Appendices

Author:European Union Publications Office
Pages:123-161
SUMMARY

Appendix 1. The work programme for the national reports. The work programme for Part A: The ‘Make work pay debates’. 1. The current national focus on ‘making work pay’ in the social protection system. 2. An evaluation of the emphasis of the policy initiative or debate from a gender perspective. 3. An evaluation of the policy impact from a gender and social inclusion perspective. The work programme for Part B: ‘Supporting employment for those with care responsibilities for children’. Appendix Tables. Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries. Table A.2. The impact of maternity/parental leave provisions on re-integration. Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children.

 
INDEX
CONTENT

Page 123

Appendix 1 The work programme for the national reports
The work programme for Part A: The ‘Make work pay debates’
1. The current national focus on ‘making work pay’ in the social protection system

The national experts were asked to focus their report on a recent national policy initiative or proposal to reform some part of the tax/benefit system which had the objective of reducing barriers and financial disincentives in the social protection system for low-income groups and groups at risk of social exclusion (the unemployed, the inactive, or the low-paid employed, immigrants or ethnic minorities).

Several reference points were used to identify the policy for the focus of the national expert’s report were various. National experts for EU Member States were asked to refer to the previous NAP for Social Inclusion, supplemented by reference to the previous NAP for Employment where appropriate. Experts were also asked to consult other relevant government policy documents as either a supplement (experts for EU Member States) or as an alternative source (experts for non-EU countries) of information to that contained in the NAPs.

For countries where recent initiatives or proposals are absent at a government level experts were asked to identify and use an influential proposal for reform that had been advanced by either a social partner (trade union associations, employers associations) or other important social actors (e.g. feminist or equality bodies, anti-poverty groups) or independent researchers (e.g. from universities or research institutes). Here a guiding point for defining ‘influential’ was that the proposal had stimulated some degree of public debate.

For countries where there is a lot of debate and proposals concerning different aspects of the social protection system experts were asked to delineate the focus of their report by firstly giving a brief indication of the range of the debate (including highlighting whether it relates to any concerns about immigrants or ethnic minorities), and then to focus on one area of policy initiative/proposal concerned with ‘making work pay’ for their report. This might, for example, focus on unemployment benefits, tax/benefits for the employed on low incomes, financial support and incentives for participants in active labour market training/job search schemes or low income families with dependent children. The experts were asked to explain the reasoning behind their selection (e.g. recently implemented; influential and likely to be implemented; controversial and generating debate among the social actors; has a particular gender impact which is either neglected or disputed in the national debates; any other reasons which are important from your national context).

2. An evaluation of the emphasis of the policy initiative or debate from a gender perspective

Having selected the policy initiative or debate for the focus of the report, the experts were asked to provide the following information and evaluation:

• To describe the content of the policy initiative/proposal and to identify the main conceptual and policy emphasis in the ‘policy problem’ and ‘policy solution’ (i.e. the explicit target group(s) for the policy, the issues identified as a problem and in need of reform and the solution that is proposed/has been implemented).

• To explain how the policy is intended to enhance work incentives (e.g. does it involve a restructuring of financial support and if so, does this involve a reduction or increase in the level of support? Does it focus on financial redistribution through the tax/benefit system or on access to services and other forms of support for employment, such as childcare or training?) and whether it focuses on ‘individual’ or ‘household’ work incentives.

• To evaluate whether a gender perspective has been present or absent in the conceptualisation of the ‘policy problem’ and the design of the ‘policy solution’. Was there an explicit gender impact assessment or reference to genderPage 124 mainstreaming in the policy design? Was the policy presented on the basis that it will contribute to promoting gender equality (for example by reducing gender gaps in employment rates or in the domestic division of care work or in poverty rates)?

3. An evaluation of the policy impact from a gender and social inclusion perspective

In the final section the experts were asked to discuss the actual or potential impact of the policy initiative/proposal on the intended target group(s), as well as other groups which were not an explicit focus of the policy, and to highlight any particular issues concerning the situation of immigrants or ethnic minorities in relation to this policy initiative where this was relevant. The experts were asked to refer to at least one relevant and major evaluation study and to:

• Summarise the results of the evaluation and to explain the interest groups/political position represented by the organisation presenting the evaluation;

• Highlight and evaluate any significant, conflicting results from different evaluations where these existed;

• Assess whether a gender perspective was integrated into the evaluation (Is there a gender impact assessment or reference to gender mainstreaming or discussion of gender equality issues?); and

• If an evaluation does not exist, or is inadequate because it neglects either (a) the gender impact or (b) other relevant considerations from a social inclusion or anti-poverty perspective then experts were asked to provide a short opinion of the potential impact based on their expert understanding and empirical knowledge of gender relations, labour markets and social inclusion policies.

The work programme for Part B: ‘Supporting employment for those with care responsibilities for children’

For each of the seven sets of questions please do not just answer yes/no; please

(i) summarise the policy elements so that someone unfamiliar with the system can understand how it operates

(ii) highlight any gender differences in the policy impact (actual or potential impact)

  1. Are there particular financial incentives to exit or remain in employment created by the tax and benefit system (e.g. child-related payments/tax allowances targeted at low income/all non-employed parents?)

  2. Do the arrangements for maternity and parental leave create incentives to exit or remain in employment? And do people on parental leave retain their employment contract and associated benefits? Are there policy measures targeted at men to encourage them to take parental leave?

  3. Are there problems of eligibility for access to refresher training or lifelong learning for those currently taking or finishing an extended period of leave?

  4. Are there particular problems of eligibility for access to active labour market policies, for example for someone who loses their job while on parental leave due to the firm closing?

  5. Are there childcare problems (availability, cost)? Note the cost issue can feed into the financial trap listed in 1) above.

  6. Are there in-work benefits for employed parents with low incomes? If so, do they create financial dis/incentives against increasing hours/earned income?

  7. Are there any key features of the quality of the jobs available which limit the viability or sustainability of employment e.g. low wage levels; job instability; time schedules which are incompatible with care responsibilities; gender segregated job openings (e.g. predominance of female-dominated service jobs for the low qualified); specific aspects of gender discrimination by employers?

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Appendix Tables
Table A 1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries

Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  1. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  2. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  3. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  4. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  5. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  6. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    A) Pre-2004 Member States

    Country

    BE

  7. Maternity leave: 15 weeks (one week must be taken before the birth and 8 weeks after the birth). Paid at 82% of earnings for the first month, and 75% of earnings (up to a maximum level) for the remaining period (in the civil service mothers are paid 100% of their earnings). If hospital for more than 8 weeks, the mother may take her remaining period of post-natal leave after the child is discharged. A 1991 law enables fathers to take the post-natal period of leave if the mother is dead or seriously ill.

  8. Paternity leave: 10-day paternity leave. 3 days paid at 100% of earnings in the private sector. In some public institutions fathers are entitled to 4 days paid leave at 100% of earnings and another 6 days paid at 82% by the health insurance office.

  9. Parental leave: Each parent is entitled to 3 months full-time/6 months half-time leave, which can be taken until the child is 4 years old (or 8 years if the child has a handicap; or during the 7 year period after adoption). Leave is an individual entitlement, not transferable between leave receive a flat rate benefit payment of approximately BF 20 000 per month.

  10. Fathers have an individual non-transferable entitlement – see c) above.

  11. Yes, part-time parental leave and other fractioning is possible. ll-time 'career break' and if employed at least 3/4 time can request to work half-time, for a period ranging from 6 months to 5 years.

  12. Since January 1999, 'career breaks' are an individual entitlement for all workers (except for workers at managerial level or working in companies with less than 10 employees). Under this system, workers may take up to 5 years of full-time leave and if employed at least 3/4 time can request half-time leave over the course of their working lives. Workers using this measure receive a flat-rate payment, approximately BF 12 000 a month for a full-time 'career break', with a reduced payment if taking part-time leave. But a higher payment is made if leave is taken within 6 years of birth or adoption of a second child (approximately BF 13 000 a month for a full-time 'career break'), or of a third or higher order child (approximately BF 14 000 a month for a full-time 'career break'). The only condition now is that the employer must be prepared to accept a previously unemployed worker as a replacement. The employer can also defer the employee’s career break, if s/he is satisfied that taking leave would have a serious adverse effect on the operation of the business. Leave may be taken for any reason including the care of children; it seems likely that it is mostly taken to enable mothers to care for children. Workers can take a career break of between 3 and 12 months; but the length of the career break can be longer if the worker applies for an extension at the end of the initial period.

    Page 126

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  13. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  14. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  15. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  16. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  17. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  18. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    DK

  19. Maternity leave: 18 weeks (4 weeks before birth; at least 2 weeks after the birth). Maternity benefits are calculated (as sickness benefits) on the basis of the hourly pay for employees and on the basis of the income from the business activities for self-employed. In both cases, the maximum amount payable is the level of unemployment benefit (DKR 3 205/week in 2004).

  20. Paternity leave: 2 consecutive weeks during the 14 weeks of maternity leave. Paid as for maternity leave.

  21. Parental leave: After the 14th week after the birth the parents are both entitled to benefits for a period of 32 weeks (64 weeks in total) until the child is 9 years old, and between them are entitled to benefits for a total period of 32 weeks. Payment calculated as for maternity and paternity leave.

  22. These weeks can be divided freely between the mother and father; this means that they can be taken by the parents at the same time, as alternating periods or as consecutive periods. The system is very flexible. First, families are given the option of postponing part of the leave to be taken later. The period that may be taken at a later date is between 8 and 13 weeks; if they wish to postpone a longer period, this must be agreed with the employer. Thirdly, the parents have a right to prolong the 32 weeks' leave to either 40 weeks (for all) or 46 weeks (only employed persons). The right to benefits is reduced so that it corresponds to 32 weeks at the full rate of benefit.

  23. There are no parental leave weeks compensated with payment reserved for the father (aside from the 2 weeks paternity leave), but the 32 weeks unpaid leave can only be taken by the father if the mother has exhausted the 32 weeks paid leave. Formerly there were 2 weeks paid leave reserved for the father once the child was 6 months old, but this restriction was removed on the basis that this would make the system more flexible.

  24. Parental leave provides good opportunities for returning to work on a part-time basis subject to agreement with the employer. It is also possible to prolong the period on benefit so that benefits will be paid during the entire period of leave. This means, for instance, that a parent may work half-time and thus prolong the leave period from 32 to 64 weeks.

  25. Not mentioned.

    DE

  26. Maternity leave: 14 weeks (Six weeks before birth; 8 weeks after the birth plus an extra 4 weeks for multiple/premature births). Paid at 100% of earnings.

  27. Paternity leave: None, fathers can take parental leave while the mother is on leave.

  28. Parental leave: Each family is entitled to full-time leave until a child reaches 36 months, and may postpone 12 months of the 36 until the child is 8 years old (similar provisions for adopted children). Leave therefore is a family entitlement; leave can be taken by the mother or the father, or both, and can be blocked up to 4 times. The restated law is valid for births since 2001. It distinguishes between two possibilities, a regular benefit (307 euro) and a budget benefit (460 euro). Both benefits are income-related and linked with the number of children. The payments are flat rate for the first 6 months (paid irrespective of whether the parents had been in employment or not). After 6 months a payment is available for another 18 months but it is means tested and only a small number of households are entitled to the full amounts. All parents may postpone 12 months of the overall 36 months leave period till the eight birthday of the child. All employed parents on parental leave are counted as employees, the allowance is 300 6 months, afterwards for another 18 months a maximum of 300 euro but it is means-tested.

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    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  29. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  30. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  31. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  32. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  33. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  34. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    DE

  35. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers. Both parents are entitled to take parental leave, even at the same time (before only one parent could take the leave).

  36. During parental leave each parent may work at least 30 hours a week (previously only 19 hours/week). If parents decide to take shorter parental leave, the allowance is higher per month: 460 euro. The parent taking leave is entitled to work part-time, between 15 to 30 hours a week for any employer (unless the employer from whom the parent is on leave has a valid operational reason for objecting to the parent working).

  37. The employees has – in enterprises with at least 15 employees – a right to work part-time. Germany changed the act on part-time employment in 2001, and strengthened individual employees´ position in the bargaining process over part-time and full-time, and the first data show some effects: in 2001 85 000 persons (thereof 66 000 women) requested a reduction in working time. Most employers accepted the wishes, 17 court decisions concerning the right to part-time had been counted, thereof 12 court decisions had been in favour of the employee (DGB Bundesvorstand 2003: 12).

    EL

  38. Maternity leave: 5 calendar months (2 before, 3 after confinement) in the public sector (in case of adoption, 3 calendar months in the first six months’ period after the completion of the adoption). Payment at 100% of earnings. In the private sector 17 calendar weeks (8 before, 9 after confinement), payment at 100% of earnings, the largest part of which is paid by social security and employment organisations and only a very small extent by the employer. In both sectors the leave for the above mentioned period is mandatory.

  39. Paternity leave: the working father is entitled to 2 days paid paternity leave in the private sector.

  40. Parental leave: An unpaid individual non-transferable entitlement: in the private sector 3.5 months for a child under 3.5 years of age for all workers with at least one year of service with the same employer (all children including those adopted or born outside marriage); in the public sector up to 2 years for a child under 6 years of age for all workers with at least one year service. In both sectors the leave is unpaid and there is no social security benefit to replace wage loss. In the private sector workers can choose to pay both their own and the employer’s social security contributions in order to retain social security coverage. Most parents in Greece do not take extended leave.

