Following the opening of the Parliament last week, talks began regarding reforms which will introduce new rights and incentives for working mothers, building on the recent parliamentary approval of two critical amendments to the legislation regarding part-time work. The new amendments will allow working mothers to work 20 hours a week, instead of 40 hours, until the child reaches the age of 7. The part-time work allowance, which can be used by the mother or father, will be accessible after the mother's maternity leave has ended. The Parliament General Assembly will continue discussing the amendments on Tuesday and Wednesday. Commenting on the new draft legislation regarding working mothers, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy and the chairman of the Health, Family, Labor and Social Affairs Commission, Vural Kavuncu, told Daily Sabah that the bill aims to empower women, to let them know that they will not need to give up their careers to become mothers.
According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) 2014 Economic Survey of Turkey, the employment rate for women stood at only 30 percent, which is lower than the OECD average of 58 percent. AK Party deputy Kavuncu indicated that the proposed draft bill aims not just to improve working standards, but also to encourage the empowerment of women. Kavuncu said, "We are introducing an amendment that will contribute significantly to the empowerment of women. Turkey has a strong family structure; thus, a mother's desire to have a child and take care of her child has been seen as a disadvantage by employers."
Underlining that the newly introduced draft bill and approved amendments will support and enhance the empowerment of women, Kavuncu said it will also eliminate reticence to hire women. Elaborating on the remarks of Kavuncu, the Association of Women and Democracy's (KADEM) chairwoman, Sare Aydın said, "We believe policies such as parental leave, the examples of flexible working models used throughout the world by governments and businesses, day-care opportunities and other modifications that are preserving the work-life balance, are highly significant for supporting the participation of women in the labor market as well as for supporting women's desire to have children."
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