Legally Mom: Spending Maternity Leave Usefully
The Legally Mom school of legal literacy regularly hosts educational online lectures on the most relevant and useful topics. This time, the broadcast was dedicated to the employment of women having children, the rights and guarantees that mothers possess during their maternity leave. Elena Grin, expert of the project, told the listeners about what opportunities women have today to combine children’s upbringing with professional development and career growth.
PhD in Law, Deputy Head of the Department of Intellectual Rights at the Moscow State Law University, member of the scientific advisory board at the Intellectual Property Rights Court, Head of the Legal Education of Citizens project of the All-Russia People’s Front, co-founder of the Legally Mom centre of legal support, co-founder of the Legally Mom project
Employment is one of the most important conditions of the fulfilment of modern women. Most moms, as noted by Elena Grin, have great potential and enthusiasm. They are ready to develop but do not always know about their own rights and opportunities. The topics of employment and further vocational training echoed greatly among the participants of the Legally Mom project. That is why experts decided to devote a separate lecture to them.
Guarantees of Labour Rights
In Russia, ‘maternity leave’ is a general term denoting pregnancy and childbirth leave lasting for 140 days and parental leave, which can last up to 1.5 or 3 years. During that period of life, women in Russia have a fairly extensive list of rights and guarantees provided by the Labour Code of the Russian Federation. They can be related to taking and returning from maternity leave, getting a job, or financial matters.
The first set of rights and guarantees for employees on maternity leave includes the opportunity to take (or not to take) pregnancy and childbirth or parental leaves, take a vacation each year, work less than others, reduce their workload, and increase their comfort in the workplace. In particular, pregnant women can legally agree on a special schedule with their employers. It can presuppose short working hours, shorter working week, and longer lunch hours.
A woman can return from maternity leave earlier and also return to maternity leave if necessary. Her recorded work experience will continue to increase for the duration of her maternity leave.
According to Russia’s law, employees on maternity leave have the right to be employed without a probationary period, keep their job in case of job cut at the working place, and extend their fixed-term employment contract until the end of the maternity leave. They are allowed not to work at night, overtime, at weekends and on public holidays. Women on maternity leave can visit doctors during working hours with full pay and refuse to go on business trips and shifts.
Employees on maternity leave also have the right to receive benefits from the state and standard tax deductions for a child. They can reinstate the statute of limitations for labour disputes and earn recorded working experience and points for retirement without having to go to work.
All those are not local regulations, but norms prescribed by the Labour Code of the Russian Federation. Some of them can be applied to mothers with children up to 1.5 years old and some concern those with children aged up to 3 years. Sometimes women do not even know about many of them. However, mothers can make their lives more comfortable thanks to knowing the rights and guarantees they have.
Further Vocational Training and Employment
Elena Grin believes that maternity leave is the ‘golden time’ making it possible for Russian women to fully devote it to their children, themselves, their development and self-fulfilment. In Russia, women have rights and guarantees ensuring that provided by law.
In January 2020, an order of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Russia came into force and approved the ‘Methodological Recommendations on the implementation of measures to organise retraining and further professional training for women on maternity leave or with pre-school-age children’.
Within the Demography national project, special free educational programmes have been launched for mothers having the desire to master a new profession or to undergo further training.
Women on maternity leave caring for children under the age of 3 as well as mothers with pre-school age children who were not in an employment relationship and applied to the employment service were given the opportunity to complete free training. Interestingly, the project presupposes scholarship for the second category of participants. The scholarships are equal to the minimum salary in Russia’s regions those women come from. For example, the scholarship makes up 20 thousand rubles in Moscow. In the Moscow Oblast, it amounts to 15 thousand.
To take part in the programme, a woman needs to apply to the employment centre in her region. She can do that by visiting the organisation personally or by submitting an application via the Professional all-Russian electronic system. After signing up, the users have access to the list of programmes implemented in their region at the moment.
Women can choose the courses they are interested in or call the employment service to find out whether other courses more useful to them are available.
When applying for taking part in the programme, you only need your passport, certificates of your education and training, and your child’s birth certificate. It is a fairly simple procedure that does not require long preparation and document work.
Most Interesting Professions for Mothers
The project’s programmes of retraining or further vocational training are divided into federal and regional ones. They differ in terms of the training areas available. However, each programme results in mastering certain specialities and it may take different amounts of time to complete different programmes. Some courses require 72 hours of training, others presuppose more than 250 hours of classes. Everything depends on the complexity and breadth of the profession.
Elena Grin listed a number of different training areas. Russian women will certainly find something they are interested in. For example, free training is available in such areas as web design, programming, computer graphics, 3D modelling, administration, secretarial work, digital competencies, health and safety, sales and marketing. A separate large section of courses is dedicated to further vocational training in the field of education and the development of distance learning programmes.
Being the founder of the Legally Mom online project, Elena Grin found the areas related to online communication particularly interesting. As stressed by the expert, today’s women have the opportunity to engage professionally in blogging, targeting, Internet marketing, and SMM. They can master these professions within the state programme.
At the end of the training, the participants will have to take an exam or a test assessing their learning progress. The trainees receive a special certificate confirming their competence and qualification in the chosen profession upon successful completion of the course.
Today, it is possible to undergo the course in a distance learning format as well. This is especially convenient for mothers with young children.
Today’s women have a lot of opportunities and effective tools for professional growth. They can combine childcare and professional responsibilities comfortably. That means that a mother with a high level of legal literacy can not only protect her interests but also unleash her potential to the maximum.
You can find detailed video lectures on this and many other topics as well as free presentations and checklists on the Legally Mom website.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov