Chapter

Developments in Austrian care arrangements: women between free choice and informal care

Margareta Kreimer

in Cash and care

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9781861348562
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447301615 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861348562.003.0011
Developments in Austrian care arrangements: women between free choice and informal care

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Since the early 1990s, two important reforms have taken place to improve the social security and income situations of informal family carers: in 1993 the long-term care allowance was introduced and in 2002 a universal childcare allowance replaced the former parental leave benefit. Together with reforms in the social security system, it could be argued that the Austrian welfare state is beginning to assign a higher value to informal family care. This chapter addresses several questions. First, do these reforms represent a move towards ‘caregiving parity’ for informal carers? Second, have the arguments in favour of these new payments for care focused on their role in extending freedom of choice? Third, do informal carers and/or the people they care for actually experience greater freedom of choice now, compared to before the introduction of the cash benefits? The chapter begins by discussing the concepts of ‘caregiving parity’ and ‘freedom of choice’. It then examines the new childcare and long-term care allowances to see whether these reforms do indeed reflect a new approach to supporting care arrangements, based on these concepts. The chapter concludes that, although the Austrian care system does show some trends that challenge the male breadwinner model, it is still far from reflecting a new model of care.

Keywords: informal care; informal carers; caregiving parity; freedom of choice; social security

Chapter.  5382 words. 

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