On Wednesday, three amendments to the Parental Benefit Act enter into force, which allow for more flexibility for parental leave and benefits, allowing parents to adjust their work-life balance better.
Going forward, payments of parental benefits can be suspended and continued by calendar months. Additional parental benefits are also set, allowing for paternity leave of up to 30 days. The age gap between successive births for when benefits remain the same is also raised to three years instead of the current 2.5.
Marjana Lazarenkov, head of family benefits service of the Social Insurance Board (Sotsiaalkindlustusamet), said: "Currently, parental benefits are paid up to when the child is one and a half years old but starting now, parents can arrange their benefits to the family's needs."
From July 1, it will be possible to suspend and continue the receipt of parental benefit by calendar months.
Lazarenkov explained: "This change will affect everyone who has at least one month of benefits left as of July 1." She added that benefits can not be suspended for a shorter period than a calendar month and the pay is not recalculated when continued.
30-day paternity leave
Another important change in legislation is that fathers can now be on paternal leave for 30 calendar days instead of the prior ten working days. For the period, supplementary parental benefit will be paid, regardless of the fathers' of their previous employment.
The goal is to promote the greater involvement of fathers in the raising of their children and thereby also alleviating the burden of care placed upon mothers.
Lazarenkov said that paternal benefits are calculated like other parental benefits. This is done by first subtracting the nine full calendar months prior to the birth of the child from the child's month of birth and when calculating the parental benefit, the income for the 12 months prior to those 9 months is used as basis.
Lazarenkov added that there is a calculator for parents, but it is not yet translated to languages other than Russian.
Starting Wednesday, the payments of parental benefits for successive births is raised from the prior 2.5 years to three. If the next child is born into the family before the last is three years old, the amount for benefits is assessed and if these are higher with the first child, the same amount will still be paid.
Suspending and continuing parental benefits and applying for paternity leave can be done on the Social Insurance Board's self-service portal.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste