Aleksandr Lukashenko hears out report from Labor and Social Protection Minister Marianna Shchetkina

    President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko heard out a report from Labor and Social Protection Minister Marianna Shchetkina on 15 August. The meeting focused on improving the system of occupational pension insurance and on paying out state benefits to families with underage children.

    The law on occupational pension insurance came into force on 1 January 2009. The Head of State was made familiar with the draft decree, which allows workers with special labor conditions and at least half of the special employment term under their belt to get pre-term pensions in line with the previous legislation or out of the common pension system in other words. The President backed the proposal.

    As for those, who had worked less than half of the special employment term by 1 January 2009, in addition to pre-term pensions or extra pensions past the general retirement age they will be granted another right – upon approval of the employer deductions may be added to salaries instead of being transferred to the social protection fund. At the same time deductions for occupational pension insurance are supposed to rise.

    The President was also informed about efforts of employers to safeguard and improve conditions for workers with special labor terms, the level of their salaries, conditions of getting pensions, including pre-term ones. Marianna Shchetkina underlined that Belarus had kept pre-term pensions in place although some countries have got rid of them or have toughened requirements.

    The Head of State was also made familiar with a draft decree on certain aspects of allocating and paying out state benefits to families with children.

    In Belarus career women have the right to suspend their jobs and take a maternity leave until the child is three years of age. Meanwhile, the mechanism to suspend jobs or business of self-employed workers is absent for now. This is why self-employed Belarusians have to either quit their jobs or shut down business completely and get 100% child subsidies or continue working and get 50% child subsidies. In particular, there is no mechanism to suspend the work of self-employed businessmen, handworkers, private lawyers, and notaries.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to put together a simple and convenient scheme for suspending operations of these categories of workers. The Labor and Social Protection Ministry is supposed to prepare and submit the draft decree soon. “We understand that our citizens eagerly await this suspension. Everyone should have equal rights, they should enjoy support of the state,” noted Marianna Shchetkina.

    The Head of State was also informed about the overall demographic situation in the country. Once again Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that efforts of all government agencies, enterprises, and trade unions should be aimed at supporting families, who raise underage kids, with every case properly handled.

    At present the size of state benefits rises to match the growth of salaries. The monthly benefit for the first child under three exceeds Br1.7 million. The benefit for the second child and consequent children exceeds Br2 million while the benefit for a disabled child is about Br2.2 million. The President paid close attention to additional measures meant to support families, including in preparations for the new academic year.