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Old 31.08.2011, 17:06
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Swiss political parties and labour organisations remain divided over whether or not to ratify an International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention that offers more comprehensive maternity leave protection for working mothers.

As the curtain fell on the national consultation process on Wednesday, left parties and trade unions emerged as supporters of the move, while conservative parties and employers oppose ratification.

The ILO Convention 183 secures maternity leave for all employed women, including those working in atypical employment conditions.

Opponents say Swiss law already fulfils the vast majority of internationally agreed maternity leave requirements.

Since July 1st 2005, 60 years after maternity benefit was first enshrined in the Swiss constitution, all women in employment in Switzerland qualify for a minimum of 14 weeks maternity leave at 80 percent of their normal salary.

However, ratification of the ILO convention would mean extending payment to 16 weeks. It would also require pushing through a legislative amendment.

Read the full article: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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Old 31.08.2011, 19:25
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

Sadly, this could potentially cause more discrimination against women in the workplace since they'll ultimately be too expensive if they're considering children.

Is this total maternity leave before and after birth? If so, it would be great if there was a bit more - maybe extending it with a lower salary percentage. Some women have difficulty working after 7 months and it takes about 6 weeks after birth for a woman's body to normalize. Then there's the breastfeeding issue.....

I'd like to see more paternity leave offered too. My husband will only get one day to go and register the birth - um, I'd rather he stay with me on that one day. And what if it takes longer than a day for labor & delivery? It's a juggle with his holidays since he needs to schedule them in advance so it's very possible he could be faced with having to be at work or being with me for delivery. Hoping his employer will be generous at the time.
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Old 31.08.2011, 19:57
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

I dont know if I would call it discrimination against women. But I will say it supports an influx of immigration. If the birth rate drops because people cant afford kids then the only answer is immigration. Unless you want to turn the country into Japan (who has been in recession since 1990)...
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Old 31.08.2011, 20:05
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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Sadly, this could potentially cause more discrimination against women in the workplace since they'll ultimately be too expensive if they're considering children.

Is this total maternity leave before and after birth? If so, it would be great if there was a bit more - maybe extending it with a lower salary percentage. Some women have difficulty working after 7 months and it takes about 6 weeks after birth for a woman's body to normalize. Then there's the breastfeeding issue.....

I'd like to see more paternity leave offered too. My husband will only get one day to go and register the birth - um, I'd rather he stay with me on that one day. And what if it takes longer than a day for labor & delivery? It's a juggle with his holidays since he needs to schedule them in advance so it's very possible he could be faced with having to be at work or being with me for delivery. Hoping his employer will be generous at the time.
Here, maternity leave only kicks in after the birth. If you need to stop working prior to the birth it comes under sick leave. In some ways this is better than the UK because your maternity leave starts ticking from when you stop working.
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Old 31.08.2011, 20:11
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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Here, maternity leave only kicks in after the birth. If you need to stop working prior to the birth it comes under sick leave. In some ways this is better than the UK because your maternity leave starts ticking from when you stop working.
If that's the case then I do find it to be already quite generous. And I do think it will lead to more discrimination against women in the workplace. Germany is already facing this challenge as more and more women are choosing either a career or family, but not both.

As one former female German colleague put it: "If you're between 20 and 40, you might have children so you're expensive. And if you're over 40, you're too old to hire."
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Old 31.08.2011, 20:33
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I dont know if I would call it discrimination against women. But I will say it supports an influx of immigration. If the birth rate drops because people cant afford kids then the only answer is immigration. Unless you want to turn the country into Japan (who has been in recession since 1990)...
The irony is that the SVP wants the best of both worlds, lower immigration but no proper support to encourage Swiss population growth. They can't have it both ways...
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Old 31.08.2011, 20:57
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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Here, maternity leave only kicks in after the birth. If you need to stop working prior to the birth it comes under sick leave. In some ways this is better than the UK because your maternity leave starts ticking from when you stop working.
are you sure? My friend stopped 2 weeks before due date and those 2 weeks were part of her maternity as she chose to - as i saw it you can work right up to due date as I have seen some women do and if you're not feeling well then the doctor will sign you off and then yes it will be sick pay - but if you chose to finish at any time before due date then it does eat into your leave
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Old 31.08.2011, 20:58
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

Well...coming from a system that in the name of supporting birth rates gives 4yr of paid maternity leave for chicks, with kid's health insurance paid till 26, I can safely say, while it may boost nation's population numbers, it is not so conducive to chick's career and independence. On the other hand, while women might be expensive to hire because of this, their salaries are lower than guys', so perhaps, it evens out..Who knows.
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Old 31.08.2011, 21:03
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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are you sure? My friend stopped 2 weeks before due date and those 2 weeks were part of her maternity as she chose to - as i saw it you can work right up to due date as I have seen some women do and if your not feeling well then the doctor will sign you off and then yes it will be sick pay - but if you chose to finish at any time before due date then it does eat into your leave
Yep, sorry - thanks for the clarification. I meant if you are signed off by the doctor.
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Old 31.08.2011, 21:06
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

Oh please, all of this for an 2 extra weeks! COME ON! Pathetic.
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Old 31.08.2011, 21:10
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

Some dude at UniGe ran a study a few years back about Swiss ladies and how late in pregnancy they push for work, resulting apparently in high number of preemies. He warned (the research was in our local papers, and I know WRS also reported it, there might be a program in Health Matters archives, still) that while we worry about impact of obesity, smoking and drinking on babies, we ignore the fact these moms here work just until they deliver, more than in the rest of the Europe. I wonder if it is because life here is so expensive, who knows. CH also has older ladies giving birth to their 1st kid, it may have something to do with it, too (again, I heard those stats from WRS, Health Matters and Kids in Mind are great programs).
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Old 31.08.2011, 21:15
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

Scandinavia has very generous parental leaves and least discrimination against women in the job market. So no, one does not necessarily lead to another.

