Senate rejects maternity benefits raise
The Senate rejected on Wednesday a motion by the Christian Democrats to raise maternity benefits to the levels of 2009. The motion also included restoring insurance payments for the first three days of sick leave. Senators from the right-of-centre Civic Democrats and the conservative party TOP 09 said that if approved, the amendment would increase the state budget deficit by another two billion crowns. The motion now will return to the lower house which is expected to overturn the Senate veto in mid-April with votes from Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Communists.
The caretaker government lowered maternity benefits by 10 percentage points, and abolished payments for the first three days of sick leave in January as part of the cost cutting measures adopted to lower the state budget deficit.