Family Benefits In Member States Of The European Union: A Comparative Perspective


The article intends to be a screening of family benefits in the 28 Member States of the European Union (EU) and to contribute to the research of shared trends with respect to family approach in these countries. Four types of family benefits including eight distinctive categories are analysed: child-benefit, child care allowances, child-raising allowances, and other benefits (birth and adoption grants, allowance for single parents, special allowances for children with disabilities, advance payments for maintenance and other allowances). The paper is based on primary and secondary analysis of 28 sets of national data provided through the European Union's Mutual Information System on Social Protection (MISSOC). Three categories of member states are considered: founder member states of the EU, other “old” member states, and the new Central and Eastern ones. Chronological development of national regulations with impact on family benefits is analysed in connection with the moment of becoming a member state. Various forms of family benefits legislation and their main subjects of interest are further researched. The last part of the article looks at the coverage of family benefits. Seven member states operate in this respect based on regulations adopted before EU accession. Belgium, Finland, and Lithuania have the “most preserved” family regulations per category of member states. The first three topics of family regulations are: child, family, and allowance / benefit. The most frequently provided family benefits are: birth and adoption grants, and special allowance for children with disabilities. All eight family benefits are provided in France, Finland, Hungary, and Slovenia. Only two types of family benefits are available in Ireland, Spain, and Cyprus.

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