Parenting Benefit – A New Risk for Companies
One of the aims of the new parenting benefit – introduced by the German government in January 2007 – is to motivate fathers to take parental leave in order to take care of their young children. Until now, the effects of the parenting benefit have been discussed predominantly from the viewpoint of family policy. In contrast, this paper analyses how companies are affected by the new law. In 2007, the number of fathers who stayed at home to spend more time with their children increased significantly. More than half of the working applicants were already fathers. In the past, it was easy for companies to reduce their risk of losing an important employee due to the birth of a child as companies rather hired men than women. But this strategy will be less important in the future. It is expected that the risk-environment of companies will change because of a larger group of fathers taking parental leave. Such a changed risk-environment could increase the career opportunities of women and might reduce the gender wage gap. However, it is also expected that the overall risk of companies increases. Assumed that companies need equity to cover risks, an increase of the overall risk reduces investment opportunities if it is not possible to increase equity in the same way. This could influence the current economic development negatively.