The bill allowing employers to offer child care services to employees with children under the age of 3 has been approved on third reading
The Parliament approved today, on third reading, the bill that provides changes in the Labor Code and the Education Code of the Republic of Moldova, adding certain norms allowing employers to offer child care services to employees with children under the age of 3. The bill was voted by 85 MPs.
Offering nursery services is one of alternative child care solutions identified in the research “How do we contribute to creating family-friendly workplaces? 4 alternative child care solutions that can be offered by employers”, developed in 2020 by the Partnership for Development Center, in collaboration with UN Women, with financial support from Sweden. The approval of the bill allowing employers to offer alternative child care solutions to employees with children under the age of 3 on second reading represents the result of joined efforts of UN Women, the Government, the Parliament and civil society organisations. UN Women will keep offering necessary support, so that children can benefit from a harmonious early education, and parents benefit from equal opportunities.
“Alternative child care solutions represent a very important element of the development of the country. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the main reason preventing women from entering labor market, getting a job or advancing their careers was the insufficiency of child care institutions across the country. Excluding women from labor market lead to the discouragement of their economic empowerment but also to the loss of human capital that could contribute to developing the country. Therefore, alternative child care solutions represent a step forward towards facilitating women’s (re)integration on labor market, offering them financial independence, thus contributing to family well-being, work productivity and economic development of the society.” Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women country representative, said.
This bill is very important, as Moldovan labor market is characterized by significant gender gaps, which negatively reflect on women, in most cases. An indicator of these gaps could be the situation of the presence of women and mothers on labor market, in comparison with the presence of men and fathers. Thus, in 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, the rate of employment among women aged between 25-49 having at least one child of preschool age is 35,5%, considerably lower than the rate of employment of men that is 64%. Many young women are outside labor market and employment opportunities, the number of unemployed women aged between 15 - 29 being, in 2020, 32,5%, in comparison with 19,6% unemployed men. Moreover, employed women face wage differences, which represent, in 2020, 13,7%. These tendencies often represent the result of social norms, according to which women are those who have to take care of children and family household. As a result, services that help parents in achieving a balance between work and family life play a crucial role.
Over the last years, at national level, a series of provisions aiming at facilitating parents access to labor market have been adopted. Among public policy documents adjusted are (i) Law on compensation for temporary incapacity to work and other types of social insurance, via which, in 2018, the child care compensation formula has been modified and (ii) Education Code, by which the age of accepting children to nursery services has been modified (0-2 years) and to kindergartens (2-6/7 years).
Despite the amendments mentioned above, there is no substantial increase of annual leave up to 2 years and 2 months, requested by parents. Among the main reasons that don’t allow parents to benefit from this solution is the small number of institutions providing early education, which would comply with health and early education standards. Thus, according to NBS, on the average, only 16,26% out of the total number of children aged between 1-2 were included in early education institutions in 2020, in comparison with 22,5% in 2019.
Creating certain alternative child care solutions by employers, in addition to those offered by the state, represents one of the solutions for this situation with numerous benefits for all parties involved. Thus, employers will be able to easier attract talented and competent workforce, will increase the level of satisfaction among employees at workplace and their loyalty towards employers, will increase work productivity. Also, alternative child care solutions offered by employers will contribute to ensuring gender equality in employment, to increasing participation on labor market of women with preschool children, as well as supporting their careers, at the same time enhancing their integration on professional market and access to higher paying jobs, this leading to increasing family incomes and enhancing socio-economic development of the entire society.