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The sixth plan has made it a priority to implement the 14-article population policy as a major effort to facilitate and promote bigger families.
The sixth plan has made it a priority to implement the 14-article population policy as a major effort to facilitate and promote bigger families.

Iranian Parliament Approves 2-Week Paid Paternity Leave

The new ruling has been incorporated in Article 118 of the sixth economic development plan (2016-2021), and is meant to act as an incentive for couples to have more children

Iranian Parliament Approves 2-Week Paid Paternity Leave

A bill passed by parliament in an open session on Sunday has approved two-week paternity leave for fathers.
Men employed at government or public organizations can make use of paternity leave under the bill approved with 136 votes in favor, 36 against, and two abstentions from among the lawmakers present in the 290-member assembly, IRNA reported.
With the new ruling, mandatory paternity leave has been incorporated in Article 118 of the sixth economic development plan (2016-2021), and is meant to act as an incentive for couples to have more children.
The sixth plan, now in the final phase of approval in the chamber, has made it a priority to implement the 14-article population recommendation by the Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in May 2014.
The directive was a major effort to push birth rates above the replacement level, remove marriage obstacles, facilitate and promote bigger families, reduce  the marriage age, provide financial incentives to mothers particularly during pregnancy and nursing, provide insurance cover for infertility treatment costs, strengthen family pillars with public education and life skills, and overall enhance dynamism among the youth.
According to Borna News Agency, lawmakers in Sunday’s session also agreed to a bill that would make women eligible for collecting pension after 20 years of work, regardless of age.
The bill will modify Iran’s social security program under which retirement pension applies to men aged 60 or women aged 55 with at least 20 years of service; or men aged 50 and women aged 45 with at least 30 years of service; or at any age with at least 35 years of service.
The bill was proposed by Parvaneh Salahshoori, an MP from Tehran Province, in the form of an addendum to the proposed sixth national development plan.
The add-on mandates all government institutions, organizations, and bodies as well as non-government organizations to allow women to retire after 20 years of insurance premium contribution, with no age bar.
“That will help mothers allocate more time to their children through their adolescence and teenage years,” said Soheila Jelodarzadeh, MP after the session.
Under article 118 of the sixth plan, the Ministry of Labor, Cooperatives, and Social Welfare has been tasked to come up with a plan to provide social security insurance to housewives with at least three children, and present it to parliament for assessment and ratification.
The two bills, like all previous bills, have to be passed by the powerful oversight body, the Guardian Council, which reviews legislation to ensure compliance with the Islamic Republic Constitution and the Sharia.

  Bill on Maternity Leave in Limbo
Meanwhile, the legislation to increase paid maternity leave from six (that costs the government 3.2 trillion rials or $800 million) to 9 months for working women, although passed four years ago, has not yet been implemented fully, and its status remains in limbo.
So far only the health and education ministries have implemented the provisions.
Increase in maternity leave needs an additional $120 million, which must be provided by the government. The lack of funding has apparently delayed implementation of the law designed to increase the population growth rate.
A large number of women (working on contractual basis) are refused their right to return to work after they get back from maternity leave, on the grounds that employers don’t have the required funds or that they had been replaced.
Studies show that from 145,000 women who took maternity leave —almost a third or 47,000 — were sacked when they wanted to return.
In February 2013 the Majlis approved a new family planning bill which, while eliminating a number of birth control programs to boost population growth, increased paid maternity leave for working women from six to nine months.
“We suggested that the additional amount be paid by the Health Ministry from the resources they have been allocated for the population growth programs. But that proposal did not go anywhere,” said Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shanidokht Molaverdi, on her official Twitter account in October 2016.
“We are currently in talks with the Social Security Organization to find a way to amend the bill, since the Court of Administrative Justice has asked for the bill to be either revised and implemented, or dropped altogether,” she said.
Elham Aminzadeh, former legal advisor and current special assistant to President Hassan Rouhani on citizenship laws, had said in mid-2016 that implementation of the nine-month maternity leave was up to company managers and decision-makers.  
“Only a few government organizations are enforcing the bill, mainly because executive bodies are not obliged to implement it and were only given the option as stated in the law,” said Abbas Goudarzi, MP and member of Majlis Social Commission on January 17, the parliament’s News Agency ICANA reported.
He lamented lack of enforceability of the law, and said the Majlis is trying to pursue the matter legally if employers fail to grant the nine-month leave. 

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