Several provinces provide supporting support for the "Three-Child Policy"

Can childcare subsidies increase fertility willingness?

  Reporter Chen Xi "Workers Daily" (April 27, 2022 01 edition)

  "A monthly subsidy of 1,000 yuan, are you willing to have a second child/third child?" In January this year, in order to further optimize the birth support policy, the Zhejiang Provincial Health and Health Commission launched the "Investigation on the Cost of Raising Infants and Young Children Under 3 Years Old" in some child-bearing age groups , a question about childcare subsidies in the questionnaire has attracted widespread attention.

  In August last year, Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province announced that for local households with two or three children, a monthly subsidy of 500 yuan per child will be paid until the child is 3 years old.

The reporter combed and found that since the second half of last year, Hunan, Jilin, Anhui and other provinces have issued documents, clearly proposing the establishment of a childcare subsidy system.

  How are childcare allowances issued?

What is the effect of encouraging fertility?

What other support do people of reproductive age need?

 Solve some "milk powder money"

  "Although 500 yuan per month is not much, it can solve part of the 'milk powder' money," said Xu Junfeng, deputy mayor of Panzhihua City, Sichuan Province.

  Many provinces in my country have introduced childcare subsidy systems to provide supporting support for the "three-child policy".

In November last year, the "14th Five-Year Plan for Public Services in Guangdong Province" proposed to explore the granting of inclusive economic subsidies for the birth and adoption of children.

In January this year, Beijing issued the "Implementation Plan on Optimizing the Birth Policy to Promote Long-term Balanced Development of the Population", clearly establishing and improving the family rearing subsidy system.

  Zhejiang Province stipulates that the county (city, district) people's government can provide childcare allowances and childcare expenses subsidies to families with infants and young children under the age of 3 according to local conditions.

Heilongjiang Province has made it clear that the municipal and county-level people's governments should establish a child-raising subsidy system for families that give birth to a second or more child according to law, and give appropriate preference to border areas and old revolutionary bases.

Jilin Province advocates the establishment of a county-level childcare subsidy system, and the provincial finance department will provide appropriate subsidies according to the implementation of the system in various places.

  Compared with the principled regulations at the provincial level, some cities and counties have already planned the implementation details.

For families with two or three children, Panzhihua City has set the subsidy amount at 500 yuan per child per month.

In Linze County, Zhangye City, Gansu Province, subsidies are paid on an annual basis. Two-child families receive 5,000 yuan per year, and three-child families receive 10,000 yuan each year until the child is 3 years old.

  Qiao Lin, a mother in Beijing who just gave birth to her second child, hopes that the policy will be implemented soon. "The second child is just a month old, and milk powder, complementary food, and diapers will cost money." She said that from extending maternity leave to granting childcare subsidies, you can see from it To the country's efforts to reduce the burden of parenting, we look forward to the introduction of more supporting measures in the future.

  How effective is the childcare subsidy incentive?

  To what extent can the "icing on the cake" of childcare subsidies for families with multiple children increase their willingness to bear children?

The reporter randomly interviewed several families of childbearing age, and some said that "although the subsidy is good, it will not decide to have a child because of this."

A white-collar worker admitted that parenting is not just an economic account.

  "The original intention of the child-rearing subsidy policy is to increase the fertility rate by reducing the direct cost of childbirth, which will stimulate a certain degree of per capita income in areas with low per capita income." Wang Tianyu, associate professor of the Department of Social Security, School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China, analyzed that the individual family's Fertility decisions are very complex, and the cost of fertility is only one of the influencing factors.

The survey shows that the decision to go from zero to one child has almost nothing to do with the cost of childbirth, and whether or not to have a second child is also mainly determined by childbearing preferences.

  Li Yue, an associate researcher at the China Population and Development Research Center, said the childcare subsidy policy may have increased short-term fertility rather than lifetime fertility.

"Those one-child families who originally planned to have two children may be encouraged by the policy to advance their childbearing behavior, but they will not decide to have three children because of this. Childcare subsidies undoubtedly improve family welfare, but the policy's independent force, There is limited impact on boosting fertility."

  The affordability of local finances should also be taken into consideration.

Wang Tianyu calculated an account. The number of births in the country in 2021 will be 10.62 million, of which the number of second children will be about 4.6 million.

If only two-child families are subsidized, based on the number of births last year, and assuming a monthly subsidy of 500 yuan per child until the age of 3, the annual investment will be as high as 80 billion yuan.

  In Wang Tianyu's view, the greatest significance of the policy is not to stimulate fertility in the short term, but to build a culture of socializing fertility costs and caring for families with many children.

The effect of culture on reproductive decision-making will only be revealed after a certain period of time.

  More efforts are needed to reduce the burden of childbirth

  "Behind the childcare subsidy system, a complete system of infant and child care services is needed, and a fertility-friendly society calls for policy synergy," Li Yue said.

  Li Yue introduced that the current measures to encourage childbearing in various countries can be divided into three categories: one is economic support, including various allowances and tax relief policies; the second is service support, including the development of childcare services, home help, after-school care, etc.; three It is time support, including maternity leave, parental leave, paternity leave and other leave systems.

  Regarding the further implementation of the childcare subsidy system, Wang Tianyu suggested not to "flood water": "The State Council recently issued the "Notice on the Establishment of Special Additional Deductions for Individual Income Tax for the Care of Infants and Young Children Under 3 Years of Age", which aims to maintain social equity and save financial funds. From an angle, childcare subsidies may also focus on those families and individuals whose income is below the tax threshold."

  The preferential housing policy is also a powerful measure of economic support.

It is reported that Beijing, Jiangsu, Anhui and other places have successively proposed that when allocating public rental housing, families that meet the local housing security conditions and have minor children can be given appropriate care in terms of house type selection and other aspects according to the number of minor children.

  According to data released by the National Health and Medical Commission, more than one-third of families have childcare service needs, but the enrolment rate of infants and young children in various childcare institutions in my country is only about 5.5%.

  "Inclusive childcare institutions are important fertility support forces, but they are currently developing slowly." Li Yue said.

  According to the current policy, inclusive nursery institutions can enjoy a subsidy of 10,000 yuan for each new nursery.

Once it becomes an inclusive nursery institution, it must enroll students at the price guided by the local government.

  Li Yue said that in the case of high operating costs, the income and expenditure of the nursery institutions is not balanced, and there is a lack of motivation to apply.

One of the future directions is to provide monthly operating subsidies according to the number of enrollments, and appropriately reduce or exempt rent and taxes, so as to truly reduce the price of childcare services.

  In the revision of family planning regulations in various places, the extension of maternity leave and the addition of parental leave are a highlight.

Li Yue believes that while adjusting the holiday system, it is also necessary to clarify how to share the cost, and to explore the cost-sharing mechanism of the state, enterprises and families, to reduce employment discrimination and relieve the worries of women of childbearing age.