The difference is a proper child care system after this leave though - if your employee just takes a break, it's manageable. If the child care is inadequately organized (not only kindergartens, swiss school hours are impossible) and/or horrendously expensive, then many employees will disappear from the job market after they have had kids. And this is what leads to discrimination.
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Old 31.08.2011, 21:51
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

My opinion would be that the paid maternity leave offers virtually nothing to counterbalance the excruciating cost of childcare in Zurich...and the pressure to return to work 'full time' is very different to where I come from - in Australia there's not much 'paid parental leave' but there is a guarantee that you can have your job back after 12 months (which can start during pregnancy, often around 6 months...) - and the pressure is on employers to provide flexible work arrangements (part-time, jobsharing etc). Whilst off work, low income earners get access to government payments towards the cost of raising a child - not a bad deal in my experience - although living on minimum income is quite a challenge at the best of times...

I would rather see more support for flexible, subsidised childcare, and the security of having a job back after 12 months, with a push to provide part-time and flexible work, than payment of maternity leave from the employer...

On the other hand, in other countries, access to maternity leave of any sort, is a human rights issue, and being able to take perhaps the final 8 weeks and the first 8 weeks after birth, has a big impact on infant and maternal mortality...

I worked right up to the due date with my third child, but it was by choice, with a supportive employer, and mostly done working from home with my feet up.
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Old 31.08.2011, 22:17
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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Scandinavia has very generous parental leaves and least discrimination against women in the job market. So no, one does not necessarily lead to another.
It does have a lot of very generous benefits for families, including paternal leave up to six months in some countries (which studies have shown many don't take advantage of due to fear of damaging their careers in some way), but I know a lot of women, particularly expat women, who had a difficulty finding or changing jobs when in the range of childbearing years because not only do the employers have to keep a position for the women up to 3 years after having a child they also have to pay for her replacement while on leave. AND the woman can stack those years together if she has another child. I knew a woman who had 5 years maternity leave when having two children spaced apart, 2.5 of those years were at some fraction of pay. Of course, the level of taxation there is far, far greater than here to help pay for all that, but it does lead an employer to weigh hiring a woman much more carefully, especially if there's an equally qualified man. It might not be discrimination in the traditional sense, but it does present a hurdle for hiring and advancement.

Even with all the benefits offered to families though, the birth rate is still fairly low which also supports the problem that, even with leave and easy access to child care and excellent education, it's difficult to have both a family and pursue a career.
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Old 31.08.2011, 22:23
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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I dont know if I would call it discrimination against women. But I will say it supports an influx of immigration. If the birth rate drops because people cant afford kids then the only answer is immigration. Unless you want to turn the country into Japan (who has been in recession since 1990)...
The reasons for their financial issues being completely unrelated to immigration.
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Old 31.08.2011, 22:29
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

We have stackable maternity leave, and with 4 years, and more kids... Leaves businesses having to pay for replacements, and not being able to hire brand new staff due to holding work places for their preggo/maternity leave women. Gov just started to issue extra gov bonds...Socialist it still is, great for kids and extended nursing, but still leaves families with lower income, frustrated ladies, but happy kids. I don't know. Old school. Gov pays a sum after delivery, for giving our country a brand new baby. Then you get special child money every month, you have free health insurance if you take care of your kid and stay at home, too. But population is still dicreasing hard core. It's still difficult to juggle all. Plus those who do decide to mix work and having kids, are always branded as incompetent moms.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 31.08.2011 at 22:52.
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Old 31.08.2011, 22:34
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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are you sure? My friend stopped 2 weeks before due date and those 2 weeks were part of her maternity as she chose to - as i saw it you can work right up to due date as I have seen some women do and if you're not feeling well then the doctor will sign you off and then yes it will be sick pay - but if you chose to finish at any time before due date then it does eat into your leave
I think that it depens on company policy, at my work you can leave up to 6 weeks before your due date but some other places might not ???
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Old 31.08.2011, 22:45
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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If that's the case then I do find it to be already quite generous. And I do think it will lead to more discrimination against women in the workplace. Germany is already facing this challenge as more and more women are choosing either a career or family, but not both.

As one former female German colleague put it: "If you're between 20 and 40, you might have children so you're expensive. And if you're over 40, you're too old to hire."
Here you also get military service for the young men. The young ladies are maybe off work for 4-6 months in a year having a baby once/twice/maybe 3 or 4 times in their career but the young men are off for weeks at a time doing military service every single year.

The article is talking about just 2 extra weeks of maternity leave. Big deal. What's great here is being able to add on your holiday and take sick leave before the birth instead of eating into your maternity leave (unless you have a specific workplace maternity agreement). My doctor was very tough though on signing ladies off - I needed preterm-labor.
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Old 31.08.2011, 23:03
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

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The young ladies are maybe off work for 4-6 months in a year having a baby once/twice/maybe 3 or 4 times in their career .
they are not just off for a few months though. for many women, the childcare problems and school hours make it pretty much impossible to work for many years - there are several threads about it here on EF as well.
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Old 31.08.2011, 23:16
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Re: Swiss divided over maternity leave upgrade

While absence is absence for an employer, obviously, being home due to being incapacitated through labor and all, and taking a few weeks off every year to go shooting and boot camping is incomparable. Those are two completely different country services..Army here gives you great opportunity to network, career-wise. Staying out of work to take care of babies gives you nada, career-wise. I just cannot see maternity through uber pragmatic filter. I think it is a societal duty to take care of their moms and babes. And not push moms to work too early, but also enable moms to go reconnect with their career. I would fix day care situ first, since it is just blackmailing families, then offer better maternity leave and paternity, too.
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