The National Network for Children filed statement on the draft amendment to the Law on Family Allowances on March 11, 2015 in the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
We welcome the government’s efforts to increase the effectiveness of child benefits. At the same time, we believe that changes in legislation and practice should follow a common philosophy and spirit to support parents and family and to introduce family-oriented approach.
According to us strengths of the project are: the binding of the Law on Family Allowances to Child Protection Law; the planned mandatory measure for protection in family environment from Departments for child protection in cases of under-age pregnancies; the linkage of family benefits to the minimum wage; the introduction of concept of “benefits in kind” instead of “social investment”; the expanded definition of family and the inclusion of cohabiting partners income and the introduction of a single adoption allowance, which will strengthen its crucial role as child protection measure.
We categorically disagree minor mothers to receive only benefits in kind. This is a discriminatory measure with no educational character. Furthermore, the child protection system of child protection does not have capacity to effectively manage benefits in kind for all cases of underage mothers.
The introduction of a penalty to renew family benefit 1 year after its termination due to disturbed conditions for grant, described in Art. 11 and Art. 12 of the draft do not encourage parents with stopped allowances to return their child to the educational system earlier than the penalty. We believe that this text will result to violation of children’s right to education.
We would like to draw attention that the period for public discussion of the Law is very short and does not allow to obtain the views of all stakeholders in society, including children and their families.