A baby bonus is a type of financial supplement that is issued to parents as a means of helping to alleviate a portion of the expenses involved with having and rearing children. In many instances, this type of financial support is provided in the form of a government payment and provides an incentive for young couples to have children as a means of balancing the age demographics of the nation. In times past, a number of nations have implemented some sort of baby bonus program when the average age of the citizenry is projected to create a majority of people approaching retirement or already over the age of 50 years.
The exact structure of a baby bonus program will vary, depending on the underlying reasons for the launch of the initiative. In some cases, the focus is to provide aid with the expenses incurred during and just after pregnancy. For example, the program may allow for partial recovery of all medical expenses related to prenatal care, the actual delivery and recovery period, and even some amount of help with postnatal care expenses. In some countries, a baby bonus program would also help to compensate employers for expenses incurred due to granting parental leave to one or both parents for a limited period of time after the birth take places.
The baby bonus program may provide some benefits long after the birth of the child has taken place. This is especially true if the goal is to offset aging population growth with the advent of a numerically prosperous generation that is capable of growing up to replace older citizens as they retire from the work force. Here, parents may receive a child benefit payment on a monthly or annual basis until the child reaches a certain age, with the bonus intended to help with basic expenses such as food, clothing, shelter, hygiene and even school supplies.
In some situations, a baby bonus initiative is structured to function for a limited amount of time, such as five to ten years. Typically, prospective parents must meet some type of qualifications in order to qualify for the baby bonus, such as currently earning a certain amount of income per year, having gainful employment, and generally meeting any criteria set by the officials who oversee the program. By establishing these qualifications, the government encourages couples who want children but cannot afford them to move forward with their plans to have families, to the benefit of both society and the family itself. At the same time, the qualifications help to minimize the potential for individuals to attempt to manipulate the system by producing children simply to receive a government stipend.