Social context of motherhood

I came back from the first meeting of Mommas Coffee in Poland with expectations fully overcome. I learnt a lot, I met other mothers and women, and we also reflected about the present challenges of the motherhood. One of the subjects we dicussed about was the social context of the upbringing in the different participant countries.

My galician mates will agree with me in both rage and shame feelings when exposing the
motherhood, upbringing and family institutional supports in the tree countries involved.
Despite the serious demografic situation in Spain and particularly in Galicia, our country lacks a
good social system on this area, as they are clearly lower and insuffcient compared to the other two
countries as it will be exposed.

The maternity allowance lasts 1 year getting the 80% of the salary. It can be shorter but receiving a
bigger percentage of the salary. This allowance can last three years with no salary, but keeping the
job when finished. The working mothers can ask for helping home services for free. In direct aid,
the most important is the subsidy of € 115 / month per child  until they reach the age of 18. This is independent of the income level of the family or of their employment status.

The maternity allowance for working mothers can start up to 2 months before delivery and it lasts
28 weeks for single births and 37 for multiple births, being charged 70% of the salary during this
period. As in Poland, this leave can be extended up to three years without pay but guaranteeing
employment and position, except for leadership positions. After this time the job is still guaranteed
but not the position. In direct aid, families receive € 8,600 for single births and € 12,780 for
multiple births. There is a proposal that will be submitted soon to approval to increase these
amounts to € 10,180 and € 15,270 respectively. The right to this assistance is independent of the
level of income or employment status. This money is divided into monthly payments between 2 to 4
years as requested by parents (eg in 2 years they receive € 358 / month and if they opt for the
maximum of 4 years € 179 / month). During this period, part-time work is also possible as long
as the child does not attend the nursery more than 46 hours per month. Low-income families also
receive a single payment of approximately € 500 for immediate expenses arising from childbirth.

Working mothers have a 16-week leave with 100% of the regulatory base for maternity benefit, but
only for those who have paid at least 180 days in the last 7 years. Those not reaching the minimum
of contribution have a subsidy corresponding to 100% of the IPREM (€ 547.84 / month) for 6
weeks only, extendable to two more in particular cases. Direct aids consist on € 28.41 / month and
increases by 15% for each additional child up to 18 years, and is only avaliable for families with incomes lower than €12.313/year.

They can also receive a single payment of € 1,000 only for large, single-parent or disabled families
of 65% of mother or father and who do not exceed an established income limit. In case of multiple
birth you can also receive a single payment of € 3,600 which increases with the number of children.
Within the specific regional aid for Galicia is the welcome card that consists of € 100 / month for an
exclusive year for baby expenses but only for families with incomes less than € 45,000 / year. For
dependent children under 3 years can request a single payment of € 360 for the first child, € 1,200
for the second and € 2,400 for the third or more but only for families without the obligation to declare the income (income less than € 22,000 / year).
Both in Poland and Czech Republic aids include maternity leave of higher quality than Spanish
ones, as well as important stability elements such as the maintenance of employment in case the
parents wish to benefit from extensions of these losses for child care. Direct aid in these two
countries is greater in amount and many of them are available to all families regardless of income
level or working conditions. In the case of Spain, there is a large number of national and regional
aid, but in general of smaller amounts, with many requirements on income levels and on social
security contributions or focused on specific groups of the population (large families or single
parent, disabled etc.). In addition, the bureaucratic tangle of procedures and application deadlines
does not seem to facilitate access to them. In general, it does not seem that the approach of the
Spanish aid provides the population with the labor or economic security necessary to embark on a
family project or to increase the size of them.

Although there may be many other factors that affect birth rates, it is clear that the commitment of
these countries to support the family has paid off. The birth rates in Poland and the Czech Republic
have increased during the last years while in Spain they decrease and in Galicia they fall in a
tailspin. In Poland there is even talk of a “baby boom” based on the implementation of aid of € 115 /
month per child starting with the second child in 2016.

Source: https//

Other articles refer there is no direct relation between maternity aids and gross domestic product, as
showed in the following figure, which indicates that social investements in lower economies can
also reverse negative trends in birth rates.

After these reflections I have many doubts … What plans do our administrations have to solve the
serious demographic problem that we face? How do they plan to maintain the retirement pension
systems in the future? How are rural economies going to survive? Atempting to their inaction
regarding this problem, I wonder if they really care about which answers to all these questions?

Author: Claudia Lorena Quan Rodas – Biologist, mother of two kids of 5 and 8 years. I love horseback riding, sailing and taking care of the orchard. 

Category: Job