A worker or employee who adopts a child up to the age of 5 will be entitled to 365 days off work from the day of adoption but not later than the day when the child turns 5, decided the Parliament with the new amendments to the Labour Code.
The MPs argued over the proposal of BSP, finally rejected, to grant adoptive parents of children over the age of 5 a period of 90 days off work within one year after adoption. The reason was to give the child time for adaptation.
Hasan Ademov, Chair of the Social Committee, said that the total number of adopted children for the previous year was 578, of whom 473 aged 0-3, 55 from 3-5, 45 from 5-10, and 5 children over 10 years of age. The motivation for adoption is informed, planned and not at all related to having time off work, he explained. In his words, if a leave of 90 days is granted, the biological parents will not be able to use the extra days compared to the families who have adopted a child from a foster family. This will cause a clash between the rights of two groups of people, said Ademov.
Deputy Chair of the Social Committee Svetlana Angelova explained that the age limit was not randomly chosen, because children up to the age of 5 had to attend day care, they were still very young and needed their biological or adoptive parents around. At the same time, the rights of biological and adoptive parents will be equal with regard to the paid leave for child care.
The Parliament also endorsed paternity leave with the consent of the mother to substitute the maternity leave once the child has turned six months. If the father is unknown, the leave can be used by either parent of the mother. If the father is deceased, the leave can be used by a parent of the mother or the father. The amendments will be effective as of 1 July 2018.