Pregnancy and Childbirth Benefits Unlimited
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation declared unconstitutional a provision in Article 15 of the federal law "On the Budget Fund for Social Security of the Russian Federation for 2002," which limits the maximum amount of assistance for pregnancy and childbirth.
The federal law sets "...assistance for pregnancy and childbirth…according to the average wage (income) at one's place of work." The disputed provision adds that "the maximum amount of assistance shall not exceed 11,700 rubles."
A young mother from the town of Sarov, whose average monthly income exceeds the sum provided for in the law, considered that such a limit violates not only her constitutional rights but the rights of many other pregnant women and young mothers.
She filed her challenge more than a year ago and yesterday the Court declared the limit on assistance illegal. The Court stated that the law worsened the situation of women with high incomes by "disproportionately limiting" the amount of assistance they can receive. Under the Court's decision the limitation will cease to be valid in six months. Now the government has three months to work out satisfactory amendments to the legislation, after which the State Duma will have three months to adopt them, since the unconstitutional limit will no longer be legally valid after six months. Lawmakers have assured that an appropriate bill will be introduced for consideration by the Duma as early as next week.
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