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May 15 – Family Day
In the Republic of Belarus, family support is a key area of state social policy, which is also enshrined in national legislation. Equal participation of men and women in family life and the upbringing of children contributes to achieving Goal 5 of sustainable development, gender equality.
According to the national study Family formation, stability of family relations and fertility in the changing socio-economic conditions of Belarusians, women are more actively involved in all activities related to childcare. Parents also share quite evenly the responsibilities related to playing with children and spending leisure time with their children: 82% of men and 75% of women said that they and their partner perform these responsibilities approximately equally. Data from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey to assess the situation of children and women (MICS 6) conducted by the National Statistical Committee in 2019 also confirms the trend of involving fathers in activities connected with teaching and preparation for school of young children aged 3-4 years.
To increase the involvement of fathers in the upbringing of children, the Labour Code was amended in 2019 (entered into force on January 28, 2020). One of the important innovations is the introduction of paternity leave at birth. The employer is obliged to provide such leave at the employee's request for up to 14 days within 6 months after the birth of the child.
In addition, the Labour Code includes such new provisions as:
- The right to choose summer paternity leave for fathers (stepfathers) raising a child with a disability up to the age of 18 years;
- The right of a father or stepfather raising two or more children up to the age of 14 (or a disabled child up to the age of 18) to take labour leave until the end of six months of employment with the employer;
- Extending the guarantees provided for working mothers to working single parents raising children.
In order to combine professional and parental functions, the Labour Code includes a chapter on Distance employment.
The main lines of social policy development regarding families:
- Improving the system of material support for families with children;
- Promoting responsible fatherhood and encouraging equal participation of both parents in the upbringing and development of children;
- Involving employers in supporting employees with family responsibilities by developing the concept of parent-friendly companies.
More detailed information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.