Government to encourage employment of mothers in its second social initiative

Prime Minister Robert Fico and his ruling Smer party have planned a series of social measures; the first one began last November train rides free of fares – focused on students and pensioners.

Prime Minister Robert Fico and his ruling Smer party have planned a series of social measures; the first one began last November train rides free of fares – focused on students and pensioners.

On January 16, Fico along with Labour, Family and Social Affairs Minister Ján Richter unveiled the first measure of the ministry’s second social package, the so-called kids’ corners. The measure is designed to bolster job creation for women who look after children up to the age of six. The kids’ corners are supposed to be introduced at companies themselves, with professional staff looking after children while their parents are working.

The government plans to support mothers returning to work after maternity leave, while until the end of this year, €23 million from European Union funds are prepared for companies which support employment of parents, the Sme daily wrote. Apart from the kids’ corners, also a big part of mothers’ salaries (up to 90 percent of the average salary) should come from these resources if companies create a job and hire them for a definite period of time.

“We’d like to create conditions to enable women to go to work, be it a part-time or full-time job,” Fico said. “This is currently being hampered by the fact that we lack a sufficient number of high-quality services that we could provide to mothers of children of such an age.”

“We’re saying to employers that if they create a job and hire a woman who looks after a child of up to six years of age, we’ll cover 90 percent of the average national salary for ten months,” the premier said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “This is based on the job being permanent.” In much the same vein, the state is poised to refund 50 percent of the respective salary expenditures to companies hiring a woman who takes care of a child that is older than six.

Richter said that the €23 million needs to be disbursed by the end of 2015.
He also said that each company will be able to create up to ten such jobs. The Labour Ministry wants to include at least 150 companies into the project, expecting them to hire up to 5,000 people, mostly part-time.

Independent MP Miroslav Beblavý said that there are several drawbacks to the measure. “Experience from abroad shows that such kids’ corners are only a complementary measure in which only a very limited number of companies are interested,” he told TASR.

It is also unclear how the project will continue after 2015 when the EU stops funding the measure, according to Sme.

(Source: Sme, TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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