France have a pro-natalist policy, this is a population policy which aims to encour- age more births through the use of incentives. In 1939 the French passed the ‘Code de la famille’-a complex pieces of pro-natalist legislation. Originally part of this pro-natal policy was banning the sale of comtraceptives, this was repealed in 1967. Now the French government just offers many incentives for people to have children these include:
Payment of up to the equivalent of £1064 to couples having a third child.
Generous maternity grants.
Family allowances to increase the purchasing power of three-child families.
Maternity leave, on near full pay, ranges from 20 weeks for the first child to 40+ for a third.
100% mortgage and preferential treatment in the allocation of 3 bedroomed council flats.
Full tax benefits to parents until the youngest child reaches 18.
30% fare reduction on all public transport for 3 child families.
Pension schemes for mothers/housewives
Child-orientated development policies e.g. provision of crèches, day-nurseries etc.
Depending on the family’s income, childcare costs virtually nothing to around €500 a month for the most well-off.
Nursing mothers are encouraged to work part-time or take a weekly day off work. Encouraging in migration has platyed a big part in this scheme aswell.
Why was it introduced? Pro's and Con's
Why was it introduced?
-France was beginning to suffer from the consequences of an aging population, the retirement age had to be increased
-government was having to put more funding into things such as healthcare for the elderly.
-The birth rate was very low and still decreasing so something needed to be done.
-The fertility rate decreased from 2.73 in the 1960s to 1.73 in 1992. The French government were worried that this would carry on to decline if no action was to take place
It has been unquestioned in the last electoral debates, not like in China where the one-child policy is always being debated by political parties and human rights groups.
It is confirmed every year by la Conférence de la famille
There is no need for women to be married and no need for them to stay at home as
they get childcare
There is strong support provided for one parent families
There are more than 30 measures (not easy to evaluate)
Means-tested benefits but also tax cuts
Still wavering between extra support to the 3rd child and benefits from the 1st child
Stage in the DTM and Policy Evaluation
Stage in the DTM
France is in stage 4/5 of the DTM. It is a highly developed country that moved through the DTM at a similar rate to the UK.
It fits into this category on the DTM because:
-Very Low Birth rate-Family planning, good health, improving status of women, later marriages
-Low Death Rate-Good health care, reliable food supply.
-The policy has helped increase the fertility rate slightly as it has gone from 1.73 in 1992 to 1.98 in 2007.
-France now fears that this temporary addiotional fertility, which first rejuvenates the population will just turn into an even worse ageing population 40 years later. They are trying to think of ways to improve their pro natal policy to keep the fertility rate increasing.
-The policy does work, just not as effectively as is needed for the country to be able to progress further with its development.