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Law on 9-Month Paid Maternity Leave Effective Soon
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Law on 9-Month Paid Maternity Leave Effective Soon

The legislation to increase paid maternity leave to 9 months for working women will be implemented in the near future, said Mohammad Taghi Khosravani, general director of treatment at the Social Security Organization (SSO).
“The legislation (passed two years ago) hasn’t been notified yet,” he said. Increase in maternity leave needs additional funding of $ 142.8 million, which must be provided by the government. The lack of funding has delayed its implementation. The required budget is expected to be provided in the next calendar year (starts March 21), he said.
The increase in maternity leave from 6 to 9 months followed proposals by the government to effect changes to the family planning program, reports Mehr News Agency.
On February 20, 2013 the Majlis approved a new family planning bill which, while eliminating a number of birth control programs so as to boost population growth, however, increased paid maternity leave for working women from six to nine months. The Majlis also approved legislation for reducing the working hours of working women with children under 7 from 44 hours a week to 36 hours a week.
The goal of the law is to provide better services for working mothers. Many social science researches consistently demonstrate the crucial role that mothers play in the well-being of children and family. Recent studies highlight how a mother’s parenting, relationship status and stability, and own well-being is correlated to the welfare of her family.
According to a study, women who returned to work six weeks after delivery or sooner were 4.49-fold more likely to fail to establish breastfeeding, compared with those who returned to work later or took longer leave.

 Protection
Maternity protection for women employees contributes to the health and well being of mothers and their babies. And by safeguarding women’s employment and income security during and after maternity, it ensures women’s access to equality of opportunity, promotes gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Infants’ relationship with their mother during the first 18 months of life affects a child’s ability to trust, love and work in the future; as it is the first real attachment with another person it serves as a template for what will happen later in their life span. “Therefore maternity leave and reduced working hours can help mothers spend more quality time with their babies in the most sensitive period of their lives.”

 Retrograde in the US
Interestingly, on February 17, 2013, The New York Times published a frankly, damning article depicting the United States’ retrograde attitude toward paid maternity leave in comparison to the rest of the world.
In simple terms, the US is a global outlier: the only industrialized country not to mandate even a single day of paid maternity leave to its working mothers. This has been known and publicized for quite some time now. In contrast to the US, Iran’s official policies regarding maternity leave and many other maternal rights are notably progressive, said an article in time.com.
 This may come as quite a shock to American readers given the usual media coverage on Iran. The Islamic Republic is perhaps the single most demonized and vilified nation in American politics and media. The report says Iran doesn’t just have some paid maternity leave; “it has one of the most substantial paid benefits policies on the planet for new mothers,” setting it apart from the rest of the region and placing it on par with – if not far in advance of – labor laws in much of Europe.

 Favorable
A 2009 study in the International Breastfeeding Journal found that after six months paid maternity leave, Iranian working mothers are given the option to reduce their work by one hour per day in an effort to promote breastfeeding for children up to 2 years old. The study concluded, “In comparison to many European Union countries, Iran showed a favorable situation in terms of breastfeeding rates and promotion of breastfeeding.”
On February 20, 2013 the Majlis(Iranian parliament) approved a new family planning bill which, “although unfortunately eliminating a number of beneficial birth control programs,” actually increased paid maternity leave for mothers from six to nine months, and created an obligatory two-week paid leave for fathers, the NY Times article noted.
Quoting reports from the Iranian press, the article said “in an official move to roll back the population control efforts of previous decades, previous restrictions around having a fourth child have also been dropped from the act, and now such children will be afforded insurance and their mothers will receive the same amount of leave as any other mother.”

 Other Countries
These benefits outshine most other developing nations. For instance, mothers in India get 12 paid weeks while Brazilian law mandates six months. Turkey stipulates only a 16-week paid leave at 70% pay with an optional six-month unpaid extension, and allows new mothers the ability to “request breaks in the working day amounting to 1 hour 30 minutes per day for breastfeeding” for up to a year.
In the United Arab Emirates, private businesses are required to provide roughly 45 days maternity leave at full-pay followed by the same amount of time at half-pay. The public sector offers slightly better benefits with 60 days at full salary. All working mothers in the UAE may extend their leave up to an additional 100 days with no pay.
Of course, all of these figures seem unfathomably generous and humanitarian when compared to the United States, which literally stands alone with a begrudging 12-weeks unpaid leave. How’s that for American exceptionalism?, the article concluded.

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