular childcare services), while spending on cash transfers has been relatively stable, even though it remains the most important of the family benefits. Before the age of three, and more often immediately following birth, poverty risks for families with young children are at their highest. In around two-thirds of OECD countries, some families can expect to experience either deep or persistent (two or more consecutive years) poverty if one parent stops working. A review of age-related spending on children also reveals that in many countries spending on education is prioritised, and often families with older children benefit most. Family policies were scaled up during the early crisis period as part of the stimulus packages but, with countries now moving into fiscal consolidation, resources for family policies are also being affected.

English Also available in: French

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