Editorial: let law reflect life



In society, proposals to alter the system of parental leave and benefits are always expected and welcome. The need is prescribed by life itself – the overall changes of work and family relations, the impact of receding stereotypes etc. While we will have to discuss what the changes will be, the ideas currently tabled are surely a step in the right direction. 

With the aging population, low birth rate and emigration, the population for us is a trouble spot indeed. Naturally, to reach a positive increase, lifespan needs to be extended as well – and here we are getting better consistently. Even so, nothing will replace new births, wherefore political steps towards those aged 25 to 40 are needed – so the young people could educate themselves, have careers while having more children born in families like these.

Before the latest Riigikogu elections, majority of parties envisioned altering parental benefits system as a way out. In the heat of campaigning, many a proposal remained rather empty as «benefits more just» is nothing but words without specifications. And yet, as seen in how active the parties were about it, we saw they sense the need for a change.

Now, social ministry has come forward with a comprehensive solution for parental leave system prescribing potential prolonging of parental leave and improved integration of rest and work.

Importantly, the leave and benefits can be shared between the parents. The other positive approach relates to legislation – bringing order to the current hotchpotch of leaves and benefits. Several earlier benefits will in the new plan be integrated into a single parental leave.

Thus, in the future, families might have an easier time making plans. Also, a simpler system is easier to administrate.  

The political patties might realise a freer and increasingly equal parental benefits system is more effective and befits the time.

While it is increasingly different than the traditional father-works-and-mother-is-home-with-kids model, the families are trying to twist the current system according to their needs. With legislation in step with real life, no need for citizens to test the legal limits.