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Parental leave increasing to 18 weeks

PARENTAL leave will increase from 13 to 18 weeks as part of an EU harmonising bill recently approved by the cabinet.

However, despite the approval, Marina Ioannou, senior official at the Labour Relations Department said yesterday that the legislation has not been sent to parliament yet.

She could not confirm when it would be voted on but assured that it could be within the next few weeks.

The basic changes provided by the legislation, apart from the increase in parental leave, would be protection against unfavourable treatment as well as reinforcing the fact that an employee has the right to maternity leave as long as they have been working with the same employer for at least six months.

Ioannou stressed that this is part of the existing 2002 bill, but it is simply being reinforced in the harmonising bill.

Also significant is the fact that the law covers those working part time, full time and those in temporary employment, along with considering parents’ requests to adjust their working hours when they resume work.

Widows and widowers will also be covered by an additional provision to the legislation, said Ioannou which states that they will receive 23 weeks instead of 18.

Current law states that both men and women are entitled to 13 weeks paternal leave, even if a mother gives birth to more than one child in a day. However, it does not make provisions for those working part-time and those in temporary employment.

“Social partners are in agreement with the legislation in general but the only point they didn’t agree on was the increase of the fine handed out to an employer over parental leave,” said Ioannou.

Reports state that the fine would increase from €3,417 to €7,500, however Ioannou could not confirm this figure. “This is not significant anyway as it only covers certain aspects of maternity leave and I’ve never heard of anyone going to court over parental leave,” she said.

Source: Cyprus-Mail


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