Four new Flash Reports prepared by the European Social Policy Network (ESPN) are now available and provide information on family benefits in Greece, Croatia and Hungary as well as changes in the Italian tax system.
- The City of Zagreb (Croatia) introduced in 2016 financial compensation for unemployed parents who raise and care for three or more children if one of these children is of preschool age (so-called “parent-educators”). The main objective of the measure was to increase the birth rate. Available data show that in the first two years the number of third- and later-born children rose slightly, while the number of first-born children fell significantly. The number of beneficiaries has increased constantly. The financial compensation might be reduced because of the COVID-19 crisis.
- In Greece, a one-off “Childbirth Benefit” of €2,000 is granted to mothers who are legal and permanent residents of the country for every child born in the country after 1 January 2020. Eligibility criteria for other social benefits have also been amended. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Government has extended the duration of approved applications of the beneficiaries of certain welfare benefits and the deadline for applying for the “Childbirth Benefit”.
- In Hungary, all mothers who are currently raising at least four children, or who have raised four or more children during their lifetime, have been completely exempt from paying personal income tax since 1 January under certain income conditions specified by law. This measure is expected to benefit some 40,000 mothers and is part of a government package whose main purpose is to increase birth rates.
- The Italian Budget Law for 2020 modifies the tax system by making it more difficult to access the special regime for the self-employed, while reducing the tax burden on low- and middle-wage employees. These measures should reduce the inequality of the tax burden among different occupational categories, but a more comprehensive reform will be needed to tackle the fragmentation of the personal income tax schedule.