Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2014, 62, 405-412
Published online 2014-05-23

Economic and Social Potential of Family-supporting Services, Limits and Challenges

Peter Thijs

Business Management, Management, Thomas More Kempen, Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel, Belgium

Due to the increase of the economic pressure on households, it is increasingly more difficult to balance family life and economic activity. Reasons for this evolution can be the increased labour market participation of women, the ageing of the population to name a few. Within the EU, different systems to offer assistance in creating a balanced social and economically active life have been established in numerous countries. However, the aims, results and general scope of these national policies differ.
The main focus of this paper will be the Belgian situation, i.e. the voucher system (services cheques). Starting with a general view of the reasons of existence of family-support services, followed by the different support services policies offered in various European countries, the Belgian situation will be discussed.
The voucher system in Belgium has encountered an explosive boom which brings unexpected results and side effects. These affect the country’s social economical system. The paper discusses the evolution of the system. What are the reasons for the unexpected success? What are the economic and social consequences for a modern active welfare state, can growth be limitless? The paper will attempt to provide answers on these questions raised.


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