  41. Fathers have an unpaid, individual non-transferable entitlement – see c) above.

  42. Not mentioned.

  43. Until recently, the paid childcare leave, to which mothers/parents are entitled immediately after the end of maternity leave, took the form of reduced daily working hours in both the public and private sectors. The right of mothers/parents to a continuous absence from work for an equivalent time was only introduced in 1999 in the public sector and 2003 in the private sector. This new right, which today represents the only opportunity to take an extended period of paid leave for child minding purposes, has already become very popular in the public sector. In the private one it is conditional on the employer’s consent. The details of the scheme in the private sector are that during the 30-month period after the end of maternity leave, a working mother (or a working father, if she does not make use) is entitled to start work 1 hour later or to leave work 1 hour sooner; or if the employer agrees she may work two hours less per day for the first year and 1 hour less per day for the next 6 months or take a leave period of equivalent time duration. In the public sector a mother that is a civil servant is entitled to work 2 hours less per day for children under 2 years and 1 hour less for children aged 2-4 years; if the mother does not make use of the above mentioned reduced working hours, she is entitled to 9 months’ paid leave; there is no such entitlement if her husband (also a civil servant) is on parental leave. In both the public and the private sector, this leave is paid and considered as employment time for labour and social security benefits. There is also additional childcare leave for lone parents. In the private sector widows, widowers and unmarried parents who have the custody of a child up to 12 years of age are entitled to 6 working days per year paid additional leave for caring purposes (8 days in the case of parents of three or more children). It can be taken continuously or not, but cannot precede the beginning or follow the end of holidays. This kind of leave was introduced by Article 7 of the National General Collective Agreement 2002/2003.

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    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  44. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  45. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  46. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  47. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  48. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  49. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    ES

  50. Maternity leave: 16 weeks + 2 weeks extra for multiple births (At least 6 weeks must be taken after the birth). Payment at 100% of earnings, (up to a maximum level, in practice payments are 100% of earnings). The mother may chose to transfer part of her maternity leave, up to a maximum of 4 weeks, to the father.

  51. Paternity leave: 2 days, paid at 100% of earnings. The mother may choose to transfer part of the end of her maternity leave, up to a maximum of 4 weeks, to the father.

  52. Parental leave: There is a ‘short leave’ of 10 weeks which is part of the maternity leave statutory right (paid at 100% of earnings) of which 4 weeks can be transferred from the mother to the father or alternatively both can share this leave period at the same time (but without interruption to the leave period). In total each family is entitled to full-time leave until the child is 3 years old, to be taken by either the mother or the father, but only one parent may take leave at any one time after the ‘short leave’ period. Parental leave is unpaid after the ‘short leave’ period. Employers' social security payments are reduced if they hire an unemployed substitute for an employee on maternity or parental leave.

  53. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers and there is no provision to encourage/ensure the father to take up leave.

  54. Not mentioned.

  55. During the first 9 months after birth, employed mothers or fathers have the right to one hour of absence from work per day, without loss of earnings; this period can be divided into two half-hours or may be replaced by a half-hour shortening of the normal working day. In addition, parents with a child under 6, or a disabled child, can reduce their working hours by between a third and half, but with no compensation for lost earnings. This can be claimed by both parents at the same time. Efforts are made in collective agreements to facilitate the compatibility of working hours with school hours with the introduction of flexible schedules and a reduction of working time, particularly in the summer holidays.

    FR

  56. Maternity leave: 14 weeks or 24 weeks for a third or subsequent child (4 weeks must be taken before the birth). Additional leave for multiple births. Paid at 84% of earnings (but not taxed) but most collective agreements and civil service conditions provide for a supplement in order to guarantee full pay.

  57. Paternity leave: 11 days, to be taken within four months following the birth, and remunerated like maternity leave. Fathers are entitled to 3 days from their employers.

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    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  58. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  59. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  60. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  61. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  62. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  63. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    FR

  64. Parental leave: Each family is entitled to full-time leave until a child reaches 36 months. Leave therefore is a family entitlement; leave can be taken by the mother or the father, or the parents may share the leave between them, one following the other. They receive a flat-rate benefit payment if they have two or more children of 460 euro per month (more than half the 'SMIC' or guaranteed minimum wage). The benefit is paid at a reduced ing leave works on a part-time basis (305 euro per month if working under 20 hours a week; 229 euro if working between 20 and 32 hours a month). Parents taking leave received no benefit payment if they have had only one child until January 2004. However, they are now also able to benefit from this allowance within 6 months following the maternity leave. Eligibility conditions for receiving a benefit payment are more restrictive for parents with only two children compared to parents with three or more. In the former case parents are only eligible if they have worked for at least two years out of the five preceding birth; in the latter case parents are eligible if they have worked two years at any time in the last 10 years preceding birth. Parents are also entitled to an allowance when they take a temporary leave to care for their sick children. The benefit is paid during 6 months and is renewable once.

  65. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers. Parental leave is a family rather than individual entitlement and therefore although parents can share the right to parental leave mothers predominately take up this leave.

  66. The parent taking leave may work part-time (defined as between 16 and 32 hours per month).

  67. During the first year after birth, employed women who are breast-feeding are allowed two breaks per day from their employment, each of 30 minutes.

    IE

  68. Maternity leave: 18 weeks paid (at least 2 weeks must be taken after the birth) plus optional 8 weeks unpaid leave. Payment made at 70% of earnings (but not taxed) for the basic 18 weeks.

  69. Paternity leave: None. Special arrangements between employers and employees, e.g. in the case of the Civil Service, exist where a 3-day parental leave with pay following the birth or adoption of their child is granted but these are entirely discretionary.

  70. Parental leave: Each parent has an individual non-transferable entitlement to 14 weeks unpaid leave, which can be taken until the child is 5 years old (or, in the case of a child adopted between the ages of 3 and 8 years, leave must be taken within 2 years of the adoption order). The employer can postpone the leave for up to 6 months if s/he is satisfied that taking leave would have a serious adverse effect on the operation of the business.

  71. Fathers have an unpaid, individual non-transferable entitlement – see c) above.

  72. Parental leave may be taken as a continuous block of 14 weeks or, if the employer agrees, may be taken in shorter blocks spread over a longer period of time; for example, the time may be broken down into individual days or weeks or taken in the form of reduced hours of work.

  73. The Carer’s Leave Act (2001) provides for an entitlement up to a maximum of 65 weeks unpaid leave in order to provide full-time care. The Parental Leave Act of 1998, as amended in July 2000, also provides an entitlement to limited paid ‘force majeure’ leave for urgent family reasons owing to the injury or illness of an immediate family member, in circumstances where the presence of the employee, at the place where the family member is ill or injured, is indispensable. The employee may not be absent on ‘force majeure’ leave for more than 3 days in any period of 12 consecutive months or 5 days in any period of 36 months.

    Page 130

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  74. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  75. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  76. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  77. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  78. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  79. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    IT

  80. Maternity leave: 5 months (20 weeks) before/after childbirth, payment at 80% of her salary.

  81. Paternity leave: None.

  82. Parental leave: entitlement is for 10 months leave after maternity leave, to be taken at any time until the child is 8 years old; this is extended to 11 months if the father takes at least 3 months leave. Leave is therefore a family entitlement, which parents can mostly share between themselves, but with some limitations on how parents can choose to share the leave providing an incentive for the father to use leave ('use it or lose it'). Parents taking leave receive a benefit payment equivalent to 30% of earnings up to a maximum of 6 months for children under 3 years of age (unpaid for the rest of the period). In the case of parents who have a child with a serious disability, the period of leave can be extended to the child's third birthday, paid at 30% of earnings, or may be taken as two hours a day of paid leave.

  83. Leave is a family entitlement, which parents can mostly share between themselves, but with some limitations on how parents can choose to share the leave providing some incentive for the father to use leave ('use it or lose it').

  84. There is no legal right to request part-time working hours.

  85. There is no legal right to request flexible working patterns.

    LU

  86. Maternity leave: 16 weeks (+4 weeks extra for multiple births; 8 weeks to be taken before the birth). Paid at 80% of earnings. This leave is conditional on being employed at least 6 months before the beginning of the leave. There is an entitlement to a childbirth allowance (‘allocation de naissance’) of 1 656.29 euro (06.201977 law) and a maternity allowance (‘allocation de maternité’) is given to the mother of a newborn child who does not receive any other earnings (wage, maternity cash benefits) during the 8 weeks before the birth and the 8 weeks after the birth. The allowance is 184.67 euro per week during a maximum of 16 weeks for a total of 2 954.77 euro (04.30.1980 law).

  87. Paternity leave: Two days after birth and paid at 100% of earnings.

  88. Parental leave: Each employed parent has an individual, non-transferable entitlement to 6 months full-time leave or up to 12 months part-time leave. Leave can be taken until the child is 5 years old (this applies to one parent; the other parent must take parental leave immediately after maternity leave). One parent can opt to receive a flat-rate benefit payment paid over 22 months at LF 16 640 per month, but without guarantee of re-employment (i.e. allowance is not linked to parental leave); or s/he can opt for a flat-rate benefit payment of LF 60 000 per month (net of tax) for 6 months, with a guarantee of re-employment (i.e. parental leave can be paid for one parent). For eligibility, parents must have a tenure of at least one year with the same employer. The parental leave allowance is close to the minimum wage (SSM), 1 692.66 euros for a full-time leave and 846.33 euro for a part-time leave.

  89. Fathers have an individual non-transferable entitlement, but the leave is only paid for one parent – see c) above.

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    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  90. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  91. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  92. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  93. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  94. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  95. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    LU

  96. Yes. Each parent is entitled to request 3 months full-time leave which can be spread over 6 months on a part-time basis.

  97. Not mentioned.

    AT

  98. Maternity leave: 16 weeks (+4 extra for multiple births/premature births; 8 weeks to be taken before the birth). Paid at 100% of earnings. Employed women who are breast-feeding are allowed one 45 minute break a day if working between 4.5 and 8 hours a day.

  99. Paternity leave: None.

  100. Parental leave: Each family is entitled to full-time leave until a child reaches 24 months (or 4 years old if taken part-time). Parents can share the leave between themselves but it can only be transferred once between parents. The father can only claim parental leave if the mother meets the eligibility conditions (i.e. the father's entitlement is dependent on the mother). Parents taking leave receive a flat-rate benefit payment of ATS 185.50. A higher rate is available for single parents or a parent with a partner on a low income [ATS 267.70 per day], but the difference between this rate and the basic rate is treated as a loan to be repaid by the parent(s). If only the mother takes leave, then benefit is paid until the child reaches 18 months; but if the father takes some leave, the benefit can be paid until the child is 24 months (i.e. in the case of a lone mother or of a partnered mother who takes all the leave, any leave taken between 18 and 24 months is unpaid. Although childcare benefit can be claimed until a child’s third birthday, the duration of parental leave is limited until the second birthday of the child.

  101. Leave is a family entitlement, but an additional 6 months of leave is paid if the father takes some leave, thus providing some incentive for the father to use part of the leave period, see c) above.

  102. Part-time leave may be taken, and if certain conditions are met this leave can be extended until the child is 4 years old; the number of hours worked must be reduced by at least two-fifths. A reduced benefit is paid to parents taking part-time leave, corresponding to the reduction of hours up to a maximum of half the normal benefit payment. The right to part-time work until the child’s seventh birthday and after that, the right to return to full-time is limited to companies employing more than 20 staff and the claimant must have been employed with the same employer for at least 3 years. All other parents can negotiate a reduction of working time until the child’s fourth birthday. The additional-earnings threshold of 14 600 euro for claimants of childcare benefit per year also applies to parents choosing part-time work. Parents working in well-paid jobs will thus find it harder or even impossible in future to reduce working hours in order to look after their children while claiming childcare benefit.

  103. A new regulation provides for payment of parental leave allowance if the parent takes up short-term employment; this is intended to enable parents to maintain contact with employment.

    PT

  104. Maternity leave: 17 weeks (120 days; at least 90 days after confinement. Extra days leave for legal or spontaneous miscarriage and multiple births). Payment at 100% of earnings. During the first year after birth, employed women who are breast-feeding are allowed two breaks a day from employment, up to a maximum of 1 hour for each break.

    Page 132

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  105. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  106. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  107. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  108. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  109. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  110. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    PT

  111. Paternity leave: 5 days, consecutive or not, during the first month after childbirth. This leave is compulsory since January 2004. Fathers can also share the maternity leave, in case of physical or mental incapacity of the mother or based on a joint decision made by both parents. have to take the first 6 weeks after confinement. This benefit is granted for the same period of time the mother would have the right to it. In the event of the mother's death, the period is a minimum of 14 days. Fathers are entitled, in their own right, to leave and the accompanying maternity benefit payment in the case of the mother's death or disability; or in the case of the mother attending a training course that might be affected by a long period of absences.

  112. Parental leave: Each parent is entitled to an individual non-transferable unpaid period of 6 months full-time leave which can be taken until the child is 3 years old. In the case of the birth of a third or higher order child, 2 to 3 years can be taken. A period of 100 days adoption leave can be taken until the child is 3 years old; parents taking this leave are entitled to a benefit payment. To assist children under the age of 10 and disabled children, regardless of their age, employees are entitled to a maximum period of 30 days of absence per calendar year and per child. In the event of hospitalisation, the father or the mother may be absent from work throughout the period of hospitalisation. To care for a child under the age of 6 years, the father or the mother have the right to parental leave of 3 months or to work half time for 6 months.

  113. The father is entitled to 15 days of parental leave at the equivalent to 100% of earnings, provided that these days immediately follow the paternity or maternity leave.

