Eastern European Countries Cut Maternity Benefits

A study issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO) reports a decrease in maternity benefits in Eastern European countries due to economic restructuring. ILO researchers investigated the treatment of women of child-bearing age in 152 countries, including maternity protection at work, maternity leave, cash and medical benefits and employment protection.

Researchers found that, although 120 countries now offer maternity leave by law, women in Eastern and Central Europe face increasing violations of their rights. Many of the countries are encouraging women to stay home and tout “traditional family values.”

In markets where women easily lose their jobs, they no longer qualify for some benefits, while women are often fired when they become pregnant or are on maternity leave. The report said, “most working women at some point in their lives, face unequal treatment in employment due to their reproductive role.”

Countries providing the most paid maternity leave include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Canada.


REF/RL - February 23, 1998

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