Herwig Immervoll: Can Parents Afford to Work?

Friday, 20 April, 2007, 3:00 pm, Vienna, Austria
Seminar Room at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Berggasse 17, 1090 Vienna

Contact: Asghar Zaidi

Herwig Immervoll, OECD, Research Affiliate at the European Centre

Highlights of the Seminar
Childcare policies play a crucial role in helping parents reconcile care and employment-related tasks. The background paper for this seminar quantifies the net cost of purchasing full-time centre-based childcare in OECD countries taking into account a wide range of influences on household budgets, including fees charged by childcare providers as well as childcare-related tax concessions and cash benefits available to parents. Building on these calculations, family resources are evaluated for different employment situations in order to assess the financial trade-offs between work and staying at home. The results indicate that the cost of purchasing childcare services should be analysed in conjunction with other social and fiscal policies that affect family incomes. While childcare fees can be very high, high prices may not impede employment if tax-benefit systems incorporate well-balanced provisions that help parents pay for these services. Conversely, even highly subsidised childcare markets can leave parents with little financial gain from employment if high tax burdens or benefit claw-back rates give rise to adverse work incentives.

The seminar was part of the series of international seminars that are organised at the European Centre debating the fiscal and social sustainability of social welfare systems.

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