Policies that Work
The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has released a new report comparing the policies of 30 countries with respect to work/life balance. The OECD report lists Denmark and Iceland as having the most effective public policies and business practices to allow healthy work/life balance - which helps to reduce poverty, promote child development, and enhance gender equality. Next come Finland, France, Norway and Sweden.
In its analysis of specific policies (such as tax and benefit policies, parental leave, childcare, afterschool care) and practices (such as part-time and flexible hours), the OECD gives 5 recommendations that would contribute to effective public spending and policy development strategy:
1. Don't just give parents money to keep one of them home to care for the kids. This destroys incentives to work, and makes employers biased against hiring women who will be the ones to stay home.
2. Tax/benefit policies should be designed to give both parents financial incentives to work.
3. Single parents should be given quality childcare support and be obliged to work.
4. Parental leave works best when it is short but well-paid. This leave should be designed so that it must be shared by both parents rather than taken only by mothers.
5. Workplaces should be more family-friendly, offering part-time/flexible hours and leave to care for sick children.
While the OECD cautions that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to policy development, it is nice to see that this organization feels the most effective policies are generally those that encourage equality between mothers and fathers so that both can balance their lives and care for their children.
How does this list of recommendations measure up to yours?