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Changing parental leave provisions and shifts in second and third birth rates in Austria

Anna Stastna, Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs (RILSA)
Tomas Sobotka, Vienna Institute of Demography

The study analyses the effects of the changes in parental leave rules in Austria in 1990, 1996 and 2001 on second and third birth rates. These changes determined both the length of parental leave and the potential for prolongation in case of a subsequent pregnancy. We analyse the pace of subsequent childbearing amongst women who had their first or second child in the months preceding and following the modifications of parental leave provision. The prolongation of parental leave from one to two years in 1990 led to a marked increase in second and third birth rates at intervals 21-26 months after the previous birth, whilst its de facto shortening to 18 months in 1996 generated a sharp increase in second and third birth rates at shorter intervals of 15-20 months. However, these shifts did not have any discernable impact on overall second and third birth progression rates.

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Presented in Session 72: Policies in low-fertility countries