  114. To care for a child under the age of 6 years, the father or the mother have the right to parental leave of 3 months or to work half-time for 6 months.

  115. Parents of children up to age 12 (or with no age limit, if disabled or chronically ill) are entitled to work part-time or to have flexible working hours. Mothers and fathers are allowed two breaks a day from employment, up to a maximum of 1 hour for each break, until the child’s first birthday or until the child stops being breastfed (in the case of mothers). Based on an agreement with the employer, these two breaks frequently turn into a 2-hour reduction of the daily working time. Employers and employees may negotiate a delay of 2 hours of the starting working time or an anticipation of the same length of the finishing working time.

    FI

  116. Maternity leave: 17.5 weeks (i.e. 105 working days including Saturdays). At least 5 weeks must be taken before the birth and 9.5 weeks after. between 43% and 82% of previous earnings – the higher the earnings, the lower the percentage paid. The average rate is 66% of previous earnings.

  117. Paternity leave: Up to 18 weekdays. 1 week (i.e. 6 working days) paid as for maternity leave. During the paternity leave fathers are paid paternity allowance.

  118. Parental leave: Each family is entitled to 26 weeks of parental leave (i.e. 158 working days including Saturdays), extended by 10 weeks in the case of multiple births, to be taken after maternity leave. Paid as for maternity leave. The entitlement to parental allowance begins immediately after payment of the maternity allowance ends. Parental allowance is normally paid for 158 weekdays and it can be paid either to the mother or the father. In case of multiple births, the payment period is extended by 60 weekdays for each additional child born. Maternity, paternity and parental allowances are taxable income. They are calculated on the basis of the parents’ gross income, being at most 70% of the salary. The minimum allowance is 11.45 euro (2004) per day, which is paid if the recipient has no or very low income. Since 2003, it has been possible to extend the parental leave by a ‘bonus’ of 1 to 12 weekdays if the father also takes the last 12 days of the parental allowance period. The extension must be taken in a single period immediately following the parental allowance period.

    Page 133

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  119. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  120. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  121. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  122. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  123. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  124. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    FI

  125. In addition, each family is entitled to a further period of care leave available until a child is 3 years old. Parents taking this leave receive a low flat-rate benefit payment – the child home care allowance, with a supplement according to family size and income (the average home care allowance was 346 euro/month in 2002). This basic national payment may be supplemented by local authorities if they wish to do so and the average payment made by local authorities (168 euro/month on average). The payment for parents taking this type of leave is conditional on their child being under 3 years of age and not attending publicly-funded childcare institutions. Both parental and care leaves are therefore family entitlements, between them. Each parent is entitled to take both parental and care leaves in two blocks (i.e. in each type of leave, parents in a two parent family can split leave into four blocks shared between themselves). Since 1998, a parent can take care leave in more than two blocks, with the agreement of her or his employer.

  126. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers. Although parents can share the right to parental leave most fathers use their right to the paternity allowance only, taking on average 14 days. Only a small minority (2.6%) of the entitled fathers also received parental allowance in 2002, on average for 64 days (Statistical Year 2002). There are ‘bonus-days’ for the father, introduced in 2003, which can only be used if the father takes the last 12 days of the parental allowance period, too.

  127. Since the beginning of the 1990s, parents have been able to take part-time childcare leave, i.e. reduce their working hours and receive an allowance until their child is 3 years old, at 25% of the flat-rate payment for parents taking Care Leave. This is an individual entitlement, and both parents can work reduced hours at the same time. In 1 August 2004 an allowance for reduced working hours was introduced to cover the first two years of school, provided that the parent has worked outside the home for at least one year before taking the leave and reduces their working hours to the maximum of 30 hours per week. The specific arrangements are subject to an agreement between the employer and employee. This partial care allowance is 70 euro/month. Since 2003, parents of a small child who are working part-time have been entitled to a partial parental allowance. This means that they can take turns in caring for their child by working split shifts as arranged with their respective employers. Each parent is also entitled to work reduced hours (either a 6-hour day or a 30-hour week) until the end of the year when their child goes to school (i.e. when the child is about 7 years old).

    SE

  128. Maternity leave: 60 days leave before birth for women who cannot continue with their ordinary job and cannot be transferred to alternative duties; 50 days are covered by a maternity allowance, while payment for the other 10 days must come from parental leave allowance. Alternatively, women can take up to 60 days of parental leave before birth. Paid at 80% of earnings. All women, including those not eligible for parental leave, are entitled to 6 weeks leave before and 6 weeks after birth.

  129. Paternity leave: 2 weeks (10 working days). Paid at 80% of earnings.

    Page 134

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  130. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  131. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  132. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  133. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  134. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  135. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    SE

  136. Parental leave: Each parent is entitled to 18 months of full-time leave (childcare leave). A benefit payment (parental allowance) is available for 480 days per family, 60 days to be taken by each parent, while the rest of the paid leave days can be divided according to the parents’ wishes. The payment is 360 days at 80% of earnings, and for 90 days at a flat rate of SEK 60 per day. (For multiple births, paid leave is extended by 90 days at 80% of earnings and by a further 90 days at SEK 60 per working day). However, there is an upper limit on the amount of parental allowance that can be paid, and this stood at SEK 273 000 a year in 1999 (or SEK 672 a day). Leave and payment must be taken before a child reaches the age of 8 (or by the end of the child's first year at school), and can be taken in one block of time or several shorter blocks.

  137. 60 days of the parental allowance must be taken by the father. If he does not do so, this leave period cannot be transferred to the mother and is lost. Paid leave therefore is a family entitlement, which parents can mostly share between themselves, but with some limitations on how parents can choose to share the leave providing an incentive for the father to use leave ('use it or lose it').

  138. Paid leave can be taken on a full-time, half-time or quarter-time basis (e.g. 1 month full-time, 2 months half-time, 4 months have the right to shorter working time as long as the child is not older than 8. The scheme for parental leave has, all in all, contributed very much to the high female labour force participation in Sweden. Children 4 years and older are offered place in the pre-school free of charge, 525 hours/year. This will also lowering the marginal effects and improve the family economy.

  139. Parents are also entitled to work 75% of normal working hours until their child has completed his or her first year of school, although there is no payment for lost earnings (unless parents choose to use part of their parental allowance).

    UK

  140. Maternity pay: 6 weeks at 90% of salary followed by 20 weeks flat-rate maternity pay (this payment rose to 75 pound a week in April 2002 and increased again to 100 pound a week in April 2003). The length of ‘ordinary’ paid maternity leave has also increased from 18 to 26 weeks, with a further 6 months of additional unpaid leave available to eligible women – so most mothers can choose to take up to one year off work. Adopters are also able to take up to one year’s adoption leave with Statutory Adoption Pay of 100 pound per week for 26 weeks. Women who are ineligible for SMP may be entitled to maternity allowance. This is payable for up to 26 weeks and women can receive it as long as they have worked and paid full rate National Insurance contributions for at least 26 of the 66 weeks before the expected week of childbirth. Maternity leave is to be extended further following reform in 2005.

  141. Paternity leave: Two weeks for most fathers paid at 100 pound per week.

  142. Parental leave: Parents of children under the age of five are now eligible for unpaid parental leave (introduced in 1999). Each parent can take 13 weeks leave per child, to be taken before the child's fifth birthday. A maximum of 4 weeks leave per year can be taken in respect of any individual child.

  143. Unpaid parental leave discussed above is applicable to both mothers and fathers. There are no specific incentives targeted at fathers to encourage them to take parental leave.

  144. Provisions to take parental leave on a part-time basis could be negotiated at the employer level but this is not a designated right in the legislation.

    Page 135

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  145. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  146. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  147. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  148. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  149. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  150. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    UK

  151. There is a new right for parents to request flexible working patterns introduced in April 2003. Parents of children up to age 6 (or 18, if disabled) can ask their employer for flexible or reduced working hours, and the employer must consider the request seriously. However, there is no legal right to flexible working.

    B) New Member States

    CZ

  152. Maternity leave: 6 months (2 months to be taken prior to the birth), payment at 69% of the daily assessment base for calculating sickness benefits (where the upper limit of the assessment base is fixed at 690 Czk1) to be paid for the duration of leave.

  153. Paternity leave: None, but a proposal to reserve 2 weeks of parental leave for fathers is under discussion.

  154. Parental leave: follows maternity leave and can be taken until the child is 4 years old. A parental allowance is paid (at present the allowance for a care-giver equals 1.54% of the minimum living standard, i.e. 3 573 Czk2

  155. If a father stays at home with the children for the first 6 months he receives only a parental allowance and not the additional maternity allowance the mother receives.

  156. As part-time working is very rare in the Czech Republic it would be difficult to negotiate parental leave on this basis. Since 2004 the individual can work as many hours as they want for the parental allowance received is unaffected by the amount of earnings received.

  157. Not mentioned.

    EE

  158. Maternity leave: 140 days (56 must be taken pre-birth and 56 after birth) or 154 if the birth was complicated paid at 100% of previous salary.

  159. Paternity leave: 14 days during maternity leave or within 2 months following the birth.

  160. Parental leave: 3 years in total, but parental benefit is only available for the first year of the child’s life. The first 6 months are reserved for mothers, supported at 100% of previous earnings (‘parental benefit’). Parents may decide how to take the remaining period between them, and may also transfer some part to a grandparent. There are also provision for ‘additional childcare leave’ for a limited number of days per year related to the number and age of children, but the allowance is very low and this part of the leave is rarely used.

    Page 136

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  161. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  162. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  163. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  164. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  165. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  166. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    EE

  167. The Parental Benefit Act came into force on 1 January 2004 and this is a new type of family benefit. After the paid maternity leave period (140 days), parental benefit is paid to the parent (guardian or other person with a foster care contract) for up to 225 days on the basis of the average income in the previous year (up to a ceiling of three times the average monthly income in Estonia), or equal to the minimum monthly wage if the average monthly income for the previous year falls below this minimum. Hence the combination of maternity leave benefit and parental benefit means that the mothers’ average salary is effectively replaced for one year. The measure avoids the family from falling into the poverty risk associated with being temporarily away from work in connection with childbirth. Once the child is 7 months old the father can replace the mother as the benefit recipient. The cost of the benefit is 444.5 million kroons per year.

  168. Leave is a family entitlement, there is an option for the fathers to take paid leave when child is 7-12 months old, but alternatively the mother can take all 225 days in addition to her maternity leave.

  169. Not mentioned.

  170. Flexible working hours are rare in practice and awareness about flexible working hours is low among employers. Full-time working is 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week in Estonia. In the field of education this is a 35-hour week. A person raising a child under 12 years of age or a disabled child, or a person taking care of a person with total incapacity for work may only be required to work overtime (also work during evening or night time) with his or her consent. According to the Working and Rest Time Act a person raising a child under 1.5 years of age shall be granted additional breaks for feeding the child in addition to the general breaks for rest and meals. If a person so requests, the breaks prescribed for feeding a child shall be added to the breaks for rest and meals, or the working day shall be reduced by the corresponding period of time. Breaks for feeding a child are included in working time and payment of average wages shall be continued for the breaks from state budget funds through the budget of the Ministry of Social Affairs pursuant to the procedure established by the Minister of Social Affairs.

    CY

  171. Maternity leave: 16 weeks of paid maternity leave (2 weeks must be taken before giving birth). A woman is allowed breast-feeding time up to one hour per day up to six months after birth (whether she is breast-feeding or not and she can decide if she wants to use this hour to come one hour later in the morning, leave an hour early, or take one hour off during the day). 10 weeks are paid at 100% (from the employer) and 6 weeks at 75% from social security.

  172. Paternity leave: None.

  173. Parental leave: An employed parent has an individual, non-transferable entitlement to up to 13 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a child (birth or adopted) once maternity/paternity leave has expired and can be taken up to a child’s sixth birthday (for adoptive parents within 6 years of adoption but not after the child’s twelfth birthday). The law covers all employees who have been with the same employer for 6 or more months. Parents may take between 1-4 weeks per year. This leave also covers ‘reasons of utmost urgency’ as an additional provision for working parents (for example, caring for a seriously ill child but also includes parents and siblings) and this is up to 7 days a year.

    Page 137

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  174. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  175. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  176. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  177. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  178. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  179. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    CY

  180. Fathers have an unpaid, individual non-transferable entitlement – see c) above.

  181. Not mentioned.

  182. There is no legal right to flexible working.

    LV

  183. Maternity leave: 112 days (56 before delivery); longer leave for multiple or complicated births. Level of earnings replacement is 100%.

  184. Paternity leave: 10 calendar days to 2months. Starting from 1 January 2005, 10 days of parental (father) leave have to be paid. Paternity benefit is 80% from the average salary on which social tax is paid.

  185. Parental leave: Family entitlement to up to three years parental leave. Flat rate payment for up to 1.5 years (30 LVL/month), lower flat-rate if leave taken up to 3 years (15 LVL/month). The benefit is not related to previous earnings and can be claimed while working part-time. Starting from 1 January 2005, a new policy is introduced which entitles mothers to receive a ‘mother wages’ – 70% from the previous salary or a minimum 50 LVL/month (if they have no employment experience). However, they are not eligible to receive ‘mother wages’ if they are employed during the parental leave.

  186. There is no leave specifically reserved for fathers.

  187. Labour law prescribes several cases when shorter working time must be provided. For example, women who are pregnant, breast-feeding or have a child under 1 year old, or a disabled child under 16. At present it is not possible to work shorter working hours and to receive salary for full-time work. There is provision in the Labour Code that pregnant women and mothers (with a child under 1 year) and breast-feeding mothers are not allowed to be employed for overtime, night work or weekends. If the employee has a child under 3, the employer may employ him/her on night hours if the employee agrees.

