The overall percentage of Czech fathers taking paternity leave is less than two percent, according to the data released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on Friday. Over the past fifteen years, the number of fathers staying at home with their kids has increased by only about one percentage point. Last year, some 5,200 Czech fathers officially took paternity leave. According to the non-profit Liga otevřených mužů or League of Open Men, ten percent of Czech fathers would like to take paternity leave but most of them reject it, stating mainly financial reasons.
Czech parents have become far more involved in the running of their children’s schools in the last two years, according to a newly produced study by the national school inspections body quoted by Czech Television on Sunday. The report says that parents typically demand more improved services, a wider variety of hobby groups and a wider variety of food in school canteens. One in 10 schools reported that parents have called for action to be taken against bullying and in some cases for the expulsion of pupils who repeatedly disrupt lessons.
The Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic has upheld an appeal by a father who refused to return his seven-year-old son to his mother in France on the grounds that she had fallen prey to a religious sect and could not secure the boy’s welfare. The judge said the arguments presented were valid and the lower instance court to which the case was returned should consider primarily the best interests of the child. The lower instance court had previously ruled in favour of the boy’s return, despite a medical expertise which said the child was traumatised following time spent with his mother in France.
Three-fifths of Czech families are paying off some debt at the moment, according to a survey carried out by IBRS Agency for Caritas Czech Republic. An average monthly instalment amounts to 6,700 crowns. One third of the indebted families don’t know how they would solve possible problems with paying off their debt, while two thirds said they would ask their relatives or take yet another debt to solve the problem. According to experts, net earnings below 24,000 crowns a month are regarded insufficient to provide financial security.
The Czech lower house has rejected a proposed amendment to the law that would have enabled unmarried women to undergo artificial fertilization using the sperm of an anonymous donor. The proposal sparked heated debate on the discrimination of singles and the right of a child to know who its parents are.
Czech MPs have voted against a bill allowing unmarried women to undergo artificial fertilisation using the sperm of an anonymous donor, iDnes.cz reported. Only 40 of 153 deputies present for Wednesday’s vote supported the amendment put forward by František Adamek of the Social Democrats. The motion sparked impassioned debate, with TOP 09 deputy Jitka Chalánková saying the right to have a child did not rank among the basic human rights. Reacting to this statement, the Social Democrat minister for social affairs, Michaela Marksová, said Ms. Chalánková had completely lost her mind. Mr. Adamek said the bill would remove the current requirement for unmarried women to present a male “partner” at fertility clinics.
Fathers will be entitled to a week’s paid leave under a health insurance amendment backed in the upper house of parliament, the Senate, on Wednesday. Fathers will be able to take the week within six weeks following the birth of a child with 70 percent of the normal wages paid. Government ministers say the move should encourage fathers to be more involved in the raising of their offspring. The move, which now needs only the signature of the president to become law, was backed by 58 out of the 77 lawmakers present. Around 100,000 Czechs are born every year.
An increasing number of children are suffering from negative side effects of vaccinations, according to the State Institute for Control of Drugs. The institute says it now gets hundreds of complaints every year, some insignificant, others fairly or very serious. No link has so far been proven between vaccination and autism or epilepsy but an increasing number of parents fear they may be putting their children at risk. Parents who do not get their children vaccinated face complications such as not being able to enrol them in nursery schools.
The lower house has approved a bill that will enable fathers to take a week of paid leave to be with their new-born within six weeks of the baby’s birth. Paternity leave would be voluntary and those who chose to take it would receive 70 percent of their base salary, which is the same percentage currently received by women on maternity leave. The bill still needs to win approval in the Senate and be signed by the president.