The Effects of Parental Leave Policies on Second Birth Recuperation: A Comparison of the Czech and Slovak Populations

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Anna STASTNA, Department of Demography and Geodemography, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Czech Republic
Jirina KOCOURKOVA, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Czech Republic
Branislav SPROCHA, Demographic Research, Centre INFOSTAT, Slovakia
A transition towards childbearing at later ages represents one of the most striking features of demographic change in recent years. Postponement transition commences with an increase in the age of the mother at first birth and usually results in a decline in TFR due to the tempo effect. Less attention has been devoted to the postponement of second childbirth and hence the extension of the childbearing interval between first and second births. We hypothesise that the postponement of the second childbirth following the first delivery negatively influences the second birth recuperation rate. The aim of the paper is to compare the recent transition in childbearing patterns in the Czech Republic (CR) and Slovakia in relation to family policy. We employed the basic benchmark model in order to analyse the postponement and recuperation in cohort fertility. We focus on childcare leave schemes, i.e. the key measure influencing the ability of women and men to balance work and family. Both the length of the parental leave period and the amount of the benefit have the potential to shape the timing of a subsequent birth. The parity-cohort method was used in order to investigate changes in the spacing and quantum of second births among women who had their first child between 1992 and 2012. Despite similar developments concerning childcare leave systems during the 1990s, the CR outperformed Slovakia from 2004 due to a significant increase in both the flexibility and the amount of the parental benefit. We discovered that the increase in TFR between 2003 and 2008 coincided with an increase in the second-birth rate during the third year following first delivery together with a decrease in the second-birth rate during the fourth year and later, and thus contributed towards the higher rate of recuperation of delayed second births in the CR.