    LT

  188. Maternity leave: 18 weeks (70 days before child birth and 56 days after; 70 extra days for complicated/multiple births). Payment is at 100% during maternity leave. Those who have no necessary insurance period and are not entitled to receive maternity leave or maternity (paternity) benefits have the right to receive a pregnancy benefit – lump sum of 250 LTL. All families are granted benefit at child’s birth (lump sum of 750 LTL). The amendments to the Law on Child benefits, coming into force since 1 January 2005, will raise a lump-sum childbirth benefit from 6 MSLs (750 LTL) to 8 MSLs (1 000 LTL).

  189. Paternity leave: No paternity leave.

  190. Parental leave: Parental leave before the child has reached the age of three is granted at the choice of the family, to the mother/adoptive mother, the father/adoptive father, the grandmother, the grandfather or any other relatives/others who are raising the child and are recognised as the guardian of the child. The parental leave benefit is 70% of the wage of the person taking leave (or at least the minimum wage rate) payable until the child is 1 year old. Parental leave when a child is 1-3 years old is unpaid although the family receives child benefit.

    Page 138

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  191. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  192. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  193. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  194. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  195. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  196. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    LT

  197. There is no special paternity or parental leave for fathers and whether the mother or father takes parental leave (for the period after maternity leave till the child is 3) depends on the decision of family. Women account for an absolute majority of recipients, e.g. in 2000 the proportion of men among those who had taken parental leave was 1.2%, in 2002% -1%.

  198. According to the Article 146 of the Labour Code, part-time work may be granted by an agreement established between the employee and the employer by decreasing the number of working days per week or shortening a working day (shift), or doing both. Part-time work does not lead to restricted social benefits, reduced job security or fewer career opportunities than full-time work, and the hourly rate of pay is not lower for part-time employees than for full-time employees. Ratification of Convention of ILO No 156 by the Parliament (Seimas) in 2003 is an important incentive that widens the employment possibilities for persons with parental responsibilities. ‘Recommendations for Employers and employees concerning flexible forms of employment’, which were confirmed by the Order of the Minister of Social Security and Labour (17th October 2003) should be also be mentioned.

  199. The latest statements of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour emphasise the need to promote flexible organisation of work (work at home, temporary work and fixed-term work, seasonal work, part-time work or flexible schedule or work) for two key reasons: to provide to employers a basis for improving the organization of work and give people better chances to adapt in search for a job. The possibilities to apply flexible forms of work with regard to family status of an employee (e.g., for women who are pregnant or have recently given birth and for employees raising a child alone, caring for a sick family member, in education or without regular employment) are also highlighted3 Code and in the Law on Labour Protection and Health of Employees, pregnant women may not be assigned to perform work in conditions that may be hazardous, the employer must provide for shorter working days or workweek at their request, they may not be assigned to work overtime without their consent (Article 150), they may not be assigned to work at night (Article 154), on days off or on holidays (Articles 161 and 162), or be sent on business trips only with their consent (Article 220). In accordance with the Labour Code (Article 146), daily working time or weekly working time shall be set on request of a pregnant woman, a woman who has recently given birth, a woman who breast-feeds, an employee raising a child until it reaches 3 years of age, as well as an employee who solely raises a child until it reaches 14 years of age or a child with limited functional capacity until it reaches 16 years of age. The Labour Code (Articles 166 and 184) grants increased annual leave (35 days instead of minimum leave for a period of 28 calendar days) and additional unpaid leave to employees who are single parents with a child aged under 14 years or a disabled child aged under 16 years.

    Page 139

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  200. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  201. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  202. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  203. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  204. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  205. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    HU

  206. Maternity allowance: 24 weeks at 100% of earnings replacement.

  207. Paternity leave: Since 2003 fathers are entitled to 5 days of paid leave when a child is born.

  208. Parental leave: Parents can take paid leave for 3 years after each child’s birth, with higher support in the first 2 years. During leave the legal relationship with the employer is retained and the employer must re-employ the leave-taker at the end of the period. The leave-taker is not paid by the employer but by social insurance. Parents get either childcare allowance (GYES) or childcare benefit/fee (GYED). The childcare benefit/fee GYED is an insurance-based benefit that can be received until the child is 2 years old. Only those who worked at least 180 days in the year before the birth of the child are eligible for this benefit. The amount depends on the previous income (70%), but the monthly maximum is limited (83 000HUF). Once the GYED eligibility is over, it is possible to make use of the childcare allowance (GYES) for an additional (third) year, which is a universal cash benefit until the child is 3 years old. GYES is equal to the minimum old-age pension, i.e. the government-guaranteed minimum pension. In 2003, that amounted to HUF 21 800/month and in 2004 to HUF 23 200/month. There is also a child-raising support (GYET) is for parents who stay away from the labour market and have at least 3 children, with the youngest under the age of 8. Its amount is also equal with the minimum old-age pension.

  209. There is no leave specifically reserved for fathers. Although parental leave is available to both parents childcare is highly gendered in Hungarian society and fathers are not encouraged to take parental leave.

  210. Parents are permitted to work part-time after the children are 18 months old since the childcare allowance is low.

  211. Not mentioned.

    MT

  212. Maternity leave: 14 weeks; 13 weeks paid at 100% of earnings and the 14th week unpaid.

  213. Paternity leave: There is no statutory entitlement to paternity leave in the Employment and Industrial Relations Act but there is provision in the Wage Regulation Orders of particular sectors. This varies from 1 day to 2 days.

  214. Parental leave is an individual non-transferable entitlement for both mothers and fathers. This is unpaid and up to a period of 3 months until the child is 8 years of age. Parental leave may be carried forward from one employer to the next. For justifiable reasons as indicated in the law, the employer may postpone the granting of parental leave. The fact that parental leave is unpaid could be a disincentive to remain in employment.

  215. Fathers have an unpaid, individual non-transferable entitlement, but there are no policy measures to ensure a proportion of this parental leave is used by fathers.

  216. and f) Not mentioned.

    Page 140

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  217. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  218. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  219. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  220. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  221. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  222. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    PL

  223. Maternity leave: 16 weeks upon the first birth, 18 weeks upon each successive birth, and 26 weeks in the case of multiple birth. Payment is 100% of the average earnings for the 3-month period preceding the maternity leave. For individual farmers daily maternity benefit equals to the 1/30 of the minimum old-age benefit from the agricultural social security system. It is granted as a lump sum for the period of 8 weeks.

  224. Paternity leave: Since 2001 the mother must take at least 14 weeks maternity leave but the remaining part can be transferred to the father.

  225. Parental leave: This is a family entitlement and leave may be taken for 36 months for a child up to the age of 4 (this may be extended for another 36 months if the employee is raising a child who is disabled, chronically ill, or mentally ill and requires care, until they reach the age of 18). The parental allowance has been reformed. In 2003 the reform lowered the income criterion and the allowance to 400 PLN paid over a period of 24 months (36 months in a case of multiple birth; 72 months if the child is disabled). A preferential treatment for a single parent has been extended. The employee can also take childcare leave to care for a sick child aged up to 14 years or a healthy child up to 8 years in the case of: an unforeseen closure of a nursery school, kindergarten, or school attended by the child or the illness, childbirth, or if the spouse caring permanently for the child is ill, in childbirth or stays in an in-patient healthcare institution. Since February 1995 fathers can use this scheme. During the childcare leave the employee is entitled to an allowance at the level of 80% of the remuneration, paid no longer than 60 days per year irrespective of the number of children.

  226. There is no individual entitlement reserved for fathers, the family decides how to use the leave, and since 1996 fathers have been entitled to take parental leave.

  227. Not mentioned.

  228. There is no legal right to flexible working hours for parents, but it is possible to agree on this with the employer. A breast-feeding mother is entitled to breaks included in the working hours (two half-hour breaks for one child). The employee is entitled to two days off work a year with intact remuneration when a child is under 14 years of age. If a child is under 4 years of age the parent has a right to refuse working overtime, at a day or outside the permanent place of residence.

    SI

  229. Maternity leave: 105 days (at least 28 days before giving birth, or, on the basis of a certificate issued by the appropriate medical authority, maternity leave may begin up to 45 days prior to giving birth). Payment is 100% earnings replacement and covered by the state (based on average personal earnings in the last 12 months).

  230. Paternity leave: Fathers have a non-transferable right to 90 days leave: at least 15 days must be used during the maternity leave and the other 75 days can be used until the child is 8 years old. During 15 days of paternity leave the father has the right to 100% income replacement while for 75 days the state funds social security contributions (based on minimal wage).

    Page 141

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  231. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  232. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  233. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  234. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  235. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  236. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    SI

  237. Parental leave: After maternity leave, one parent can take up to 260 days leave from work at 100% of earnings. Leave is extended in some special circumstances (twins, a severely mentally disabled child). Parents must reach and sign an agreement on the use of the right to leave for the purpose of caring for a child (Article 29, PFIA).

  238. There are 75 days allocated within the paternity leave to be taken anytime before the child is 8 years old with a low payment. There are no specific measures to encourage fathers to take parental leave nor reserved days of parental leave for fathers. The percent of eligible men who take parental leave is approximately 1% (only 152 fathers used parental leave in 2002, that was less than 1%), but it is expected that fathers will use new (paid) paternity leave more. The first analyses show that such expectations are realistic, in 2003 more than 90% of eligible fathers took on average 8 days leave while only 1.9% took parental leave.

  239. One of the parents take primary responsibility for childcare has the right to part-time work until the child is 3 years old or for an older child whose medical condition calls for more intensive care. In such cases, the parent's personal income is calculated according to the actual hours of work done, with the state covering social security contributions up to full-time based on minimal wage (Art. 48, PFIA).

  240. Not mentioned.

    SK

  241. Maternity leave: 28 weeks and 37 weeks for single mothers. Payment is approximately 55% of the woman’s previous salary. The calculation of ‘maternity subsidy’ during the maternity leave has been changed since 1 January 2004. The new system of calculation of maternity subsidy is based on 2 main indicators: on the salary of woman and man and on ‘surveyed base (or merit)’. The second indicator is given regularly by the Statistical Office and takes into account the level of average wage, living costs, etc. This indicator is not constant and is changed every year (on the 1 July). The level of maternity subsidy is strictly limited. After 1 July 2004 the daily subsidy cannot exceed 472 SKK per day.

  242. Paternity leave: There is no entitlement to paternity leave for fathers.

  243. Parental leave: After maternity leave it is possible to take parental leave until the child is 3 years old. In the case of disabled child the duration of parental leave is until the child is 6 years old. Both mothers and fathers are entitled to take this leave. The subsidy is limited and can not be more than 7 788 SKK per month.

  244. There is no specific provision for fathers to take leave but fathers can take parental leave if this is the decision made within the family.

  245. and f) Not mentioned.

    Page 142

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  246. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  247. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  248. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  249. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  250. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  251. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    C) Non-EU countries

    Country

    BG

  252. Maternity leave: 135 days (including 45 days prior to the delivery). The replacement rate of benefit for pregnancy and birth is 90% of the former income. The income base is calculated as follows: the minimum amount of daily benefit is the minimum daily wage and the maximum is the individual’s daily average pay for the 6 months period prior to commencing maternity leave. The benefit is paid by the state insurance system.

  253. Paternity leave: None mentioned.

  254. Parental leave: After maternity leave the social insurance system provides benefits for parental leave until the child’s second birthday. The amount of benefit is equal to the minimum wage. There is also an unpaid parental leave provision available until the child is 8 years old. The parental leave is transferable to the father and the grandparents if they are insured for all risks. Insured mothers are entitled to 2 years parental leave and the benefit is defined by the Code for the Obligatory Public Insurance. Uninsured mothers are eligible for a 1-year parental leave according to the Law for Family Benefits since April 2002. The entitlement becomes income-tested and the eligibility threshold is defined by the State Budget Law. In 2003 the amount was set at 100 BGL (about 50 euro).

  255. The whole period of parental leave is transferable to the father or grandparents if they are insured for all risks. The amount of benefit is equal to the minimum wage. However, because it is not an individual right, there is no specific period reserved solely for fathers.

  256. There are no provisions for taking parental leave on a part-time basis.

  257. Not mentioned.

    IS

  258. Maternity leave: There is no special maternity leave in Iceland – only parental leave (fæ leave period, the mother has an independent right to 3 months which can not be transferred to the father. Mothers who have been in work for at least 12 months prior to the start of the leave period receive 80% of previous earnings while on parental leave. Others (students or non-working mothers) receive a flat rate payment. From January 2005, there will be a limit on the maximum amount paid to persons (fathers and mothers) on parental leave. The maximum monthly payment will be 480 000 Iskr.

  259. Paternity leave: Fathers are entitled to 3 months of paternal leave.

  260. Parental leave: Parental leave is for 9 months and of these 9 months, 3 months are now reserved for the mother, 3 months for the father and the remaining 3 months can be shared between the mother and the father. Parents now receive 80% of their past earnings while on parental leave.

  261. Fathers are entitled to 3 months minimum parental leave and can share a remaining 3 months with the mothers.

    Page 143

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  262. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  263. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  264. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  265. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  266. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  267. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    IS

  268. The employee is permitted to make arrangements with her/his employer for parental leave to be divided into a number of periods and/or that it will be taken concurrently with a reduced work-time ratio. The employer is obliged to try to meet the wishes of the employee.

