Government encourages families in bid to head off labour shortage

09-02-2001

Well, the Czech birth rate is falling, and the government is starting to do something about it. On Wednesday, the cabinet approved a proposed amendment to the law on social benefit, which would increase something called "porodne" - a one- off payment that Czech families receive from the state when they have children. The amendment, if approved by parliament, will also make it possible for more parents to work without losing their right to claim child benefit. According to the current law, anyone on maternity or paternity leave can earn a maximum of 2,100 Czech crowns - around one fifth of the average monthly wage - any more and they lose their child benefit. The new law would allow unlimited extra earnings, encouraging people to work and have children.

The government says the aim of the amendment is to support families with young children, and motivate parents to try to attain a better standard of living. But what does the public think of the government's strategy? went out onto the streets to find out.