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New Parental Protection and Family Benefit Act to bring more rights

The Government of the Republic approved the draft Parental Protection and Family Benefit Act and referred it to the National Assembly under ordinary procedure. The rights which are regulated by the draft Act are part of the measures of a unified family policy, which is implemented via a variety of measures in different areas. The act connects individual policies and presents what the state’s social role is and how the vital cell of society – the family – cannot be ignored.

 
The rights to parental protection and family benefits are already regulated in current act at above-standard levels compared to other Member States. The solutions introduced by the amended act upgrade the existing rights.
 
Crucial amendments:

Maternity leave still lasts 105 days.
 
In addition, each parent has the right to parental leave, which lasts 130 days. The mother can transfer 100 days of parental leave to the father (30 cannot be transferred), while the father can transfer all 130 days of his parental leave to the mother.
 
The amended act keeps the existing 15 days ofpaternity leave (taken when the baby is born and the mother is on maternity leave) and introduces another 15 days of (paid) paternity leave after the end of parental leave (after 1 year). This means that the total length of leave granted for the birth of the child is extended from 12 to 12.5 months. The Act foresees a delay in the implementation of the novelties - in the three years after GDP rises by 2.5 per cent at the least, the paid paternity leave will extend by five days a year, while the unpaid paternity leave will shorted by 25 days a year.
 
Other novelties:

  • extension of the right to work part-time when having two children not only until the younger child is six but until the end of the first year of primary school; the right cannot be transferred to the other parent during the year it is exercised
  • raising supplements to child benefits in single-parent families from 10 % to 30 %
  • harmonising terminology with international documents (before: leave for care and protection of a child, now: paternal leave)
  • better regulation of rights of social parents: 
    • Directive 2010/18/EU requires the states to regulate the leave of adoptive parents the same way as parental leave of biological parents (260 days) when adopting a child under 8
    • The act better regulates the rights of social parents that actually nurture and protect the child, e.g. the right to shorter working hours and partial compensation for the loss of income for foster parent and/or guardian, extension of paternity leave (if not used by the biological father)  to the person who actually rears the child, eligibility of adoptive parents or guardians to receive the gift for newborns, etc..
  • harmonisation of legislation with the European Social Charter regarding the Employment Relationship Act, which introduces compensation for an hour of breastfeeding a day until the child is 18 months old: 
    • up to ninth month compensation totals 1/8 of minimal salary 
    • from 9 to 18 months: by paying social security contributions for the relative part of the minimum salary without any other compensation
  • reducing administrative burden of the employers (exempt from completing forms for the assessment of compensations for the leave, reporting on transferred leave)
  • simplifying the work of social security centres, which will also be cheaper (sending documents by regular post, eliminating the option to claim child benefits in retrospect)
  • harmonising the rights and timelines – the act foresees that, generally, a child/parents are entitled to family benefits until the child is 18 (except for the right to child care allowance and allowance for large families), while the rights which have applied until the child is 6, 8 or 10 years old will all apply until the child finishes the first year of primary school.

 

Amendments to the act were necessary due to the transposition (implementation) of EU legislation and in accordance with the European directive to decrease inequality among women and men in professional and family life. The need for changes has also been proven in practice (simplification of the work at social security centre, reducing the administrative burden, simpler, more user-friendly terminology, better clarity of the act, etc.). It was also crucial to regulate the rights of social parent and unify procedures and rights.