Czech Republic: normative or choice-oriented system?

Jiřina Kocourková

in The politics of parental leave policies

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9781847420671
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303961 | DOI:
Czech Republic: normative or choice-oriented system?

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Until 1992, the Czech Republic was part of Czechoslovakia. Czechs and Slovaks shared the whole communist period as one country including the economic and social changes that followed the collapse of the regime. This chapter begins with the history of the Czech Republic, starting with the policies of the country since 1993. It is divided into two sections. The first section consists of several parts reflecting the changes in the Czech political scene up to 2008. In this section, the developments in maternal and parental leave policies are presented systematically. The second section discusses the cross-cutting issues related to leave policy, as well as those related to work, fertility and gender. The current policy development in the Czech Republic is a search for the balance between the normative and choice-oriented approaches. In sum, the social policy history of Czech Republic is marked by a very different political context compared to the then Czechoslovakia. While the leave policy arrangements of Czechs would have been similar to a Swedish model based on the promotion of gender equality both in work and at home, the Czech social policy instead reconnected to the traditional family regime through refamilialisation. Even after the separation of Slovakia, Catholicism remained and has become a stable latent political dimension. Improvement of leave policy arrangements was preferred to the development of a mixed package of support for families. In the absence of comprehensive childcare facilities, parental leave entitlements aimed to reinforce a traditional gender role model as women are encouraged to leave the labour market to raise children, while the opportunity for men to take parental leave has remained hypothetical due to financial circumstances. By the end of 1990s, the Czech Republic social policy had an apparent similarity with the German policy and its traditional male-breadwinner model.

Keywords: Czech Republic; maternal leave; parental leave; leave policy; gender equality; gender role; male-breadwinner model

Chapter.  8010 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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