Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Minister: Parental benefit may rise as of end-2019

ČTK |
30 July 2018

Prague, July 29 (CTK) - The Czech Labour and Social Affairs Ministry will submit a proposal for raising parental leave benefit by 40,000 to 260,000 crowns by the end of 2019 to the government in a few months, candidate for labour minister Jana Malacova (Social Democrats, CSSD) has told CTK.

President Milos Zeman is to appoint her on Monday.

If the legislative process runs smoothly, mothers or fathers on parental leave may draw a higher sum before the end of next year, Malacova said.

At present, the total parental leave benefit, paid monthly for a period of up to four years at the parent's choice, is 220,000 crowns for a single baby and 330,000 crowns in the case of twins and other multiple births.

Parents can decide how quickly they would like to draw the whole sum, while they can monthly take up to 32,640 crowns. The higher the monthly allowance is, the shorter the period when it is paid will be.

The current minority coalition government of PM Andrej Babis's ANO and the Social Democrats, supported by the Communists (KSCM), plans in its policy statement to raise the parental leave benefit to 300,000 crowns. The proposal includes the first rise by 40,000 crowns, while further increase should follow.

The family policy concept, which the previous coalition government of Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) approved last September, also reckoned with a rise in the parental leave benefit at least to 250,000 crowns, which would annually cost additional 3.07 billion crowns from the state budget.

The plan was worked out by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry's the family and ageing policies section that Malacova headed from June 2015.

Malacova, 37, who will replace labour minister Petr Krcal (CSSD) who stepped down over plagiarism accusations recently, also reiterated that she would strive for a rise in the 2019 budget of her ministry by some 8.5 billion crowns.

Under her, the ministry must also deal with the draft pension reform, the re-introduction of the sick pay during the first three days of illness and the "advance child maintenance" to be paid by the state instead of its defaulters, on which she would like to cooperate with Justice Minister Jan Knezinek (for ANO).

Sobotka's government wanted to push through advance child maintenance as well, but the coalition parties did not agree on this.

Malacova said she would like to get acquainted with the situation at the ministry and possibly propose changes to its structure in August. She added that she did not plan any fundamental personnel changes.

The Ministry still lacks a half of expert deputy ministers and other employees.

Malacova reminded that women had made up a half of the ministry's management under her predecessor Michaela Marksova (CSSD) in Sobotka's cabinet. "This ministry was very progressive in this respect and I would like to continue with it," Malacova added.

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