Posted September. 24, 2005 07:12,
Starting next July, French families that have a third child will be granted family benefits for a year amounting to the sum of an adults monthly minimum wage.
The French government on September 22 held a Conference on Family Policy presided over by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin and decided to pay monthly benefits of 750 Euros (approximately 940,000 won) to parents on a year-long unpaid leave after giving birth to a third baby.
In addition, the conference agreed to expand tax deductions for childcare for children less than six years old and issue big family cards for families with more than three children to use public transportation almost free of charge.
Although the French fertility rate has risen to Europes highest, 1.916 per woman, thanks to steady policies to encourage birth, the French government has taken these measures as it deemed the current system could no longer produce further results.
Under the current system, French parents, after having babies, are entitled to monthly government benefits of 512 Euros (approximately 640,000 won) while enjoying as much as three years of parental leave. However, the majority of working women actually take only a year off because it is realistically hard to get their jobs back after three years. Moreover, the existing amount of benefits has been considered by many as insufficient to attract well-paid, highly educated women.
In this context, the new system mainly aims to provide benefits equivalent to adult minimum wages for parents who opt to take short leaves before going back to the workplace after giving birth to their third child. Parents with three children can also choose to receive the existing benefits if they want.
Furthermore, the prime minister revealed that the government would build 15,000 more daycare centers in addition to 31,000 scheduled to be built by 2008 in order to resolve the shortage of daycare facilities.
He stressed, We have to do all we can to support French families in giving birth to as many children as they wish. Frances new policy to boost fertility has set a goal to reach a 2.07 fertility rate that can stop depopulation. Implementing the new system is expected to cost 140 million Euros (some 175 billion won) per annum.
The Conference on Family Policy that started in 1995 is held every year with the purpose of gathering all of the stakeholders, including government, political parties, users, labor unions, civic groups, and experts to discuss Frances population and family policies and adopt relevant institutions.