  269. Not mentioned.

    LI

  270. Maternity leave: 20 weeks (at least 16 weeks must be after childbirth). Payment is at 80% of previous wages. To qualify for maternity benefit, a woman must have been gainfully employed for at least 270 days (without break) and be entitled to sickness benefits under a health insurance scheme. Maternity allowance (Mutterschaftszulage) can be claimed by women who were self-employed during pregnancy or ‘housewives without any income of their own’ resident in Liechtenstein. It is a one-time payment for each birth, indexed to income. The amount is dependent on taxable household income and amounts to a maximum of just over 3 000 euro.

  271. Paternity leave: None.

  272. Parental leave: A maximum 3 months unpaid parental leave. The leave has to be taken before the child’s third birthday. It can, however, only be claimed by one parent. Employees have to take employers’ interests into consideration if they want to take parental leave: If employers have ‘justifiable reason’, they can request employees to postpone paternal leave. The introduction of parental leave was accompanied by the right to request – unpaid – care leave. Care leave must be granted if the immediate absence of the employee is required. The maximum duration is three days.

  273. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers.

  274. Not mentioned.

  275. There is no statutory right to flexible working hours and no right for parents to request flexible working patterns.

    NO

  276. Maternity leave: See parental leave, there is no separate statutory provision or reference to ‘maternity leave’.

  277. Paternity leave: 2 weeks unpaid leave (in addition to the 4 weeks ‘father quota’ in the parental leave).

  278. Parental leave: 42 weeks with payment at 100% or 52 weeks with payment at 80%; 9 weeks are reserved for the mother (3 weeks compulsory leave before birth and 6 weeks after) and 4 weeks for the father (the ‘father quota’). The rest of the leave may be shared as the parents prefer.

  279. Part of the parental leave is an individual, non-transferable ‘father quota’ (4 weeks). The remaining weeks are a family entitlement as they can be shared as the parents prefer (29 weeks at 100% replacement rate or 39 weeks at 80%). The father’s entitlement rests on both having been employed prior to the birth and the mother working more than half-time hours, and his payment is reduced if the mother works less than 75% full-time hours. In 2000 the condition of father’s entitlements was changed from being based on mother’s economic activity before birth to mothers’ economic activity after birth so that more than 4 weeks could only be taken if the mother was employed or in education (75% or more are in education or employment). If the mother is not entitled to leave but the fathers fulfils the eligibility criteria then he can take leave if the mother is economically active after the birth. The current government has promised to expand the father quota to 6 weeks, by increasing the total leave period.

    Page 144

    Table A.1. Detail of the maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements in the 30 countries (cont.)

    Maternity, paternity and parental leave entitlements

  280. Maternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  281. Paternity leave: duration and level of financial support

  282. Parental leave: duration and level of financial support

  283. Is a period of parental leave reserved for the father (and if so, how long?)

  284. Are there provisions for parental leave to be taken on a part-time basis?

  285. Any other rights for parents to work reduced hours?

    Country

    NO

  286. The leave can be taken on a part-time basis (50-60-70-80 or 90%) until the child is 2 years old. Very few parents use this flexibility, and complicated rules for the uptake are believed to be a main reason. The Ministry of Children and Family Affairs are working on simplifying regulations.

  287. Workers with young children have a conditional right to reduced working hours, provided by the employer’s consent (Work Environment Act).

    RO

  288. Maternity leave: 126 days, 42 of which are compulsory for the mother after birth. Payment is at 75% of average income from the previous 10 months. The employers have the obligation to avoid any situation that can affect health or security of mothers or pregnant women. If the work conditions are potentially dangerous the employers have the legal obligation to change their workplace.

  289. Paternity leave: Not mentioned in the national report.

  290. Parental leave: Parents have the right to request paid parental leave of up for children up to 2 years and 3 years for children with disabilities. The level of benefit in 2003 was of 6 000 000 lei, representing 123.3% of net average wage and 240% of minimum wage. Parental leave can be taken by either parent but almost all requests are made by mothers and very few by fathers. The parents also have the right to paid leave for an ill child up to 7 years old and 18 years old for children with disabilities.

  291. There is no period of parental leave reserved for fathers.

  292. and f) Not mentioned.

    Page 145

Table A 2. The impact of maternity/parental leave provisions on re-integration

A) Pre-2004 Member States

BE: Incentives to re-integrate into employment: ‘Parental leave’ – As the father’s right to parental leave cannot be transferred to the mother, this prevents the mothers from leaving the labour market for extended periods. Moreover, the fact that parental leave is an individual right is also an incentive for fathers to take parental leave because if they do not, the leave is lost for the family. This creates an incentive for women to resume employment because if the right to parental leave were transferable between parents it is probable that women would accumulate their own leave as well as that of their partner. It is possible to take parental leave on a part-time basis so that women’s careers need not be completely disrupted which also creates an incentive to remain in the labour market.

Incentives to exit: Benefits ‘allocation d'interruption dans le cadre d'un congé parental’ – The gross monthly benefit is quite generous at 547 euro when full-time leave is taken. However, this system is not systematically applied in the whole public sector despite its high share of female employment. As a result, in 2003 80% of the 16 720 women taking parental leave were private sector employees (ONEM). This is evidence that a high level of paid full-time leave, while facilitating the conciliation of work and family life, can create disincentives for women to remain in employment.

DK: Parental leave: The leave arrangements do not create incentives for women to re-integrate into employment. Although since 2002, the maternity and parental leave schemes have been more flexible, there is no evidence to suggest this creates a more equal sharing of parental leave between mothers and fathers. However, latest figures (for 2003) show that men now take longer leave (from 2.6 weeks in 2002 to 3.2 weeks in average in 2003) although women have prolonged their leaves even more – from 25.1 weeks to 28.6 weeks in average in 2003. LO (the Danish Trades Union) and DA (the Danish Employers' Confederation) have recently warned against women’s use of a long parental period as it can make women less attractive for the labour market.

DE: They have created incentives for women to remain outside of the labour market. ‘Parental leave’ The reforms aimed to involve more fathers in the parental leave, to create incentives to combine part-time work and parental work and to stimulate shorter leave periods However, the latest data show that 60% of all parents choose full-time work of fathers and full-time parental leave of mothers, 32% full-time fathers and part-time mothers, 5% both fathers and mothers in employment and parental leave, and only 0.2% fathers in parental leave. Of all fathers only 5% took parental leave. Part-timers often worked less than 15 hours/week or had mini-jobs. The older the child, the longer the working time. While reforms may have changed attitudes slightly, the lack of childcare for children under 3, the low financial compensation, the lack of full-time care for older children and fathers’ low propensity to take part in care activities mean there are still few incentives for women to remain in employment. Most studies in Germany point to the fact that parental leave – as it is actually embedded in the institutional framework of labour market and family policy – acts as a disincentive for mothers to invest regularly and continuously in the development of human capital and may act as a negative signal towards employers´ propensity to invest in young women's human capital too (for an overview on theoretical aspects see Radke/Störmann, 1998; Jungwirth, 1998 and 1999). Empirical data show that each prolongation of parental leave immediately was taken up by parents (the supply finds a demand) and leads to a prolongation of women's withdrawal from employment (Ondrich et al., 1996).

EL: The arrangements for maternity leave and the different forms of parental leave create incentives for women to re-integrate into employment. The duration of maternity leave after confinement is not very long. However, the entitlement of working mothers in both the public and private sectors to childcare leave allows mothers to cope with their caring responsibilities without losing their job either by reducing the daily working hours or by prolonging maternity leave. Both maternity and childcare leaves are fully paid and considered as employment or working time for labour and social security benefits. This is an additional incentive for women to remain in employment.

However there are key disincentives for mothers working in the private sector in comparison to those working in the public sector. Women that enter the public sector never exit because of having children. Mothers are entitled to childcare leave which takes one of the following forms: either a reduction of the daily working hours by 1-2 hours until their child is 4 years old or 9 months fully-paid leave after (fully-paid) maternity leave. Women in the private sector are also entitled to a (fully-paid)Page 146 shorter working day but their right is difficult to enforce. Moreover, in the private sector it is very short and entails an interruption of social security coverage and record, unless the worker is willing and able to pay both the employer and employee contributions. This is why parental leave is hardly taken up by employees and civil servants, notwithstanding the worker’s right to return to the same or similar post after the period of leave. The workers’ right to childcare leave in the private sector is quite recent either in form of reduced working hours (1993) or in form of prolongation of the maternity leave (2004). Many employers either refuse to recognise this right in practice or discriminate against women when hiring.

ES: ‘Maternity leave’: There is a maximum of 16 weeks paid maternity leave. The lack of longer paid leave entitlements is an obstacle to continuity in women’s employment as they may be forced to make a choice too early.

Incentives to re-integrate: Collective bargaining arrangements: the expert notes that legal arrangements are supplemented by collective bargaining clauses that improve the existing legislation and create incentives for women to remain in employment, by retaining the conditions of their employment contract.

FR: There are disincentives to re-integrate into employment, ‘APE’ (Allocation Parentale d'Education) is an allowance for parental education leave and is independent of the parental leave (without remuneration in France). This impacted upon the economic activity of mothers of 2 children in couples, which led to these mothers withdrawing from the labour market. The economic activity rate of the mothers concerned (at least 2 children, one of whom is under 3) dropped by 15% between 1994 and 1997. It is estimated that about a half of these women would have remained in the labour market if this measure did not exist (between 40% and 70%, according to econometric studies, see Piketty, 1998). The above impact concerns mainly low-skilled women in low-paid jobs, which were mostly part-time. ‘API’ (single parent’s allowance) does not encourage the search for employment by single parents (95% of whom are mothers). ‘RMI’ is also linked to one’s family situation and number of children with single parents with one child receiving considerably less than single parents of several children (3 or more), who already received bigger family benefits, than for single parents of 1 or 2 children, who received no or small family benefits. After the creation of RMI, there was a significant drop in the employment rate of single parents with 1 or 2 children – compared to that of single parents of bigger families’ (Piketty, 1998).

IE: There are incentives to re-integrate into employment. ‘Parental leave’ – Due to the lack of financial support and low level of leave entitlement this means take-up of parental leave is very low. A report published in 2002 reviewing the Parental Leave Act 1998 showed that less than 7% of the labour force was eligible for parental leave. Of those eligible it was estimated that one-fifth had taken parental leave, with women accounting for the majority of these. Research on attitudes in relation to parental and ‘force majeure’ leave revealed that the largest barrier for employees taking parental leave are financial concerns (42%). Therefore, although women are returning quickly, this is may not be because they want to remain attached to the labour market but feel forced to by financial reasons.

IT: Maternity and Parental leave: In recent years, given the combined effect of increasing educational achievements among women (improving their relative position in the labour market) and the expansion of employment in services (increasing job opportunities for women), an increasing number of mothers return to active life after some years of interruption (Villa 2003c, pp.19-20). Most likely, this outcome was positively affected by maternity and parental leave legislation. Discontinuity of employment has never been common in Italy: highly educated women tend to return to work after childbirth (a very high proportion of them to full-time work); women with low educational achievements tend to exit from active life, and they do not return after they have raised their children. Access to good quality jobs enables women to retain a strong labour force attachment around childbirth. Women having entered employment with regular contracts (a standard permanent employment contract), who enjoy a substantial amount of employment protection, have a higher incentive to stay active in the period immediately following childbirth. After the compulsory period imposed by legislation (2 months before and 3 months after childbirth) they might use an additional period of optional leave; but then they will return to work, using, when needed, unpaid parental leave. Women employed in less protected and secure jobs, not having rights to the same degree of protection (in particular, in terms of maternity leave and parental leave) are very likely to withdraw from the labour market. The crucial role of employment protection in favouring the attachment of mothers to active life has been recently analysed by Bratti, Del Bono and Viuri (2004).

Page 147

Table A.2. The impact of maternity/parental leave provisions on re-integration (cont.)

LU: There are both incentives and disincentives to re-integrate into employment: ‘Parental leave’ – The ability to take part-time parental leave could maintain women’s attachment to the labour market and the ability to take one year full-time parental leave could ensure that women are not forced to return to the labour market too early. However, long career breaks nevertheless are known to have negative effects in terms of career progression and pension rights.

NL: Maternity and parental leave create no particular incentive to exit the labour market. Although paid parental leave schemes allow the possibility to work part-time, women would have made the transition to part-time work without this provision.

AT: There are some incentives to re-integrate into employment. The new regulations allow part-time parental leave and provide for payment of parental leave allowance if the parent takes up short-term employment. These may create incentives to maintain contact with employment. However, the additional-earnings threshold of 14 600 euro for claimants of childcare benefit per year also applies to parents choosing part-time work. Parents working in well-paid jobs will thus find it harder or even impossible in future to reduce working hours in order to look after their children while claiming childcare benefit.

PT: There are incentives to re-integrate into employment. ‘Maternity leave’ – The introduction and extension of maternity leave in the 1970s has helped to increase the employment rate of mothers in Portugal by strengthening job security (Ferreira, 1998). The following measures had a direct impact on levels of female employment: the establishment of a minimum salary, employment subsidies, 90 days maternity leave (now 120 days) as well as other pregnancy, maternity and family-assistance rights, namely the granting of a leave from work to visit the doctor during pregnancy; two hourly shifts per day for breast-feeding until children are 1 year old; up to 30 working days per year in case of child sickness and up to two years unpaid leave in special cases. With the exception of the unpaid leave, none of these measures led to a loss of service-time, remuneration or subsidies. The most difficult disincentive to overcome in order to raise the economic activity rate of women in Portugal is the unavailability of cheap childcare, with appropriate opening hours for working mothers and fathers (see below). There is a high level of discontent with the short duration of the maternity leave, and although this does not constitute a disincentive to work, many people have expressed the wish to see it extended to 12 months (Ferreira and Lopes, 2004).

