Parental benefit, fertility and female labour market behaviour
Department of Sociology University of Tartu Tartu, Estonia
When discussing the position of women in the labour market, fertility, motherhood and care work rise as accompanying issues which are influencing and being influenced by the labour market. Social policies are often planned as tools for influencing the behaviour of the population in the direction which would meet the aims and purposes of the policy makers. Decreasing population and employment of women are considered as key challenges in European countries.
Estonia as one of the smallest EU member states is particularly concerned over becoming extinct and has established one of the most generous parental benefit systems in 2004 with an aim to put an end to period of low fertility. Recent developments show indeed an increase in fertility. The question is - has it really been the impact of parental benefit which insures parent´s full income for a period of childcare? Who are the parents whose behaviour has been changed most? Are these changes in line with the expected changes and economic logic which lies behind these schemes? What happens to the labour market behaviour of women who are paid for caring their child at home? How about fathers´participation in sharing care work?
To shed a light into the possible effects of one very strong policy measure, the presentation will have a close look into recent developments in fertility behaviour, but also labour market behaviour of parents of small children. Registry data is used to analyse the changes in fertility, the structure of women giving birth and labour market behaviour of women before and after the birth.