Pregnant woman (illustrative) .
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Lawmakers worked on two bills this week to allow parents to spend more time with their newborn babies.
The Knesset passed the final reading of legislation to change the way maternity leave is calculated for self-employed women so it can be based on the quarter of the year prior to the birth in which she earned the most.
The bill’s explanatory section states that many women who own their own business have to work less during their pregnancy, meaning they earn less, and therefore receive lower maternity benefits.
The new law would calculate the benefits by earnings during or prior to the pregnancy, depending on which is higher.
“We are fixing an injustice done to the self-employed women who had to return significant sums to the National Insurance Institute,” said MK Tali Ploskov (Kulanu), who proposed the bill.
“From now on, self-employed women who want to have children will know that it will not hurt them economically,” she added.
With an eye toward increasing paternity leave, the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee approved a first reading of legislation Tuesday, giving men eight days off after their partner has a baby, instead of the current law giving a father one day off when the baby is born.
Five of the days would be immediately after the baby is born, with three counting as the father’s vacation days and two as sick days, and another three in order to accompany the mother to the doctor even if her life is not at risk.
MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) who proposed the bill, called it “revolutionary” in that it says the birth is the concern of both parents and not just the mother.
“The right to take paternity leave allows a joint and equal beginning in raising the child,” she said.
The committee on Monday also authorized for a first reading legislation by MK Rachel Azaria (Kulanu) that would allow parents to split what is now known as a “nursing hour,” in which a mother may work one hour less per day for four months following her return from maternity leave.
When the law passes, “nursing hour” will be changed to “parenting hour” allowing fathers to partake as well.