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Babies and Bosses ‐ Reconciling Work and Family Life (Volume 2) Austria, Ireland and Japan: Families and Care: Who Minds the Children?

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Childcare systems differ greatly between Austria, Ireland and Japan, but in all three countries the proportion of 3‐6 year old children using some type of non‐parental childcare is high, while it is relatively low for children under age three. For very young children, many working parents rely on informal (or formal but poorly regulated) childcare. This chapter provides detailed information on the three countries' childcare systems, on the use of formal and informal non‐parental care, and on recent childcare policy initiatives. It also reviews each country's system of parental leave, with a particular focus on the recently introduced Austrian Childcare Benefit. The core of the chapter discusses policy concerns and policy responses along four critical dimensions which can be seen as the major targets of childcare policy: to increase childcare capacity, to increase equity among parents, to increase user choice, and to increase service quality. Realising these partly interrelated targets would help to achieve the broader objectives of childcare policy: to improve child welfare, to promote child development, and to raise gender equity and female employment...

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003


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