Estonian Parental Benefit against the Background of the Goal of the European Union Employment Strategy
Researchers have stated that Estonia lacks a definite family policy vision and resources which would enable the state to create a coherent and supporting family policy.
In order to understand in which direction the Estonian family policy is moving, the authors of the article analysed the debates held in the course of the deliberation of the Parental Benefit Act, which was passed in the Riigikogu in 2003, on the basis of the verbatim records of the Riigikogu. The discussion held in the Riigikogu during the deliberation of the Parental Benefit Bill was useful in many respects, first of all because it showed which Estonian family policy problems are considered important at the state level. In the case of the Parental Benefit Act, the main emphasis is on pronatalist approach which aims to increase the birth rate and to make giving birth to children more attractive for Estonian women. The suitability of the parental benefit to the Estonian family policy system may be questioned and this was also revealed in the deliberation of the Act in the Riigikogu. Namely, it was found that the parental benefit is not an integrate solution and the problem of population increase should be solved by a single package of Acts and not by one specific measure. The Parental Benefit Act needs an equally selective child benefit and family allowances system which would take more account of the welfare level of children and would separate it from the amount of the family income, that is, which would essentially have an equalising effect on children as a social group.