About the Project

Project information:
Back to work: re-integration of parents to professional life after a parental leave

General information:

Project title

 Back to work: re-integration of parents to professional life after a  parental leave

Name of the organization implementing the project

 All Ukrainian Non-governmental Organization

 League of Social Workers of Ukraine

Location

Ukraine and 5 pilot regions: Chernivtsi, Kyiv, Luhansk, Vinnytsya, Zhytomyr

Project duration

3 years

Project financed by

The Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine 

Project partners

Companies of all forms of ownership,

Confederation of Employers of Ukraine,

Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine and its regional departments,

State Employment Service and regional employment centers,

Trade unions

NGOs working in the sector of gender equality

Research of international practices

Practices of Sweden, Finland, Germany, Norway and other countries of the EU will be researched

International legal foundation of the project

EU Strategy for equality between women and men 2010-2015 (Section 1),

International Labor Organization Conventions No. 100 and 156,

International Labor Organization Recommendations No. 90 and 165,

Final Conclusions of the UN Committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women to the Report of Ukraine, presented in 2010.

Expected results

A viable model of reintegration of mothers and fathers to professional life after a parental leave is developed, tested and approved;

· Draft legal acts ensuring equal opportunities on the labor market and in economic life for parents returning to professional life are developed;

Reintegration model is used in the standards of social corporate responsibility in Ukraine.

Project relevance

At the present time, conditions awaiting parents who returning to work after maternity/parental leave are highly unfavorable and are defined as a key problem to be resolved by the project implementation.

According to the State Employment Service, in Ukraine there is 496 000 families with children under 6 that have utilized their right for a maternity/parental leave. More than 120 000 parents return to the labour market annually in Ukraine. According to experts’ calculation, 25-30% of them have to seek help from the State Employment Service, due to the fact that their former employers refuse to accept them back.
According to Ukrainian legislation, a woman is granted 126 days of maternity leave paid by an employer. Following, a mother (or a father) can take up to 3 years (in some cases up to 6 years) of parental leave, while an employer has to keep the position. During the parental leave, the State pays 130 UAH (12,5 Euro) monthly. 94 % of parents are forced to take parental leave due to the lack of day care options for the child. Many of the parents return to work earlier – average duration of parental leave 9-12 months. Most common reason for early return to work (60,4% of parents) is financial troubles.

At the same time, employers are reluctant to employ young women due to an assumption of them having children soon and taking a maternity/parental leave. Employers justify such decisions by their uncertainty about professional skills of a mother after a long leave and with a good reason – it is estimated to take up to 6 months for an employee to become fully reintegrated into work environment. As a result, women get lower salaries, are promoted rarely, suffer from low level of economic independence and access to financial resources and decision-making. In 2011, Ukrainian women’s average salary made up only 71% of a men’s, and an income gap was even more significant (women’s average income made up only 62-63% of a men’s).

Project description

The overall objective of the Project is to create a favorable environment for parents returning to work after a maternity/parental leave. In order to achieve this, the Project will reach the following specific objectives:
  1. Develop a comprehensive model of reintegration of parents to work after maternity/parental leave for the entities of all forms of ownership. The model will be developed in collaboration with state bodies, trade unions, employers and NGOs and will be based on specific needs of parents returning back to work;
  2. Pilot and implement the model of reintegration. The model will be piloted with employers in 5 regions. It will help to identify its strengths and drawbacks and amend them accordingly. Capacity of employers, state bodies, trade unions and NGOs involved will be increased and partnership between them will be strengthened.
  3. Introduce the model of reintegration as a strategic practice adopted by the state and used by employers. Upon finalization, the model will be introduced both into the state practices and the standards of SCR for employers.
  4. Develop and advocate for the legislation ensuring equal access to economic life of employees with family and of parents returning from maternity/parental leave

Short-term and long-term project results:

Short-term results include:

  1. Conditions for women’s advancement, career promotion and ensuring their economic independence are created;
  2. Women’s access to social services ensuring their professional development and well-being is improved;
  3. Practices of a successful family and work life combination are promoted;
  4. Capacity of all stakeholders involved in employment/family policies to support employees with family responsibilities is increased;
  5. The developed innovative model of support of parents during a maternity/parental leave and of assistance in returning to work distributed and approved as a national practice.

Long-term (strategic) results presume:

  1. Economic equality of men and women is promoted;
  2. Women’s access to economic resources is improved;
  3. National gender policy becomes more strategic and demand-driven.

Moreover, the project will make a considerably broader impact. At the macro-level the project will develop and support acceptance and implementation of the gender-sensitive strategies for inclusion of women in economic development and for ensuring equal rights and opportunities in the economic and social sphere. At the meso-level the project will enhance skills and sensitivity of institutions involved in the development and implementation of the employment policies - Ministry of Social Policy, regional departments for labor and social policy, regional departments for family, children and youth, trade unions and HR departments of the companies. At the micro-level, the Project will develop and launch an innovative mechanism that will facilitate career advancement and economic empowerment of women and will help advance policies and practices of employment without gender discrimination. The project will contribute to a working environment favorable to the families.

The project plans to use a multi-sectoral approach with full involvement of all the institutions and organizations participating in the development and implementation of the policies on employment and family policy in Ukraine. It is expected that the project partners will participate in development and testing of an innovative model. Once the model is developed, the project will advocate for its inclusion to the state employment policy, thus transforming it into an appropriate nationwide strategy and one of the cornerstones of collaboration between government, unions and employers (large, medium and small companies). For successful implementation of the project, the partnerships with some large corporations will be established, including CJSC "Obolon" (over 7000 employees) and pharmaceutical company "Farmak" (more than 1000 employees), as well as with a number of small and medium size enterprises. About 2500-3000 employees of the above-mentioned corporations will be involved in the project. Additionally, international and national experts will be contributing during the project activities implementation.