No more education and maternity allowance
(CS) After the government announced last year that it would cut education and maternity allowances for mothers, the deadline for applications expired on Sunday.
The maternity allowance, 194 euros per week, is paid to mothers who do not work for eight weeks before and after the birth of their child. The education allowance, 485 euros per month, meanwhile is paid to women who stay at home to look after their child during 21 months.
Women were able to claim the allowance until the second birthday of their child, under the condition that they renounce their right to parental leave. However, any applications not yet handed in will no longer be taken into consideration.
Mothers already receiving the benefits will continue to do so. There is also a transition period for applications already submitted but not yet processed.
Prime Minister Xavier Bettel last October had announced the changes, saying that the system encouraged mothers not to return to the workplace. However, with one in two marriages ending in divorce and one in five single mothers living on the RMG minimum guaranteed income, he said that it was time to modernise family allowances.
Initially scheduled to be axed by the start of the year, the deadline was pushed back until June 1.
'Allocation familiales' changes
The measure forms part of a wider reform of family allowance, which sees the “allocation familiales” unified to 265 euros per child, regardless of the number of children. This marks a change from the previous system, under which parents of one child received 185.60 euros, up to a maximum of 305.28 euros for five children.
A child bonus (“boni d'enfant”) has been integrated into the “allocations familiales”.
An age supplement has been increased, from 16.17 euros to 20 euros for children aged six to 11, and from 48.52 euros to 50 euros for children aged 12 or over.
There are a variety of transition regulations for families who already have children.
The bill is expected to be presented in parliament before the summer break.
Parental leave reform underway
Additionally, a reform of parental leave has been announced, with the government proposing more money and better flexibility for parents. For example, the income received by parents would be increased from the current maximum of 1,778 euros to the wage of the parents, from 1,992 euros to a ceiling of 3,200 euros net per month.
Parents will also be able to take parental leave at the same time and opt for shorter periods of leave or other arrangements, such as taking one day off for 20 months or spreading four months of leave over 20 months however they wish.
The parental leave reform is yet to be finalised.