Parental benefits likely to increase to 300,000 crowns starting in 2020

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Czech parents of children under the age of four who have already used up the current state benefits could receive additional benefits starting next year, according to an amendment approved by the Senate today.

The proposal will now be debated by the Chamber of Deputies, which rejected any such additional benefits in its decision in November.

If the lower house approves the Senate’s version of the amendment, Senator Renata Chmelova (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said the higher benefits would apply to one-fifth of families with children aged four and lower, which is roughly 70,000 families in the Czech Republic. Additional costs to the state would reach up to 2.6 billion crowns.

According to the government proposal, the basic parental benefits should increase by 80,000 crowns to a total sum of 300,000 crowns beginning in 2020.

In case of twins or more children born in the same birth, the benefits would rise from the current 330,000 crowns to 450,000 crowns, the lower house decided.

The costs of the higher basic parental benefits to the state are estimated at roughly 8.6 billion crowns.

The Labour and Social Affairs Ministry announced that the lower house should debate the proposal again on December 17.

“Given that there is an agreement across the political spectrum in regards to the higher parental benefits, it can be expected that the amendment will be passed. If, however, the debate will not take place due to time constraints, we are ready to call for a special meeting (of the Chamber of Deputies),” the press department of the ministry said, adding that it is possible to finalise the approval of the amendment, including the signing by President Milos Zeman, before the end of December.

The Senate’s addition to the amendment was voted for by 72 of the 74 present members of the upper house of parliament, including representatives of ANO and Social Democrats (CSSD).

It was not supported by Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman, who represented Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Malacova (both CSSD). Malacova said earlier that the new version is a compromise within the ruling coalition and rejected the widening of the number of families eligible for parental benefits.

The amendment includes other changes as well, for example the number of hours for which parents can place their child in child care or other babysitter services without losing parental leave will increase twofold as of January 2020. At the moment, the number of hours is 46 per month.

The parental benefits will also be taken into account when calculating one’s income for the purposes of setting all types of social benefits linked to income.

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