FI: There are disincentives to resume employment. The ‘Home care allowance system’ allows parents – after the parental leave period when the child is approximately 9 to 10 months old – to take childcare leave with full employment security to look after a child under the age of 3 while receiving a home care allowance. Today, the home care allowance is 252.28 euro per month. If the family includes more than one child under 3, an additional payment 84.09 euro is made, and 50.46 euro if the siblings are at least 3 years old but under school age. The allowance can be complemented by a supplement that varies according to the size and monthly income of families (168.19 euro per month at most). Many (42) municipalities also pay a local government supplement of 168 euro on the average. The municipal supplement is used as an attempt to reduce the demand for municipal day care, and it has been introduced particularly in large municipalities. The average home care allowance was 346 euro per month in 2002. A portion of the home care allowance is taken-up for around 80% of children, although the rate varies according to labour market conditions. Statistics show that on average mothers take stay at home on leave until the child is 18 months old, although the maximum home care allowance period is until the child is 3. Thus, most women return to work early than their statutory entitlement, which is why there are no major problems with refreshing knowledge and need for training’.

‘Part-time childcare leave’: This is not popular. According to the Quality of Work Life Survey, only 8% were taking this leave at the moment (of those who in principle had the opportunity). The allowance (70 euro), which is paid by the state, concerns parents with children under 3 years of age and first and second school years. The employer and employee must together agree about the part-time childcare leave.

SE: The arrangements for parental leave in Sweden do create strong incentives to re-integrate into employment for both mothers and fathers, due to the flexibility in the scheme and the availability of compatible childcare services. (Furthermore, due to the low fertility rate and also to the fact that first-time mothers and fathers are becoming older, there are propositions to enhance the economic situation for students who become parents).

UK: There are both incentives and disincentives to re-integrate into employment. – ‘Maternity leave’ – The introduction and extension of maternity leave has helped to increase the employment rate of mothersPage 148 in the UK through strengthening job security (McRae, 1997). There is an upward trend in the proportion who return to work after maternity leave, but mothers on low incomes are more likely to exit employment than higher-earning mothers (Callender et al., 1996, EOC 2003a). A key factor which promotes employment continuity is the amount of financial support during maternity leave and that the length of maternity leave available is sufficient (EOC, 2003a). Another is the cost and availability of childcare (see below). The UK still has a comparatively short period of earnings-related maternity leave in the statutory scheme, although this is enhanced for some women by their employers – typically those who are in better-paid and higher status occupations and public sector employees (Hogarth et al., 2001). However ‘parental leave’ entitlements are short and unpaid, and do not involve a formal interruption to the employment contract. Many low-income parents will not be able to afford to take unpaid parental leave.

B) New Member States

CZ: The small number of facilities available for the care of very young children and the high costs of childcare create disincentives for women to remain in the labour market and the majority of mothers exit and remain at home on parental leave. Currently, the law allows a parent on parental leave to earn an unlimited amount of income without losing their right to claim a parental allowance (this amendment came into effect on 1 January 2004). In the vast majority of cases parents on parental leave are not motivated to return to work very quickly after the birth of their child, with the exception of cases where top-ranking professions are involved who may find their current job is not available on their return (although they would be transferred to a similar position).

EE: The introduction of the Parental Benefit Act in January, 2004, along with current universal family benefits, aims to help parents reconcile work and family life as well as increase Estonia's birth rate and help parents meet expenses arising from a newborn child. The ‘parental benefit’ is ‘maternal benefit’ for the first 6 months after childbirth, and then fathers can choose to take paid leave when the child is 7-12 months old. However, after 1 year there are financial incentives to return to employment for while parental leave is available until the child is 3 years old the parental benefit is only paid for the first year of the child’s life so the financial support available from the state is very limited.

CY: The leave benefits mostly create incentives for women to re-integrate into employment as they help women keep their jobs if they do not want to go back at 16 weeks. However only a small proportion of the population can afford to take 13 weeks unpaid leave. Therefore most women return to work after their paid leave is over is as they cannot afford to stay home with an unpaid leave and they often have an extended family support system that can look after their child while they return to work.

LV: Although the poor financial situation of families provides incentives for women to return to the labour market early, the lack of childcare for pre-school children means women often have to wait until their children are old enough to enter pre-school education for 5-6 year olds which is free and compulsory. Employers do not provide the option of part-time work or home working which is often a mother’s preference.

LT: Since maternity/paternity leave (for the period after maternity leave until a child is one years) reimburses only 70% of previous earnings, it limits the incentives to return to employment of those who are poorly paid while encouraging those who are well-paid to resume employment.

HU: There are both incentives and disincentives to re-integrate into employment. ‘Childcare allowance’ – The generous childcare allowance can act as a disincentive for many women to resume employment. There are also financial reasons for women’s take-up of this allowance; as women’s income is lower than men’s, the aggregated financial loss to the family is lower if women take the parental leave, not the men. This has the direct consequence that a large proportion of young women lose their commitments to their jobs and their labour market experiences. Part-time employment could provide a compromise but this is not widespread. Although both parents are eligible to take the different forms of childcare leave, they are seen as maternal subsidies. According to the latest data, 296 000 women and only 1 000 men were absent from the labor market due to their parental obligations. (Frey, 2002: 17).

MT: The entitlement to 13 weeks maternity leave with full pay for maternity leave promotes women’s reintegration; however the period may be too short even if a woman can afford to opt to take the 3 months parental leave.

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Table A.2. The impact of maternity/parental leave provisions on re-integration (cont.)

PL: There are financial incentives to re-integrate into employment but no provisions to help women combine family and work responsibilities. High unemployment means that the number of users (women) of parental leave has declined because of possible difficulties when returning to work (despite the formal protection), for example, losing promotion prospects and a decline in the household income (increasing rigidity in income-tested allowances, losing wage increase). However, reduced state support for the family (both in terms of income and provision of services), underdeveloped flexible work patterns (part-time and temporary contracts as well as a flexible working time being on a limited use), and discriminatory practices, have meant it has become more difficult to combine paid work with family duties.

SI: The arrangements for maternity and parental leave create incentives to resume employment. Parental leave in Slovenia has been used by women to balance work and family obligations and improve their position in paid employment. There is no doubt that generous parental/family legislation (together with good institutional childcare arrangements) has enabled women to remain in the labour market in similar terms to men. However, there is still an identification of family rights and responsibilities with women that can cause indirect discrimination of women at work and mean working women in Slovenia face the double burden of paid and unpaid (domestic and care) work.

SK: There are financial incentives to resume employment but the low rate of financial support in parental leave means women may be forced back to work too early. Furthermore, the level of maternity leave benefit has been reduced, previously it was approximately 90% of salary, now it is approximately 55%, even if the new system of calculating the maternity benefit includes up-rating mechanisms connected to average salaries and living costs.

C) Non-EU Neighbouring Countries

BG: The existing arrangements create incentives for women to re-integrate into employment and to be insured. The contribution of the poor social benefits to family income is not significant and can not be considered as incentive for women to exit employment. The dilemma in Bulgaria is not to choose between employment status and non-employment status (because of the benefits incentives), the dilemma is how to find job and to get into employment. The whole security system (through the social assistance system and through the unemployment benefit system) or people out of employment is at a very low level.4

IS: There are disincentives to resume employment for women. A recent change in financial support in parental leave has created a disincentive for fathers to exit employment and care for children (see below). This ensures that women are more likely to exit employment.

LI: There are incentives to re-integrate into employment, especially for women in low-income families. Parental leave entitlements are short and unpaid. Thus, many low-income parents will not be able to afford to take advantage of these provisions.

NO: The leave arrangements have created incentives for women to re-integrate into employment, which has led to continuous work patterns among women in the reproductive years. However, women with low education have weaker labour market attachments and have fewer entitlements to leave (Ellingsæter and Hedlund, 1998). Women take up most of the leave (about 92% of all leave days) and women taking up long leaves is seen a potential cause of the levelling off of the decrease in the wage gap between men and women (Hardoy and Schøne, 2004b).

RO: The high level of benefit during parental leave creates strong incentives for women to exit from employment. The poor quality childcare services ensures women will take advantage of the parental leave benefits.

Page 150

Table A 3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

BE: See Boxes 1.1 and 1.2: The tax system includes a child tax credit which is refundable for low-earning parents and an additional lone parent tax credit which is not refundable for low-earners. Low-income employed parents are one of the main categories of beneficiaries of the new ‘employment bonus’ and proposed reform of the Income Guarantee Allowance, although these measures are not explicitly targeted at them.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• See Box 1.1: The income tax system creates disincentives for second earners in the household because the system is still not completely individualised and includes tax splitting between the main earner (head of household) and second earner. As a result of this ‘quotient conjugal’ husbands benefit from a reduced tax bill providing their wives have limited earnings, which contributes to an ‘inactivity trap’ for the second earner.

CZ: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

The system of social benefits provides few financial incentives for low-income groups to take up employment, particularly those with low-skills and large families (including the Roma population). When a citizen accepts a low-wage job, this means that he/she may receive a total income from employment that is equal to or even lower than income paid as benefits (this refers especially to cases where the employee – male or female – is also supporting other individuals: dependent children or a partner who is not working).

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

Generally, women earn on average 25% less than men. However, in the majority of cases theirs is not a second-earner type of income (more than 90% of women work full-time and earn relatively good income) and instead constitutes an important component in the family budget (which the family depends on to get by). In families where the woman is at home (on maternity or parental leave) the situation is different, as it is in families where women work part-time (which is only 8.8% of all women in employment – according to estimates only 2% of women work part-time in order to combine work with caring for their children, the rest do so primarily for health reasons).

Up to now the personal taxation system in the Czech Republic has been conceived as individualised. As of 1 January 2005 however there is a change in the system and joint taxation is possible for married couples. According to experts (economists), however, this arrangement is only an advantage when there are large differences between married partners in the levels of their income (i.e. especially if one parent is on maternity or parental leave and the other parent is working, or if one parent has very high income and the other low income (usually as a result of working only part-time).

DK: Since January 2003, married persons on social assistance who take a job may keep a larger share of the wage before a deduction in the income of their spouse takes place.

The income tax system in Denmark is individualised (and has been since 1983). Some elements of joint taxation are preserved, for example unused exemptions can be transferred from one spouse to the other.

Comment: The tax/benefit system – in combination with the childcare system – promotes labour market involvement for all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• The ethos of the Danish tax/benefit system focuses on supporting the employment integration of all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• The above reform is in line with the principle of promoting gender equality through individual rather than aggregated assessment and so is a positive reform from a gender equality perspective. However, there has been no evaluation of whether this measure has enhanced work incentives, and in any case the impact will be dependent upon suitable jobs being available.

DE: See Box 1.9: The Hartz reform of unemployment insurance/assistance introduces a new financial allowance from 2005, designed to reduce poverty in families with children. All low-income households with children will receive additional child benefits, paid in relation to household income up to a threshold. The payment is a maximum 140 euro/month and paid for up to 36 months (on top of the existing general child benefit of 154 euro/month per child).

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The additional income-related child benefit introduced by the Hartz reform is lost if earnings exceed the income threshold, which may create a disincentive to increase earnings.

• The tax splitting system in Germany supports a single-earner arrangement and creates disincentives for the second earner to increase their earnings (see details in the Annex to the German NAP Employment). Very low income households do not pay any taxes (but there are no refundable tax credits). In connection with the labour market reforms the government has introduced a new child-related benefit for households with a very low income.

EE: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

In recent years additional tax relief and family allowances have been introduced to direct resources to low-income families, targeted in particular at those with young children and large families.

Following the Income Tax Act which came into force in 2000 married persons can submit a joint income tax declaration. In 2001 tax exemptions were introduced for families with three of more children aged 16 years or under, and the exemption has since been increased.

A new childcare allowance was introduced in 2002, which is unrelated to the employment status of the caregiver. Previously payment was conditional on taking parental leave, which created a disincentive for employment, particularly for the low-paid. This reform enhances financial work incentives by removing this barrier to participation. According to the State Family Benefits Act (§ 6) the level of childcare allowance varies according to family size and is enhanced if there is more than one child under 3 years old; with a lower rate for each additional child aged 3-8 years.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• The reform of the conditions for receipt of the childcare allowance has enhanced work incentives because receipt is no longer conditional on taking extended parental leave.

EL: In-work benefits only exist for the unemployed on benefits who accept part-time work (see Box 1.24); there are no special in-work benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Tax deductions for dependent children are low and increase the ceiling of non taxable income for all families regardless of total income level or the employment status of the ‘second earner’ in couples.

The income tax system is individualised/aggregated for couples (they can elect for individualisation).

Child benefits are flat rate for civil servants, earnings-related for private sector employees and related to family-size for the unemployed. The amounts paid by employers are low and the social security rates even lower.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner; rather the limited financial support for ‘second earners’ and dependent children in the tax/benefit system compel women to seek employment.

• Income support measures within the tax/benefit system for those with care responsibilities do not create any particular financial disincentives for women to enter or remain in employment, with the exception of the maternal benefit paid to mothers for the third child in low income families (annual income up to 20 000 euro). This is paid until the youngest child is 6 years old, regardless of whether the mother receives any pay, pension or other income. The amount is quite important for low-income families, and while the benefit cannot create an incentive to leave paid employment, but may act as an incentive to stay at home (Karamessini et al., 1998).

• Since most Greek families can no longer be maintained by one earner, women are compelled to find paid employment.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

ES: Income tax allowances were increased in 2002, and additional tax allowances introduced for those with children under 3 (1 200 euro/year), low-income elderly parents (800 euro/year or other care responsibilities for the disabled or the elderly (5 000 euro/year).

There are no special in-work benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Most child-related payments are targeted at low-income households and are quite low. At the national level, the social security allowance for children under 18 is means-tested, in 2003: 291.01 euro/year when income is less than 8 264.28 euro/year + 15% from the second child onwards, with higher rates for disabled children and a lump sum payment of 450.76 euro for the birth of a third child in low-income families.

The only non means-tested child-related payment is the payment of 100 euro/month (or the tax allowance of 1 200 euro/year) paid at a national level to employed mothers with a child under 3. This is an incentive for women to remain in employment (claimed by 355 000 women in March 2003). There is great regional variation in the basic protection system and elderly and childcare services. For example, in the region of Cantabria, this payment has been extended to non-working mothers.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system – but the limited level of financial support for ‘second earners’ and dependent children compels women to seek employment.

• The combination of a lack of childcare services and income-related withdrawal of child-related payments can contribute to trapping women into inactivity or unstable employment.

• The tax system creates disincentives for second earners in the household. The marginal tax rate (after tax benefits are deducted) is higher for second-earner families with two children than for one-earner families. Spouses can choose to pay their income tax jointly or on an individualised basis.

FR: See Box 1.3: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes. The PPE (employment tax credit) is for all low-paid employees – the presence of children does not change the amount received very much, and there are no specific provisions for lone parents. Couples may claim it provided at least one is economically active and there is a greater incentive if both partners are economically active. The PPE creates a direct financial incentive to work and increase working hours.

Likewise, the family coefficient that was introduced into the income tax system does not help the lowest paid parents because they do not pay income tax (50% of households do not pay income tax in France).

Family benefits paid for the second and third child are not means-tested and hence there is no work disincentive created for parents in this part of the social protection system.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The main disincentive for the employment of mothers in France is the APE and the API (single parent) allowances (the aggregated taxation system also creates disincentives for the second earner in households but as noted above 50% of households do not pay income tax so this disincentive does not impact on the lowest income households with children).

• APE (parental childcare allowance, which is the same rate as minimum social benefits) is available to mothers if they have 2 or more children and at least one child under 3 years if they are not employed. It provides an incentive to withdraw from the labour market. The economic activity rate of this group of mothers dropped by 15% between 1994 and 1997, with most of the impact on low-skilled women in low-paid and mostly part-time jobs. It is estimated that about a half of these mothers would have remained in the labour market if this measure did not exist (between 40% and 70%, according to econometric studies, see Piketty, 1998).

• In 2003 the APE was extended to parents with one child for 6 months if they decide to stop work after the end of maternity leave, provided they have worked at least 2 years prior to the birth (340 euro/month, paid in addition to the 160 euro basic allowance for each birth). This measure earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households? was presented as a general family policy measure but basically concerns mothers in disadvantaged households who have an insecure job. The problem is that subsequent labour market re-entry is difficult for these mothers.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low

IE: See Box 1.16: In-work benefits exist for employed low-income parents but these can create unemployment traps.

The key financial reform adopted by recent governments in relation to the tax/benefit system has been the move from the household-based tax system to an individualised tax system and significant increases in Child Benefit. A main aim of tax individualisation was to make work pay for married women who had traditionally been subject to very high marginal tax rates as ‘second earners’. At each Budget over the period 2000-2002 incremental reform towards individualisation of the tax bands was implemented but full individualisation has not yet been achieved. Child Benefit is a universal payment to all families with dependent children regardless of social insurance contribution record or household income. Because it is a universal payment, it does not have any negative employment related impacts and is often viewed as a direct income support to women, particularly women outside paid employment. It has been increased significantly in recent years and was increased by a small amount in 2004 (by 6 euro to 131.60 euro per month for the first and second child and increased by 8 euro per month to 165.30 euro for the third and subsequent children).

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• See Box 1.16: There is still a household-based emphasis in the tax/benefit system which creates a number of disincentives and barriers for the employment of ‘second earners’, notwithstanding recent reforms to (partially) individualise the taxation system.

IT: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

An income-related family allowance (assegno per il nucleo familiare) and a family allowance for large households (assegni per le famiglie numerose) target some support at low-income families. The level of these allowances is only significant for very low-income households, and so is unlikely to have a major impact on the decision to exit or remain in employment.

There have been some efforts to reform the limited coverage of social assistance: a ‘minimum income allowance’ (RMI) was introduced on an experimental basis to tackle extreme poverty but in 2004 it was replaced by an ‘income of the last resort’ (RUI). The administration of social assistance is devolved regionally in the context of reduced financing from the national government, which has limited the implementation of this provision.

The Italian personal income tax system (IRPEF) is individualised, with provisions for family-related tax detractions (detrazioni per carichi di famiglia) related to: dependent spouse, number of dependent children (irrespectively of their age) and other dependent people for all workers (employees and self-employed). However, the difference in personal taxation between families with and without children remains very small. An additional tax detraction (123.95 euro) has been introduced for each child

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner; rather the limited financial support for dependent children in the tax/benefit system compels women to seek employment.

• The tax and benefit system in Italy is very unequal (penalising households with minor children) and provides only a very minimum level of support for those without a contribution record. At the same time it does not create particular financial incentives to exit or remain in employment.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

CY: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

A child benefit is paid to the mother (unless the father is widowed or has custody following divorce) whether they are working outside the home or not (CYP 200/child [approximately 340 euro] plus CYP 600 pounds if there are four or more children). The credit is given for children under the age of 18 or up to 23 years for those who are in education or otherwise economically dependent (with a 26 month extension for military service by boys). Mothers with 4 or more children (‘polytekni’) always retain this status; in other words, even if she only has one dependent child remaining, she is still entitled to the CYP 600 credit instead of the CYP 200 credit.5

The personal income tax system is individualised, each spouse files a tax return and is taxed on their earnings regardless of what their spouse earns.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• Income support measures within the tax/benefit system for those with care responsibilities do not create any particular financial disincentives for women to enter or remain in employment.

LV: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Poor families may apply for the status of poor household/individual. Support to poor households in terms of special social support depends on the possibilities of each municipality. The amount of municipal support has decreased because of poor financial resources of municipalities.

The state family benefit has been raised, increasing the resources directed at all families. This is paid to the main carer for each child younger than 15 years, or older unmarried children in education or training. The benefit increases progressively according to the number of children (6LVL for one child while the rate is 1.8 times higher per 4th and subsequent children), with a higher benefit for a disabled child under 18 years (50 LVL/month). On average, the level of family benefit paid has increased from 4,93 LVL to 5,65 LVL per month.

Childcare benefit is paid to the main carer for each child until the age of 3 years provided the carer is not employed or is on childcare leave and works part-time. It has recently been increased significantly (from 12 LVL to 30 LVL for a child under 18 months, falling to 7.5 LVL for a child aged 18 months-3 years). There is also a one-off ‘childbirth benefit’ paid per child.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The increase in child-related benefits paid to the main carer has improved women’s financial security while on parental leave but create financial disincentives for resumption of full-time employment.

LT: A key financial policy tool to encourage the participation in the labour market of persons with parental responsibilities is the higher tax exemption minimum (TEM) paid to low income households. The basic TEM is equivalent to 58% of the monthly minimum wage (500 LTL, 3.45 LTL=1 euro). At the start of the tax reforms (1991), the largest TEM was awarded to disabled persons and households containing 3 and more children under 18 years. The TEM was an aggregated joint award to couples, with a full individual TEM allocated to single parents. The TEM for parents has been increased and the eligibility conditions reformed several times in the period since the start of the tax reforms in 1991. In 2003 an additional tax-exempt amount (ATEA) was introduced for parents with 1 or 2 children aged under 18 years or in full-time education. This is equivalent to 10% of the basic TEM for each child. This ATEA is split between parents in couple households, introducing some measure of individualisation into this tax exemption.

In May 2004 a new Law on Allowances to Families with children (No 88-3208) was adopted which reformed the previous system of social support. This was designed to address the problems of child poverty, and the decline in the proportion of women having children while at the same time the proportion of families with 3 or more children is growing. Under the previous system, families were supported in two cases: until the child was 3 years old (0.75 Minimum subsistence level per month [MSL]), or where a family had 3 or more children (1 MSL/month for 3 children, plus 0.3 MSL for each subsequent child). The new regulations (came into force on 1 July 2004) introduce a payment of child allowances for the families with 1 or 2 children in addition to the monthly benefit paid until the child is 3 years old all families will receive a monthly benefit of 0.4 MSL (50 LTL) per child until the child is 18 or 24 if s/he attends further education or university) It is important to stress that these reforms were aiming to ‘encourage the families to raise and maintain their children’, thus, the objectives were largely of a demographic character rather than a labour market measure (Social Report 2002. Ministry of Social Security and Labour, Vilnius, 2003, p. 42).

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

The informal economy still plays an important role, although the number of persons involved is decreasing. Such employment makes it possible to obtain undeclared incomes (in most cases irregular) and to receive means-tested social support benefits for many families.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The income tax regulations are not harmonised with the system of social assistance and as a result do not encourage participation in the labour market of certain groups of population (long-term unemployed, housewives, etc).

• High rates of income taxes (33%) create a financial disincentive, for those in receipt of minimum wages pay a high proportion of their income to the state budget. On the other hand, financial assistance from the same budget in various forms is being directed to for families with children.

• The personal taxation system in Lithuania is individualised.

LU: See Box 1.5: The 2001/02 PIT reform has produced a general reduction in the tax burden, with substantial rebates for low-wage earners. This is the main measure likely to enhance financial work incentives for the low-paid. There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes aside from the progression within the income tax system.

Since 1991, the government has reduced the child tax credit in exchange for a directly equivalent increase in the level of family allowances (paid to all families; not income-related). For example, between 1998 and 2002, the child tax credit was reduced from 1 190 euro to 900 per child while family allowances were increased by an equivalent amount (Berger, 2003). According to the House of Representatives (2001) the aim of this reform was to increase the disposable income of low and average income households with children that did not benefit from the child tax credit system.

In 2002, the government introduced the fixed allowance for child-rearing (‘forfait d’éducation’). This measure aims at partially extending the baby years measure to inactive parents. The parent who takes main responsibility for caring for her/his children and has never been employed in the reference period is entitled to a fixed child-rearing pension supplement of (78.79 euro/month per child).

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The tax system is not individualised.

• The policy of reducing the child tax benefit in favour of family allowances and the introduction of the fixed allowance for child-rearing has improved the financial security of mothers in low-income households but it might produce disincentives for them to resume employment in the context of limited childcare.

HU: There have been some tax reforms to reduce taxes for those on low income, but these are not specifically aimed at parents. There are tax credits for families raising at least three children. However, only those with sufficient income can use the whole allowance, thus it targets large families with a decent income rather than low-income families. One of the parents can claim it, usually the one who gets the family allowance. If s/he cannot exploit all the limits, the other (co-habiting) parent can take over the remaining tax credit. The monthly tax credit is the following: in the case of 1 child: 3 000 HUF, 2 children: 8 000 HUF, 3 or more children: 10 000 HUF x number of children. Consequently low-income families with 3 children could have a rather significant tax credit a year (360 000 HUF), but they rarely have such a high (official) income, so they partly lose the tax credit. In 2003 1 million 10 thousand taxpayers exploited the tax credit, whereas the parents of 600-650 000 children could not because of their inactivity or low income. (http://www.ngo.hu)

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

A universal non-means tested child benefit (‘Childcare assistance benefi’) was introduced on 1 January 1999. The benefit level is relatively low and paid until the child leaves secondary school.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• The Hungarian taxation system is individualised (and has been since taxation was introduced in the late 1980s).

MT: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• Currently a full-time worker or self-employed person is entitled to be taxed at a flat rate of 15% on earnings from a second job, up to earnings of Lm3 000 from this second job. The NAP/Employment proposes that in the case of a couple opting to be taxed at the married rate, this 15% entitlement may be transferred in part or in whole to a spouse working on a part-time basis only – while the other spouse remains taxable at the preferential married rate. The tax system will automatically identify those cases where this new entitlement would be more preferential than both spouses being taxed at 'single' rates. This measure will increase the incentives for second earners contemplating taking employment for a relatively low income if they live in households with one breadwinner in an income bracket which is highly progressive.

NL: See Box 1.11: A tax credit for employed persons was introduced in 2001 to make paid work more financially attractive, but this applies to every worker, regardless of the level of income.

In order to stimulate labour force participation of persons with care responsibility a ‘combination tax credit’ has been introduced. This tax credit applies to each employed parent with children under the age of 12 who earn more than 4 306 euro per year (in 2004 this is 224 euro per working parent). There is a supplementary combination tax credit for lone parents and for the partner who earns least in the household (in 2004 this credit is 290 euro). These credits are in addition to the standard credit of 1 213 euro for employed persons with annual income of at least 16 654 euro, with lower rates for lower earnings.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system have not been solved by the recent reforms to childcare cost subsidies.

• On January 1 2005 a new act on childcare will come into force. This act includes a shift towards a more demand-driven system of financing, for a central element of the act is that the government will give parents a subsidy so that they have more opportunities in choosing childcare. The subsidies are dependent on household income. As a result the marginal burden on the second income may be quite high, especially if there is a large difference between the primary and secondary earner.

