Cypriot lawmakers this week criticized a bill on paid parental leave after it emerged that unmarried parents were not included in the legislation scheduled to go into effect before the year is out.
According to local media, members of parliament and other stakeholders were shocked during a House labor committee hearing on Tuesday, when officials said parental leave pay in an upcoming law would not cover parents who were unmarried or parents who did not enter into a civil union.
Labor ministry director Andreas Zachariades broke the news to the committee on Tuesday, prompting immediate reaction from participants.
Another criticism emerged during the meeting was the failure to include self-employed parents in the paid parental leave scheme
But it later emerged that Zachariades gave assurances to the committee that a number of changes would be embedded in the final draft, such as the inclusion of unmarried parents and those who did not enter into a civil union.
Assurances were also given by Labor Minister Kyriacos Koushios, who was momentarily present at the meeting along with his Greek counterpart Kostis Hatzidakis who was visiting Nicosia.
In 2002, during an EU harmonization process, the Republic of Cyprus recognized the rights of working parents to take off work to care for their children but there were delays with legislating on the issue. a
But not all issues have been resolved on paid parental leave, with some groups warning there were concerns of lost income in cases of long leave given that the Social Insurance Fund would cover up to 72% of a weekly salary.
Another criticism that emerged during the meeting was the failure to include self-employed parents in the paid parental leave scheme.
Paid parental leave will initially cover up to 8 weeks per child. The bill is expected to pass and go into effect before the year is out.