Italian Budget Law 2024

Paychecks, is the government discriminating against childless women?

The 2024 Budget Law contains various measures aimed at encouraging the birth rate, which has long been illustrated as a priority by the Meloni government.
Among these, there is the tax exemption for workers with 2 children or more, which effectively involves an increase – albeit not extreme – in the paycheck.
The implication is immediate: female workers with children will earn more than those who don't have them or who only have one.
The reason that pushed the government to approve this measure is equally obvious, namely to give a boost to the birth rate without hindering women's work and independence.
In the midst of the fight against the gender gap, however, a relevant distinction is created even within the same group of working women, which favors women with more than 2 children over all others.
Is the government discriminating against childless women? Let's delve deeper into the nature of this measure, the legal bases and above all the political intent that motivates it.
read also Paycheck bonus for mothers with 2 or 3 children, how much does the salary increase in 2024 Higher paycheck for mothers with at least 2 children: is it legitimate? From a purely legal point of view, discrimination is not prohibited a priori, but is indeed welcome when it is aimed at rebalancing citizens' rights in favor of a minority or a particularly damaged category.
The intervention included in the budget law on decontribution could therefore perfectly fit into this objective, also because it is difficult to imagine that the government has approved a measure that is contrary to the law.
The assessment of merit, if it is ever requested, falls only to the competent bodies and primarily to the Constitutional Court, but it would certainly be based on objective elements and data concerning female workers.
Presumably, if the Meloni government approved tax relief for mothers with multiple children, it means that the latter are more disadvantaged.
For example, the 2023 budget law approved the women's option, setting the age of entry to the threshold of 60 but providing "discounts" based on the number of children of the worker.
In this case, the objective data are clearer: the more children a worker has, the more likely it is that she has had difficulties at work and had to take breaks, thus being disadvantaged from a contribution point of view.
The same can be said of the 3,000 euro threshold for fringe benefits for employed parents, especially since these are benefits in addition to salary.
However, the assessment of decontribution is more complex, considering that it involves an actual increase in salary, albeit almost marginal.
read also Same salary for men and women, how pay slips change with the new EU directive Is the Meloni government discriminating against childless women? Giorgia Meloni, immediately after the conference in the Council of Ministers on the budget law, illustrated the government's objectives and justified some of the approved measures by stating that: The concept we want to establish is that a woman who gives birth to at least two children, in a reality in which we desperately need to reverse the demographic data, has already made an important contribution to society, and therefore the State tries to compensate by paying social security contributions.
An evaluation is therefore carried out which is tainted by the political intent, i.e.
that of encouraging births and reversing the trend of demographic decline (also due to the overloading of the pension system).
Not an easy objective to reconcile with the protection of women's work, so much so that it causes some doubts for citizens.
The gender gap in the world of work is a pressing problem for Italy, especially if we look at the gender pay gap, i.e.
the difference in pay.
Proposing a change of this kind risks being perceived by women as a further form of discrimination, as if instead of protecting equality between male and female workers in this latter group too, qualitative distinctions were made.
However noble the intervention may be, the risk is of making the conditions of female workers even worse.
The effect is that women who have chosen not to have children will earn less, in defiance of freedom of decision-making and self-determination, just as women who would have liked to have children but cannot earn less, ending up being instead helped further put under penalty.
Not to mention the further distinction between those who have children: those who have only one are excluded from the bonus, those who have two can benefit from it until the minor turns 10, those who have more than 2 benefit from the tax exemption.
up to the youngest child's 18th birthday.
It is one thing to include practical benefits for working mothers, taking into account the number of children to deal with logistical and economic difficulties and encouraging the reconciliation of work and motherhood.
Another thing is to convey the message that professional and social value is directly proportional to the number of children you have.
The exact opposite of female emancipation, or at least that's what is easily misunderstood.
In fact, the birth rate incentive is one of the cornerstones of the Meloni government's line and reconciling it with female employment and the shortage of funds for the 2024 budget will not have been easy.
A problematic aspect that has already been clear for months, on which all that remains is to wait for further clarification.
read also Budget Law 2024, birth rate measures: the government thinks of families (but not all)

Author: Hermes A.I.

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