The issue that received the most attention in the Sabor on Friday was the rejection by lawmakers of a proposal by GLAS MP Anka Mrak Taritaš that would have given parents who are full-time carers children who are ill or disabled an additional six months of financial support after the their child’s death.
Under current rules, these parents must report to the unemployment office within 24 hours after the passing of their child. The HDZ majority voted no on the proposal and instructed the Government to draft a new social welfare law that would include improved provisions for parent carers.
"Parent carers who have been taking care of their child every day, every hour, every minute of his or her life, deserve to have six months to mourn after that child dies. This proposal would give those parents six months of financial support to mourn in peace," said Mrak-Taritaš.
Sandra Benčić of the Green-leftist Bloc urged lawmakers to come together on this issue.
"All of us here have the six plus six month option. And how do we use it? Some of our MPs take their extra six months when they are indicted so they can still get paid! Why can't we do the right thing here today and say YES to this proposal?" she asked.
Nada Murganić, a former HDZ social welfare minister, defended the majority’s position saying that her side was in favor of supporting families with sick and disabled children.
"The HDZ introduced this form of financial support in 2007 and the HDZ's governments have been increasing or even doubling or tripling this benefit as well as others like it to support the disabled," she said.
The debate was watched by a support group for families with disabled children. Representatives of the group said Croatia’s leaders lacked empathy and should be ashamed of voting no on the proposal.
“I am ashamed today because I gave birth to my child in a country like ours. I am ashamed of all those who raised their hand today to keep us parents from living a life of dignity,“ said the president of the group, Suzana Rešetar.
The Government has until summer to draft a new law. Prime Minsiter Plenković has promised to resolve the issue of financial support for parent carers.
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