The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a law extending the duration of maternity leave for mothers with two children or more.
For the second child, maternity leave has been increased to 22 weeks from 18 weeks currently, and to 26 weeks for the third (or subsequent) child.
It applies to all cases – whether the second (or later) child is born to the maternity leave beneficiary, or whether it concerns adoption or surrogacy.
The law also extends the period during which maternity allowances are paid, for second and third children.
As of the date the law takes force – in a matter of days – it will likewise apply to mothers who are currently on maternity leave.
The measure was introduced as an incentive to reverse the low birthrate trend in Cyprus.
Data show that in 2019, the total fertility rate was 1.33, which since 1995 remains lower than the replacement level of 2.1 and lower than the EU average of 1.55.
In remarks before the vote in parliament, Akel MP Andreas Kafkalias called the new law “a step in the right direction” but added it still has a flaw – it does not extend maternity leave where one child is concerned.
More incentives are needed, he added, such as child and single-parent benefits, as well as subsidising the cost of caring for a child.