At Monday’s government cabinet session it was said that the government plans for the amended Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits to enter into force on January 1, 2023, so that the allowances for leave to care for a child with severe developmental disabilities could be increased from the current HRK 2,328.20 to HRK 4,000.
Leaders of the Shadow Association and the Civic Initiative of Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities met at the government building today Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.
The Citizens' Initiative of Parents of Children with Disabilities in its initiative demands an improvement in the status of parents of children with severe disabilities who use childcare leave, including an increase in the allowance for care leave to a minimum of four thousand kuna.
The State Secretary of the Central State Office for Demography and Youth, Željka Josić said after the meeting that the compensation related to the leave of parents of children with severe disabilities up to the age of eight was discussed along with the initiative to increase the compensation from the current HRK 2,300 to HRK 4,000.
She recalled that at the moment the Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits is being harmonized with a directive which harmonizes family and business life and the law is being completely amended.
Josić said that they discussed a number of open issues that bother parents at the moment, and these are mostly interdepartmental issues, from health and education to social welfare, so she announced that a meeting with a number of departments would be held in two weeks.
Asked about the problem of unenrolled children in kindergartens, Josić said that local self-governments should take care of the issue as the founders of preschool institutions. She also recalled that in the last four years they have invested in the construction of about 495 kindergartens, and they are also investing in the construction of preschool institutions so that as many children as possible can enroll.
She also stated that four years ago they started with about 50 percent of children who are involved in preschool education, and now there are about 15 percent of them. She pointed out that the percentage of children is increasing above 95 percent.
“Through tenders for the development and maintenance of preschool activities, municipalities from the first to the fourth category of development that have a problem with co-financing preschool education were helped this year as well,” she said.
The president of the Shadow Association, Suzana Rešetar, said that they had received an understanding from Prime Minister Plenković for their problems and the will "hold him to his word" for what he had given as a task to the State Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and the State Secretary in the Demography Office.
She said that they explained to Prime Minister Plenković and state secretaries what it means for parents of children with disabilities to live with such children and with compensation of HRK 2,328.
“If we raise maternity and parental benefits, then we cannot forget this population that has been living on a budget base of HRK 3,328 for more than ten years. We cannot forget it, it is a big mistake of the executive branch,” she said.
A letter with requests was sent in May to the Prime Minister, the Government, Parliament, the Ministry of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy and the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities.
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