Subsidizing child care could encourage an additional 22,000 women into the workforce, according to new research by the Bank of Israel.
An average Israeli family spends NIS 1,900 a month on child care, and subsidizing half this amount, about NIS 950, would pay off for many working mothers - and for the economy - according to the research, which will be released soon as part of the central bank's annual report. This would raise women's participation in the workforce from 63% to 67%.
Such subsidies could cost the state NIS 2.9 billion a year, but this figure could be cut back substantially if subsidies went only to those with lower earning potential. Such subsidies would also reduce poverty, help close social gaps and increase working hours, according to the research.
Women in Israel miss more work than men, in all sectors, as is common in most of the world. Men take more vacation days, while women take more sick days, especially when the children are sick. This was the case before 2001, but due to the recession a decade ago, women started taking less time off out of fear they might lose their jobs, but since 2009 things have returned to the previous state.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now