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Government adopts major family support scheme


The government on 8 November approved a package of measures designed to support families and help parent employees reconcile work and family life. At the heart of the programme, which Prime Minister Donald Tusk billed as the most comprehensive initiative of this type ever adopted in Poland, is an optional increase in paid maternity/paternal leave to 52 weeks from 24 weeks effective from 1 September 2013. The benefits for the initial 26-week period will be equal to 100% of the salary, and for the additional 26-week period 60-80%, depending on when the choice is made to extend the leave. Crucially, the new system will offer more flexibility for parents to take turns caring for their baby, increasing the options for fathers to opt for such leave; and will encourage quicker transition back to work, for example by enabling parents to undertake part-time employment after 20 weeks while continuing to draw a (reduced) benefit.

At the same time, the government will pay social security contributions for a greater proportion of people on child care leave: not just full-time employees, but also the self-employed or those on civil law contracts. And it will increase spending on nursery places (the government will contribute 80% instead of 50% of the cost of building a nursery, and the grants will be available not just to local authorities, but to private entities as well).

The cost of the expanded maternity leave is estimated at PLN 1.4-2.5bn (€337-601m) in its first full year, i.e. 2014. The maximum cost of the child care support programme is PLN 1.4bn (€337m).

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