The European Union (EU) is helping to create opportunities for Ukrainians who strive to combine family and professional life. At its kick-off press conference on Jan. 30 in Kyiv, the Back to work project, a joint initiative of the League of Social Workers of Ukraine and the EU, explained how it can help parents reintegrate to professional life after a parental leave.
“The issue of parents’ reintegration concerns all countries,” says Sergey Polyuk, sector manager on health and welfare of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. With a helping hand from the EU, he says, Ukraine will benefit from the best European practices on securing the rights of parents in the process of reintegration. He also believes that the initiative, “will contribute to economic development, increase the level of employment and avoid the loss of investments into human resources that occurs when parents do not return to work after their leave.”
Every year more than 120,000 parents want to reenter the job market after parental leave. 25-30 % of them have to ask the state employment agency for help as former employers refuse to take them back, creating a challenge for smooth professional reintegration.
The project intends to use best practices of EU regulations and the experiences of Sweden, Finland, Germany, Norway and other European countries to develop new professional reintegration regulations in Ukraine. These new norms should help parents (especially single parents) to make a solid living after their special time with their child.
Leaders of trade unions will appreciate the project’s focus on the rights of employees with family responsibilities, which is in compliance with national legislation, international conventions and charters ratified by Ukraine. The project also plans to develop elaborate proposals on tax benefits for companies that implement positive models for parental reintegration.
According to Galyna Zhukovska, director of the Department of Family Policy of the Ministry of Social Policy, it is important to conduct advanced training for employees after their period of parental leave. Experts say that employees needs nearly six months for full reintegration.
Svitlana Tolstoukhova, president of the League of Social Workers of Ukraine, hopes that sustainable results of the project will be integrated into state policy, as well as into practices of public and private enterprises.
The three-year project, started in December 2012, intends to develop parents’ reintegration model in five pilot regions: Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Dnipropetrovska and Volynska oblasts, and Kyiv.
For more information on the “Back to work” project: http://znovudoroboty.org.ua/ua/pro-nas/pro-proekt
Mr. Stepan Tymochko, firstname.lastname@example.org, +380 (044) 238-65-16 or +380 (095) 44-034-24