In Zagreb, the mayor passed a motion that pays parents who stay at home to take after their children. It all sounds very progressive, but it often ends up being the mother who stays at home, leading them to become dependent on their partners, creating a gender imbalance in the workforce, and of course pensionless. It’s not a lot of money and it’s much harder to re-enter the labour force afterwards. So there is the possible consequence of reinforcing a highly patriarchal society.
What also happens is that kids often stay at home instead of going to pre-school. Studies have shown that pre-school is important to future developement and it’s hard to catch up afterwards. The payment of stay-at-home mother/parent translates to shifting the state’s responsibility for public pre-school into the individual realm.
Then there is also the question of social assistance. Similar to Hartz IV, receiving social assistance in Croatia comes with restrictions and a grey economy has resulted. I think someone said people living the country side are required to use their garden to grow food to sustain themselves, because land (even if it’s just your garden) is understood as an asset. The World Bank said that the asset test for child benefits was too easy to pass, so the conditions had become more stringent.
Life as being against metrics.
Anyway, those are just some of my quickly scribbled notes on the welfare state here.