Ministries launch joint effort to tackle decline in fertility rate

Ministries launch joint effort to tackle decline in fertility rate

Ministries launch joint effort to tackle decline in fertility rate

Four ministries have launched efforts to address demographic challenges, spurred by a historic decline in the country's fertility rate and a rapid surge in its elderly population.

In 2023, Türkiye saw its elderly population rate surpassing double digits for the first time in its history, reaching 10.2 percent, and catapulting the nation into the category of "highly aged populations" as per U.N. standards.

The 2023 birth statistics released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) recently revealed a significant downturn in Türkiye’s overall fertility rate, hitting its lowest ever recorded level.

In a bid to counter these demographic challenges, the family, labor, health and treasury ministries launched efforts, prioritizing an extension of maternity leave duration.

They initiated an "impact analysis" study, delving into the female workforce count and the financial implications of work absenteeism.

In Türkiye’s private sector, female employees currently have 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, split into eight weeks before childbirth and eight weeks after.

The joint endeavor suggested that increasing the number of children necessitates revisiting the marriage age, ideally resetting it to the 23-26 range.

Initially, the focus will be on elevating the marriage age to the mid-20s, coupled with enhanced marriage incentives.

Newlywed couples will be encouraged to embrace parenthood and ideally have two children before the age of 30. In this vein, both male and female employees will be incentivized and supported, with plans to expand institutional daycare facilities and facilitate caregivers' transportation to and from work with children. Reports in the local media hint at government consideration to subsidize a portion of children's expenses as well.

Labor and Social Security Minister Vedat Işıkhan on June 3 announced that 325 euros ($300) support will be provided to working mothers for 12 months in the capital Ankara, Istanbul and the western province of İzmir.