In the period from September 29 to October 17, 2023, Croatian Large Families Association “Obitelji 3plus” conducted a survey on the quality of family life in Croatia, in which 1,189 families from all over Croatia participated. Conclussions were sent to Prime Minister.
In the survey, were examined several important topics for families, namely as care for children of kindergarten age, support for parents when raising children, support for parents in the work environment, and housing. Parents participated in the research regardless of the number of children.
More than 73% of respondents confirm that their children have attended or are attending kindergarten, while more than 90% of parents believe that every child should have a place in kindergarten.
More than 37% of parents believe that, if parents know that they have insured care for their children, it is easier to make a decision about the number of children, while 29% of parents are not sure how related it is.
70% of the respondents believe that all public kindergartens in Croatia should be fully subsidized by public money in the way that it is arranged for primary and secondary schools in Croatia.
MEASURE PARENT EDUCATOR
When asked what parents think about the proposal of the measure Parent educator, i.e. the possibility that one of the parents in a family that takes care of at least three children stays at home and takes care of the children and the household, with compensation of the average Croatian salary until the youngest child is 8 years old, 47% of parents answered that this is an excellent measure and necessary so that parents can take better care of their families. 29% of respondents think that the measure is good, but with the possibility that children from the age of three can attend kindergarten for 4 hours a day. 28% of parents think that the measure is good, but it carries the risk of more difficult employment for parents after the expiration of the measure itself, while 17% of parents do not agree with such a family policy measure.
39% of respondents are beneficiaries of child allowance, 58% of parents believe that it is necessary to introduce a child allowance for each child in the amount of EUR 100 per child with progressive growth as the number of children in the family grows, while 32% believe that it is necessary to introduce a child allowance in the amount from EUR 100 per child. More than 73% of parents point out that the introduction of a child allowance in the amount of EUR 100 for each child would significantly or largely affect the quality of life in their family, while only 6% state that it would not affect the quality of life of their family.
FAMILY AND HOUSING
36% of respondents live in their own real estate that is not subject to a loan, while over 40% of respondents live in their own property that is subject to a loan. 20% of respondents do not own real estate and live in rent, 8% with payment, while 12% do not pay rent.
38% of respondents live in a home of up to 80 m², 46% of respondents in a home of 81-150 m², while 16% have more than 151 m².
Almost 50% of respondents believe that they have enough living space for a quality life, while 40% believe that they have it partially and that they could use a room or more space. 11% think that their space is not adequate.
Of the housing care measures, the most beneficial for the respondents would be the following three measures:
- co-financing the purchase of the first property,
- subsidized interest on housing loans,
- tax exemption when buying family real estate.
This is followed by the exemption or reduction of the payment of the communal contribution, the concession or gift of land and the co-financing of the rent.
PARENTS IN THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT
More than 72% of respondents declared that both parents are employed, while in 24% of families one parent is employed, and in a smaller percentage of respondents are unemployed or retired.
34% of respondents have an employer who provides full support and understanding for parents and family needs, and 34% of respondents partially, sometimes in some segments, have support from their employer. 10% of respondents do not have any support from their employer, slightly more than 6% are self-employed parents, and 15% of respondents do not have an employer.
Almost 75% of parents believe that society should value the work that raising more children entails, while 19% of parents believe that the choice about the number of children and the number of roles is not a matter for society, but a personal choice.
77% of parents believe that parents of three or more children should be able to work part-time with full salary until the youngest child is eight years old.
Employer supports that parents emphasize the most would be:
- leave for emergencies and important family days: provision of additional days off or leave for emergencies and important days such as starting school, etc.,
- flexible working hours,
- the possibility of working part-time.
They follow in a slightly smaller number:
- parental leave: support when returning to work after maternity leave in the form of reduced working hours,
- support for paying for childcare (kindergartens and babysitters),
- financial support: paid additional health insurance, etc.
3PLUS FAMILIES IN SOCIETY
We also examined how families perceive the environment’s view of their choice to have a large family, almost 19% of surveyed parents of three or more children stated that they often experience discrimination from society and/or their environment because of their choice to have more children. More than 30% declare that they sometimes experience discrimination, while half of the respondents rarely or almost never experienced discrimination.
20% of parents declare that their children experienced or are experiencing discrimination due to growing up in a large family, 12% rarely experience it, while more than 50% of parents answered that their children almost never experienced discrimination or were not told about it. In the research itself, we received many more messages and comments from respondents in which they expressed their opinions as to why they do not think that kindergartens should be free, how their employer supports parents, what are the needs of parents and what more and more Associations should advocate for, and we will publish the same in the upcoming materials of the Association.
The conclusions of the round table “How to improve the quality of family life in Croatia?” were sent to the Prime Minister
Croatian Large Families Association “Obitelji 3plus” sent a letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia, Mr. sc. Andrej Plenković, in which they informed him about the conclusions of the round table “How to improve the quality of family life in Croatia?” held on October 17, 2023. in Zagreb.
The main topics of the round table were the issue of housing, work models for parents, child allowance and kindergartens.
The conclusions of the round table can be summarized as follows:
- the need to introduce a universal child allowance, with progressive growth for the third and every subsequent child, as a sign of concern for families
- the need for tax exemption on real estate transactions for families with children when purchasing any real estate due to family growth
- the need to subsidize kindergartens at the national level, so that they are not left to the (in)ability of the local authority units.
- introduction of the right to work half-time until the youngest child reaches the age of 8, with a subsidy from the legislator
- flexible forms of working hours, with full pay for part-time work, especially for parents returning after maternity or parental leave
- tax relief on the purchase of a larger car due to the increase of the family.