Macedonia with worst conditions in the region for maternity leave
Maternity leave in Macedonia is nine months, in all other countries of former Yugoslavia it is 12 months. In this country new moms get the lowest maternity pay and two months late. With the new model of payment, however, Macedonian administration indirectly admits that it is unable to pay maternity leave, economists comment
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Macedonia has the most rigorous conditions for new moms compared with other countries in the region, i.e. primarily with the terms offered by the states of former Yugoslavia. We came to this fact after analysis of data on the length of maternity leave, the amount of maternity pay and its regular payment. New moms in the country wait for even two months for the payment of money for maternity leave:
Marina Dimitrova gave birth 50 days ago. So far she has not received a single penny from the state.
“I have been working for six years without interruption. According to the law I am entitled to maternity pay, but unfortunately even after 50 days after I gave birth I have not taken a penny”, says Dimitrova.
30-year-old Mirjana from Stip is facing similar problems.
“I gave birth in December last year. I got the first maternity pay in February. On November 5th I got the last (ninth) pay, though I was supposed to get the money in September “, says Mirjana.
Everywhere in the region states care more for new moms. Marija Kostic from Nis, Serbia, has a one-year-old son and says she got the maternity pay on time.
In Montenegro the situation is the same. There maternity pay is paid every three months, but regularly, says 34-year-old Bojana from Podgorica.
Who pays the maternity leave?
These days there has been disturbance among the public when the director of the Health Insurance Fund Maja Parnadzieva Zmejkovska announced that maternity leave that has so far been paid by the state will be transferred to the companies. This means that companies and institutions will pay the fees to mothers and later will submit requests for reimbursement of money from the Health Insurance Fund.
Economists comment that this measure will create many other problems:
“With the transfer of maternity pay to companies, the state will give an additional impact to the economy on the one hand, and on the other hand it indirectly acknowledges that its administration is not able to pay the money on time”, says Goran Stojanovski, economic analyst.
He adds that the state should stand behind vulnerable population as new moms and pensioners. And while there is a range of benefits for pensioners, new moms will now be borne by companies.
Incapable administration is cancer to the Macedonian society, businessmen comment.
“Now the state is two or three months late with payment to new mothers, when it will have to pay to us it will be late 20, as owed money on the VAT return”, said a businessman from eastern Macedonia who wanted to remain anonymous.
He adds that the costs to every born child in the company will increase by 200%. On the one hand the mother will have to be paid a full salary, on the other hand they will have to hire a new employee in her place.
Chambers of Commerce also complain. Although they reacted to the Government that this measure is not good, the state pushed the project “Faster payment of maternity pay and sick leave”.
NGOs also react and emphasize that this model is discriminatory and will have bad consequences for girls and women who do not have children.
What does the Slovenian model say?
Director of the Health Insurance Fund Maja Parnadzieva-Zmejkova said they had carefully worked on developing this project which will enable faster payment of leaves.
“We have taken the Slovenian experience with great care because of the great satisfaction of the insured, and we have also completed it and adjusted it to Macedonian conditions. Slovenia’s example is the payment of fees to be temporarily performed by the company and in short term HIF to reimburse the company as a whole“, said Parnadzieva-Zmejkova.
For Inbox 7 Vesna Zadravec, journalist at Radio Television Slovenia, explained that the Slovenian model of maternity leave does not include a refund.
“Maternity leave in Slovenia lasts 12 months. First three months are paid by the company where the insured works, while the remaining 9 months are paid by the Ministry of Labor”, says Zadravec.
Montenegro has implemented a similar model as announced by HIF. But other than the fact that companies now have increased costs and are not paid on time, we do not have some other comments about this model.
Maternity leave in Macedonia is shortest
Maternity leave in Macedonia and Bulgaria is the shortest. Macedonian new moms have nine months, and in almost all neighboring countries maternity leave is 12 months.
Mothers in Macedonia have the right to stay at home after nine months, but without any compensation from the state.
“I used maternity leave of 12 months. It ended on the day when I was supposed to celebrate the first birthday of my child. Immediately after the maternity leave I took the annual leave, and so I managed to spend 13 months with my little girl when she needed me most”, says Maja Petrovic from Belgrade.
The situation in Montenegro is similar, says Bojana.
The case of Bosnia and Herzegovina is interesting. There are different rules and laws on maternity leave, but most often maternity leave is 12 months. So it is in the Republika Srpska. If the mother has twins, or has more than two children, her maternity leave is 18 months.
Note: Shortly after publication of this text, the Fund responded with a denial to the Inbox 7 editor’s office. Apart from the denial the Fund apologized to the abovementioned mother for the delays in payment, but said that no documents for maternity leave had been submitted by the mother or her employer for two months.
This is full publication of the reaction by the Fund, right below the text.
Reaction and denial
Of the text “Macedonia with worst conditions in the region for maternity leave” published on the web portal Inbox7 on 13.11.2014 by the journalist Goran Lefkov
We strongly deny part of the information written about the length of paid maternity leave in Macedonia and the region. Extremely biased, the journalist wants to present Macedonia as a country with worst rights and lowest payment in the field of maternity leave. For the public to be fully informed, in the following table we will present the real situation on the length and amount of maternity pay. Assess whether we are worst or belong to the group of countries with the largest coverage of maternity leave.
|Country||Number of weeks||Percentage of compensation|
|Croatia||58||100% to 6 months, then a lump sum|
|BiH||52||50% – 80%|
|Source: ILO 2014, Maternity and paternity at work, Law and practice across the world|
We would additionally like to apologize to the insured M.D. for whom 61 days of the delivery no one had submitted any documents in the Fund for maternity pay. We do not want to say whether it is employer or the insured’s guilt, but we think it would be correctly for her to say that the employer or the insured had not submitted a request for maternity pay for two months and not to blame us, when within 46 days after submitting the documents we made three payments of salary compensation in the amount of 100% of salary she received in the company. That means every 15 days a month’s salary in order to cancel the delay of submission of documents by the company or the insured.