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Bills on child benefit, paternity leave to be voted before House closes

Lawmakers plan voting on a number of bills relating to child benefit and paternity leave on July 14, during the last session of the House plenary before it breaks for the summer.

One of the bills introduces 15 days of paid paternity leave, which must be used during the 16 weeks that maternity leave is in effect.

MPs raised the issue of amending this, so that a father has the option of using paternity leave outside the 16-week period of maternity leave, or allowing paternity leave to be taken piecemeal rather than altogether over one continuous 15-day period. The labour ministry said it would consider the tweak.

Another bill grants special maternity leave to mothers who have to travel abroad for medical treatment, either for themselves or for their children.

And under another bill, in surrogacy cases, both the surrogate and the mother will be entitled to maternity leave.

Currently, only the surrogate mother is entitled to the benefit.

Also, the government has tabled a bill whereby the income criteria for the child benefit will be relaxed (threshold raised) by €5,000 per child beyond two children.

House labour committee chair Andreas Fakondis said all the laws would come into force on August 1 of this year, except for the new child benefit income criteria which will apply as of January 2018.

Under another item, an amendment will be made to the current law and stipulating that where a person is married after the age of 65, five years must elapse from the marriage for the spouse to be entitled to a widow’s pension.

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