The board of the ruling Reform Party has approved principles in its social affairs program for the general elections. Among other pledges, the party promises to pass the implementing provisions of the Registered Partnership Act.
"Estonia cannot continue to discriminate against families based on the cohabitation of two same-sex people. All public services and benefits need to be equally available to same-sex couples and traditional spouses," the program reads.
The Reform Party also wants to restore the joint income tax return of spouses and extend the opportunity to registered partners.
A digital instrument to help employers reduce the gender wage gap is also planned.
Head of the party's social policy working group, Minister of Social Protection Signe Riisalo said that people's health problems need to be solved as quickly as possible.
"For this purpose, we need to improve family medicine by making sure practices have enough nurses, other specialists and staff to tackle people's health problems as a team. We must also ensure every Estonian resident has access to first contact medical care and screenings to diagnose and treat problems early on," Riisalo said.
To remedy the problem of medical staff shortage, Riisalo said worthy pay needs to be offered to medical professionals, especially in fields where specialists are in short supply today.
"We want to considerably boost nurse and specialist doctor training, also by paying [universities] more per study place. We will be inviting back medical workers who have left the system, offering them retraining where necessary," Riisalo said.
The Reform Party wants to base sickness and care leave benefits of parents coming out of the parent's pay period on their level of salary. "The sickness and care leave benefits of parents just out of the parent's pay period is [currently] based on minimum salary, which puts parents of small children in a difficult situation where they have to choose between a loss in income and the child's health. From the point of view of family policy, it is important to support the well-being of families with children and ensure flexible working conditions," Riisalo remarked.
"To ensure availability of mental health services, psychological counseling must be available on the community level before the person reaches the medical system in cooperation between family doctors and the local government. This is important to prevent people developing a serious need for help and keeping them active in society," she said.
Editor: Aleksander, Krjukov, Marcus Turovski