Family policy

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Family policy or child policy refers to government policies relating to the rearing of children.

Classification based on the nature of the policies

  1. Directly pecuniary policies: These include taxes, tax breaks, subsidies, and matching for retirement savings, related to the birth or presence of children.
  2. Policies about the relation between child care and employment: These include policies that require or encourage employers to provide (fully or partly) paid leave to mothers and fathers, or policies that encourage employers to tweak their matched savings programs based on the number of children.
  3. Provision of facilities: These include free schooling, day care centers and after school programs.

Classification based on the goals of the policies

Gauthier's classification of family policy

Further information: Gauthier's classification of family policy

Gauthier (1996) classifies family policy into four categories:

  1. Pro-natalist model
  2. Pro-traditional model
  3. Pro-egalitarian model
  4. Pro-family but non-interventionist model

This is related to the view that there are three interrelated dimensions: family solidarity, gender equality, and fertility.

Pecuniary policies to promote children

Tax breaks and subsidies for having children

  • In many countries, parents are allowed to get tax credits (refundable in some cases, non-refundable in others) for each child that they have. This could function in terms of either reducing their taxable income (more typical) or providing a fixed credit that can be applied against their eventual tax liability.
  • Some countries that provide welfare payments to poor people or unemployed people scale these payments based on the number of dependents, so people with more children are eligible for higher welfare payments.

Policies relating child care to employment

Family leave policy

Provision of facilities