The Media Center initiated panel discussion was attended by Karen Mezhlumyan, lawyer; Nvard Piliposyan, lawyer at Women’s Resource Center, as well as concerned women, mothers as Tatevik Davtyan.
The lawyers said that pursuant to the current legislation, a working woman is entitled to a paid leave of 70 prenatal days and 70 postnatal days and to a reimbursement which equals to her monthly salary paid during the above-mentioned period. However, the Government has recently proposed legislative amendments which will result in the reduction of benefits. The reduction is planned to be achieved as follows: if work experience is less than one calendar year, the benefits are accumulated based on the 40 percent of average monthly salary; if the work experience is one to three calendar years, the benefits incur based on 60 percent; and in case of three and more years, the accumulation is based on 80 percent of a salary.
Karen Mezhlumyan said that the Government shifts the maternity allowance to the field of benefits while it is a constitutionally guaranteed compensation. Mezhlumyan believes that unemployed mothers should be paid maternity benefits “but it cannot be at the expense of a working woman.” There are numerous social and legal problems, the lawyer said.
Tatevik Davtyan said that the given legislative initiative approved by the Government intends to aggravate social injustice instead of endorsing social justice. “We are all sure to be trapped in a situation where a person with two shoes gives one shoe to a barefoot person and as a result, they both walk in a shoe.”
The panelists also argued that legislative amendments have been approved without prior public discussions, without taking into account the standpoints of immediate beneficiaries. Obviously, there is a problem and the problem should not be solved at the expense of working women, and the panelists proposed to restore the luxury tax law instead as it is practiced in the whole civilized world.
In October, 2010 The National Assembly adopted a law on Temporary Disability Benefits but due to the struggle of women and activists in general the law was amended including the activists’ proposals.