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Bill extending maternity leave to be swiftly sent to vote

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A bill extending maternity leave for second and third children will be discussed as a matter of urgency at the House labour committee next Tuesday with a view to a speedy vote, MPs said on Tuesday.

Approved by cabinet last Friday, the bill was presented by Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou, who said that its aim was to reconcile professional and family life and address the low birth rate.

“We are already working on a bill for parental leave where both parents will be allowed additional leave for one and half months up to their children’s eighth birthday,” she said.

The bill provides for four additional weeks for a second child, including adoption or through a surrogate mother, and eight additional weeks for a third child.

It also amends the law to extend the period during which maternity allowances are paid, for second and third children, and any future birth, adoption, or surrogacy.

It will also cover mothers who are already on maternity leave.

House committee president Andreas Kafkalias said tackling a low birth rate, supporting families, and reconciling work and family life require holistic policies. The bill was a step in the right direction but does not bring a radical overhaul.

Disy MP Savvia Orphanides said the government had a comprehensive social policy to balance work and family life, support young couples and address the low birth rate and the demographic issue.

Diko’s Panikos Leonidou said the bill was in the right direction as it enhanced the state’s social policy while Edek’s Andreas Apostolou said it came within the framework of a policy to support young mothers but added that supporting family did not end here but required a national strategy.

Dipa’s Marinos Moushouttas also welcomed the bill as being in the right direction and based on EU directives and said there would be dialogue to further enrich it.

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