• The income tax system is individualised for couples.

AT: See Box 1.6: Recent tax reforms have reduced the tax paid by all households with low earnings and have introduced additional tax relief for children raised in single-earner households (i.e. single parents and couples where only one member is employed). Those single-earner households which are low-paid gain an additional tax credit for the low-paid single-earner which converts into a cash payment when it is not consumed by the tax bill.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• See Box 1.6: While the reforms have reduced the marginal tax faced by one earner in the household the income tax system creates disincentives for second earners by linking child supplements eligibility to single-earner status and the increase of the additional-earnings threshold. This promotes a very specific family model: the single-earner family, with a (female) partner who (if at all) works part-time. The additional family allowance for low-income households with three or more children may provide an additional financial disincentive for the second earner to take up or increase their employment.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

• See Box 2.1: Additionally, the new childcare benefit (Kinderbetreuungsgeld) has improved women’s financial security while on parental leave but has led to a longer withdrawal of women from the labour market and has not increase fathers’ use of parental leave (Lutz, 2003).

PL: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

The recent reform of November 2003 (implemented in May 2004) results – in general – in reduced financial assistance which is targeted at the low-income families. For instance, the income threshold for the family allowances has been reduced (the household income per person should not exceed 504 PLN, reviewed every 3 years). The allowance is dependent on the number of children. The basic family allowance is supplemented by financial additions, granted under special circumstances related to the care and child-rearing and nursing allowances.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• Financial support for families (family allowances, supplements and social benefits) is income-tested which can create disincentives against increasing hours/earnings for those in low-paid jobs.

• Family allowances supplemented by special allowances from the social assistance (e.g. permanent allowance for persons providing personal care for a disabled child, the temporary allowance for single parent of a child under 7 years old who has lost the right to unemployment benefit) could demotivate people to look for a job or encourage them to exit employment.

• The option of joint taxation (joint returns by spouses) exists and thus can reduce the financial incentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner. However, the personal tax system has been very stable in terms of tax-free income, tax scale and tax rates in recent years and no additional elements have been introduced to favour joint taxation.

• Household aggregation of income is important for access to family allowances and benefits and to social assistance since almost all of them are means tested. The recent reform of the family allowances and benefits system (November 2003, being in force since May 2004), results – in general – in reduced financial assistance which is targeted at the low income families. The basic family allowance is supplemented by financial additions, granted under special circumstances related to the care and child-rearing and nursing allowances. Since most of them are income-tested they mostly concern low income families, and may create a ‘benefit trap’ for these households.

PT: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

In the last two years, social protection reforms have targeted resources more towards lower income families through an extension of means-testing.

The family allowance for children and young people (Abono de família para crianças e jovens) is intended to offset the costs of raising children. It is paid for all children living in a family with an income below a threshold (up to 5 times the minimum wage), regardless of whether the parents are working or not. It can be claimed up until the child is 24 if still in education/training or is disabled (with additional benefits paid for disabled children). A recent measure introduced a double payment in the month of September for school-age children for school materials.

Family allowances are not subject to tax. The tax regime takes into account the number of dependent persons in the household and favours large families. Certain expenses associated with the education of children are taken into account up to a given ceiling, leading to a reduction in taxes. This also applies to families with disabled or older people in their care.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ’second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The joint taxation and tax splitting of spouses can create a disincentive for the second earner where there is a large differential in earnings between both earners.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

• The extension of household-based means-testing (see Box 1.14) rather than reforms in the direction of individualisation may create labour supply disincentives for the ‘second earner’, but given the low incomes and even lower benefits, this effect is very marginal, practically affecting only the most poor.

• The combination of a lack of childcare services, joint taxation and the income-related withdrawal of family allowance may create a disincentive for the second earner to increase earnings. However, in practice Portugal has one of the highest female rates of full-time economic activity.

SI: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

There are in-work benefits in certain companies (defined usually in company statutes, usually in large, profitable companies with strong trade unions) targeted at low-income employees. These are not specially targeted to parents, but could be helpful to them (financial help, for example, for school books).

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• There are no major disincentives in the tax/benefit system that promote the wife/mother role as a second earner. The personal taxation system is individualised. Although some analysis of the impact of child benefits show that tax breaks are more favourable for families with one earner than two (if the earnings in family are the same), differences are not such to function as disadvantage to employment of women/mothers.

• Data on the impact of parenthood on employment of women in Slovenia show a negative gap of 8% – more mothers than women without children (in age group 20-50) are employed. The gender pay gap of 10% is also not enough to promote non working wife/mother role for women in Slovenia.

SK: The contemporary system of assistance and social benefits is much more restrictive than in the past and tied more closely to the employment of parents – i.e. to get various family allowances it is necessary that at least one of the parents is working. The number of children in the family does not play such a significant role as before, because the system of assistance is much less in favor of the families with more than 4 dependent children.

Since 1 January 2004 every parent (mother or father) can claim a child allowance for every child (540 SKK/month per child). The tax reform includes a child tax benefit for one of the parents (400 SKK/month for each child under 16 or for a child aged under 25 in education). The precondition for a parent to get a child tax benefit is that the amount of yearly income represents at least one half of the official minimum wage.

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• It is too early to fully evaluate the major reforms to the tax system introduced on 1 January 2004. This new system, which can be labelled as a ‘flat tax’ system, is individualised. The principle orientation towards the family is the tax benefit for persons with dependent children and for persons, whose spouse has no income (respectively – his/her yearly income is under 80 832 SKK per year).

FI: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes aside from the progression within the income tax system.

The income tax system in Finland is individualised.

Comment: the tax/benefit system – in combination with the childcare system – promotes labour market involvement for all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• The ethos of the Finnish tax/benefit system focuses on supporting the employment integration of all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

SE: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

See Box 1.29: A combination of various factors have helped to achieve high rates of labour market integration for those with care responsibilities for young children; particularly the Swedish investment in the parental leave and childcare system, but also education, an individualised personal taxation system, a solidaristic wage policy and public sector employment.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

Comment: the tax/benefit system – in combination with the childcare system – promotes labour market involvement for all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• The ethos of the Swedish tax/benefit system focuses on supporting the employment integration of all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• Measures such as the recently introduced ceiling on childcare costs (see Box 4.2) have had a positive effect on women’s labour supply and illustrates that it is still the mothers’ rather than the fathers’ labour supply which is reduced by parental responsibilities and childcare costs.

UK: See Box 1.4: Tax credits for the low-paid have recently been extended in the UK, and include specific, additional provisions for low-paid parents.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• The expansion of the tax credit has been accompanied by an increase in joint assessment for couples, which is in tension with the largely individualised structure of the personal taxation system and the shift towards greater individualization in other parts of the tax/benefit system.

• The reforms have increased the financial incentives for the ‘main’ earner in households, but have reduced those for the ‘second’ earner. This and a number of other features of the reform promote the model of a single ‘main earner’ as the expected norm for households.

BG: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes (but employed persons on low income may apply to the social assistance scheme for financial assistance).

The taxation law was amended in October 2004 to raise income thresholds, reduce tax rates and increase the progressiveness of the tax scale to target the tax reductions at low income levels. It also introduces some tax reductions for children to set against family income (the threshold for non-taxable income will be 65 euro/130 BGN per month in 2005 relative to the national minimum monthly wage which is 120 BGN in 2004). The additional tax reductions for children start at 182 BGN/month for one child and 225 BGN/month for two children, and there are number of eligibility conditions.

There have also been some reforms of the child allowance system designed to help low-income and large families. Child allowances are income-related and were reformed in 2002 to double the levels of benefits paid and to integrate the funds and administration for both those covered by employment insurance and those without. The amount is now 7.5 euro (15 BGN) per child per month for families with a monthly income of up to 75 euro/month. Parents of children with disabilities are entitled to twice this amount irrespective of the family incomes. All families are eligible to a Birth Grant equal to 100 euro (200 BGN) for the first, second and third child and 50 euro for every additional child in the family.

The government has started an incremental process of reducing employers’ social security contributions in a series of reforms which commenced in 2002 (the ratio of employer/employee contributions has fallen from 80/20 to 75/25 with a target of a 50/50 split).

Comment: the tax/benefit system does not create any particular financial disincentives for the employment of the ‘second’ earner.

• There are no particular incentives to exit or remain in employment created by the tax and benefit system.

IS: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

See Box 1.7: Tax reductions for all taxpayers are the main element of recent tax/benefit reforms (the personal taxation system is individualised).

Comment: the tax/benefit system – in combination with the childcare system – promotes labour market involvement for all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

• The ethos of the Icelandic tax/benefit system focuses on supporting the employment integration of all adults rather than a model of main/second earner for couples.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

LI: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Married persons are treated as a unit for joint taxation. There are tax deductions for minor children (maximum 4 000 euro/child). Single parents can claim an additional single-parent deduction (these deductions are also granted to widowed, separated, divorced, or single persons living with children) and a household deduction, which amounts to ca. 4 000 euro.

Family allowances in Liechtenstein include a one-time birth grant (approx. 1 400 euro), monthly child allowances (70 euro/month for every child up to age 10, and 100 euro/month for every child over 10) and an additional allowance for single parents (approx. 65 euro/month).

In 2003, the Liechtenstein Equal Opportunities Office (Stabstelle Gleichstellungsbüro) and women’s NGOs drew up proposals for tax relief for working parents (entitled ‘Promoting the reconciliation of work and family life’) and presented them to the government. However, these proposals have neither sparked a public debate nor has there been any reaction on the part of the government so far.

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• See Box 1.23: tax/benefit measures are oriented towards maintaining a traditional ‘male breadwinner’ gender arrangement and focus on supporting marriage and (married) women who have exited the labour market after childbirth.

NO: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

The progressive tax system means persons with lower incomes pay less tax. Low-income families currently pay significantly less for municipal childcare because the costs are means-tested, but this differential may be reduced as a consequence of a reform to reduce childcare costs by the introduction of upper limits on the amount that parents are to pay (Maximum Parent Payment).

Comment: disincentives for the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households in the tax/benefit system.

• A cash for care benefit exists (NOK 3 657, approx. 440 euro) for children aged 1-2 years old that do not occupy a place in publicly subsidised childcare and provides a financial incentive for parents to exit employment/reduce to part-time hours (introduced for 1-year-olds from 1 August 1998, for 2-year-olds from 1 January 1999). One of the benefit’s main rationales is to increase parents’ time with their children, thus reducing their market time. However, the impact of this reform has been very modest in the short term, both concerning mothers’ labour supply and the demand for childcare services (see Ellingsæter, 2003). A central assumption of the reform is a difference of interests among ‘working mothers’ and ‘stay-at-home mothers’. This distinction is outdated; the choice mothers normally make is not between staying in the labour market or staying at home, but rather between different strategies for combining work and children.

• There is additional tax relief for the ‘single breadwinner’ family arrangement: single breadwinners in two-parent families receive twice the income tax deduction of individuals in dual-earner households (tax class 2 NOK 63 200 vs. individual tax class 1 NOK 31 600 for dual earners).

RO: There are no special in-work tax credits/cash benefit schemes for employed parents with low incomes.

Two new child-related measures were introduced for low-income families in 2003 (income/per family member is less than 1.5 million lei, equivalent to 60% of minimum wage in 2003), regardless of the employment status of the parents. The ‘complementary family allowance’ is paid according to family size and rises from 12% of minimum wage for a family with 1 child to 18% for 4 or more children. The ‘support allowance’ is paid to low-income lone parent families and rises from 18% of minimum wage for a single parent with one child to 27% for 4 or more children.

These benefits are paid in addition to the child state allowance which is provided to all children aged up to 16 and extended up to 18 if they participate in education process (Law 61/1993). The level of this benefit in 2003 was of 8.4% of minimum wage and about 4.3% of net medium wage.

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Table A.3. Tax credits/cash benefits and the work incentives of ‘second earners’ in couple households with low income and dependent children (cont.)

Specific tax credits/cash benefits designed to ‘make work pay’ for the employed with low earnings and dependent children – does the policy design promote or curtail the employment of ‘second earners’ in couple households?

The guaranteed minimum income was introduced in 2001 (Law 416/2001) in concordance with EU regulations. In 2003 the minimum level for a single person was equivalent to 29.6% of the minimum wage (15.2% of median wage), rising to just above the minimum wage for a family of five persons (109.1% of the minimum wage). The social assistance paid covers the short fall between family total income and the GMI levels. As an incentive measure the social support is increased by 15% if at least one member of family is employed. Persons able to work who refuse to undertake a work placement that benefits the community have their social assistance suspended.

Comment: limited financial support for ‘second earners’ and dependent children in the tax/benefit system compel women to seek employment.

• Unemployment benefit and social assistance levels are low, creating financial pressures for employment and job-seeking.

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[1] Approx. 21.56 euro (1 euro = approx. 32,Kˇc)

[2] Approx. 111.66 euro

[3] Flexible Forms of Work Promote Positive Changes in Work Relations, http://www.socmin.lt/?1008330361

[4] See in I. Beleva, V.Tzanov, ‘Labor market flexibility and employment security’, Bulgaria, ILO, 2004 forthcoming.

[5] Mothers in Cyprus with 4 or more children (polytekni) are entitled to a one-time credit of CYP 2 000 to buy a car (since the public transportation system in Cyprus is almost non-existent and families with many children face even more problems in their transportation). However the average price for a new low-end family car is around CYP 10 000 pounds.