Trade unions oppose initiative to enable pregnant women to work until last pregnancy day

A legislative initiative provides that women will be able to work up to the last day of pregnancy and to get maternity benefit. The trade unions oppose such a proposal and make reference to international treaties that oblige the women to go on maternity leave on the seventh month of pregnancy. Civil society experts said neither the state nor the trade unions should decide this. Only the woman must be able to make her own choice, IPN reports, quoting RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service.

The female MPs who put forward the legislative proposal suggest that during the pregnancy leave, on the written request of the employee, the employer can order to continue or resume work for the requested period. The individual work contract will be suspended the day the female employee who works during the maternity leave files a written application. “For the period the maternity leave coincides with the period during which the woman has earnings, maternity benefit is paid,” said the proposal.

Under the legislation, the maternity benefit is paid since the 30th week of pregnancy. Currently, the women who continue work during the maternity leave are deprived of benefit or receive it unofficially.

Nelea Rusu, UNFPA Moldova project coordinator, said that by this bill, the informal payments would be reduced. “The bill extends the opportunities for the future mothers to realize their career and fertility potential. Informal work should not be neglected at all,” said the representative of UNFPA, being quoted by RFE/RL”s Moldovan Service.

For their part, the trade unions disagree with this bill. “There are international standards ratified by the Republic of Moldova and these say the national legislation should stipulate a minim of mandatory weeks that the pregnant women should enjoy. When I hear from the sponsor that we must enable these persons to work, I do not agree that no right is encroached upon in this case,” said the head of the Legal Department of the National Trade Union Confederation Eugeniu Covrig.

Alina Andronache, specialist of the Center “Partnership for Development” and the mother of three, said that she had three fully different pregnancies and sometimes stayed in bed or felt well up to the last moment. “Not the trade unions or the state should decide. Only the woman should decide depending on how she feels. The state should only enable her to make her choice and she should not be obliged. Judging by the experience of other European countries, the women can go to work up to the eighth month of pregnancy,” stated Alina Andronache.

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