President Serzh Sargsyan signed into law on Wednesday amendments to social legislation, which cuts the amount of maternity benefits for working mothers, causing public discontent and protests at the Presidential office.
Specifically, according to the amendments, maternity benefits will be paid only for working days rather than for all the 140 days of maternity leave as before and will be limited to 162,500 AMD (5 times the minimal salary), which is significantly lower than what some of the highly qualified women-professionals are getting these days. Which basically means, that if they choose to have babies, their paychecks will be cut.
The amended laws can only be characterized as anti-Armenian, anti-national interests, because it’s discouraging the middle-class working mothers to have babies, who would be getting the good genomes of smart mothers along with good education and become the driving force for our future.
One would think, that Armenia, with a population growth rate of 0.016%, would think hard before doing anything that could damage population growth. This is especially relevant, given the fact, that Armenia’s is surrounded with hostile Azerbaijan (0.81% population growth rate) and Turkey (1.27%), and we’re the smallest nation around here anyway.
The government’s explanation for amending the existing law is, that it might be abused, somebody might hire their pregnant relative 2 months before she’s set to deliver and than send her to maternity leave on a monthly salary of 2 million AMD, which is deducted from the company’s taxes. It is also supposed to help cut budget spendings.
I refuse to accept either of these explanations however. The law might be abused? We’re paying salaries to tax inspectors, police and the whole goddamn Finance ministry to make sure laws are properly implemented.
Trying to cut spending? Well, how about getting rid of some of the pointless ministries, like Finance Ministry (which clearly isn’t up to the task), along with the “Ministry” of Diaspora and Ministry of Environmental “Protection”? (One is not a ministry at all, the other is clearly not protecting anything).
PS: Great job all the pregnant working mothers for getting out there and protesting! I admire your courage. And just a note for the future – this was once again a protest action initiated and coordinated on Facebook.