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Parental benefits in the Czech Republic to rise, but not for all

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The parental benefit going to families for children aged up to four years will increase by 80,000 crowns, to 300,000, as of January, based on the bill the lower house passed on Tuesday and President Milos Zeman signed into law today, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has told media.

Parental benefit can be drawn by families at various speeds, either in higher monthly sums for a shorter period of time or in smaller sums for a longer period, up to the child’s age of four at the latest.

The new law grants the increased sum only to the families that will be drawing the benefit as of January 1, 2020.

The junior government Social Democrats (CSSD), wanted the law to grant the relevant additional sum also to the parents who exhausted the whole benefit already and whose offspring is under four. There are about 70,000 such families among the total 350,000 families with children under four.

In the government discussion, however, the CSSD was outvoted by its senior partner, PM Andrej Babis’s ANO.

The increase for all was also demanded by the upper house of parliament, but the lower house overrode its demand. Opposition Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) senators plan to challenge the law at the Constitutional Court (US).

The increase in the parental benefit will require an additional 8.6 billion crowns from the state budget. Another 2.6 billion would be needed if the range of recipients were widened.

Another law signed by Zeman tightens the fines for firms’ wrong emission reports and carbon credit trade mistakes. The amended law also established a modernisation fund to subsidy emission-lowering measures and launches of new renewable sources of energy. Some 100 billion crowns worth of proceeds from the carbon credits trade is to go to the fund in the next decade.

Zeman also signed a law that raises the state subsidies employers receive for the wages of disabled people by 800 crowns to up to 12,800 crowns a month.

Ihe state subsidises the wages of about 55,000 people in this way.

The brand-new law on people’s right to digital services, also signed by Zeman, enables people to settle official matters with the state exclusively online. The paper form remains preserved, mainly for the sake of seniors.

State authorities should require personal data from citizens once only, the law says.

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