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The Bill on Amendments to the Parental Benefit Act (470 SE), initiated by the Government, passed the first reading in the Riigikogu. It harmonises the formula for reduction of the benefit in the case when income from work is received, and in most cases it will become more favourable for persons.

In January next year, the parental benefit will have been in force for exactly ten years and it has functioned well, the Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Rõivas said when introducing the Bill in the rostrum of the Riigikogu. “This amendment, which I am asking you to support, will always ensure to persons who receive the parental benefit and also work a total income which exceeds the parental benefit, that is, the parental benefit and income summed up will always amount to a sum exceeding the amount of the parental benefit which they would receive if they did not work. At the same time, it has to be taken into account that if a person works and is at home with a child simultaneously then he or she will receive the 100 per cent benefit only in single cases, namely when he or she earns less than the national minimum wage,” the Minister explained.

The Bill does not change to a significant extent the principles of payment and granting of parental benefit.

The member of the Riigikogu Maret Maripuu who made a supplementary report on behalf of the Social Affairs Committee said that, when discussing the Bill, the Committee had also considered the issue of flexible implementation of parental benefit but the issue had been put on hold until later.

The current formula for recalculation of the parental benefit is uneven and may yield a result where the total income of a person who receives the benefit decreases when he or she receives remuneration. The Bill eliminates the remuneration cap which precludes the payment of parental benefit. A parental benefit in the amount of the rate of the benefit as a minimum will always be guaranteed to the person who receives parental benefit. The regulation will become more favourable as regards working.

The term for submission of motions to amend for the second reading of the Bill is 23 October.

Five other Bills initiated by the Government also passed the first reading.

The Bill on Amendments to the Liquid Fuel Stocks Act (472 SE) adds new terms into the Act, determines the composition of the liquid fuel stocks, provides new bases for the stockholding obligation and calculation of the existing stocks, provides the rules for constituting specific stocks and new rules for holding stocks in another Member State or for the stocks held in Estonia by a person of another Member State. Also, the requirements for acting in the event of supply difficulties are specified, the requirements for provision of data are amended and the regulation concerning the supervisory board of the stock manager is brought into conformity with the State Assets Act, while exceptions from the State Assets Act are provided. The term for submission of motions to amend before the second reading of the Bill is 14 October.

The purpose of the amendments made with the Bill on Amendments to the Health Care Services Organisation Act (465 SE) is to grant the officials of the Health Information and Analysis Department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the employees of the Department of Health Statistics of the National Institute for Health Development who make health statistics the lawful right to use the data in the relevant database for management of health policy and making the overviews, analyses and health statistics necessary for the performance of international obligations. The Social Affairs Committee moved to conclude the first reading. The term for submission of motions to amend before the second reading of the Bill is 23 October.

The Sworn Translators Bill (460 SE) also passed the first reading. The Bill defines the legal status of a sworn translator and gives content to the concept of the professional activity of a sworn translator. According to the Bill, a sworn translator is a person who provides the service of translating documents by way of professional activity and performs other duties related to translation in the cases provided by law. The professional activity of a sworn translator includes translation of documents in the translation direction for which a professional certificate of a sworn translator has been issued to him or her, translation of Acts and international agreements as a public duty as well as certification of copies and print-outs and consultation of persons within the framework of translation of documents. The term for submission of motions to amend before the second reading of the Bill is 23 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure (468 SE) amends the provisions concerning imposition of extended confiscation in the Penal Code, extends the possibility of imposing addiction treatment instead of imprisonment and specifies the regulation concerning application of post-punishment supervision of conduct. The amendment of the Code of Criminal Procedure will enable to use measures for securing an action in order to secure confiscation, substitution of confiscation, a civil action or fine to the extent of assets. The term for submission of motions to amend before the second reading of the Bill is 23 October.

The Bill on Amendments to the Penal Code and Amendments to Other Associated Acts (469 SE). The purpose of the Bill is to bring Estonian Acts into conformity with the relevant EU directive on the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children which establishes specific measures for sexually abused children and regulates combating of child pornography. In addition to adoption of preventive measures and development of an awareness-raising policy, the Directive discusses the treatment of child victims of sexual offences, the reporting of abuse, the ensuring of access to legal remedies, and the giving of short and long term assistance to child victims At the same time, the Directive establishes minimum rules concerning the definition of criminal offences and sanctions in the area of sexual abuse of children. The term for submission of motions to amend before the second reading of the Bill is 23 October.

The verbatim record of the Riigikogu sitting (in Estonian) 

The Riigikogu Press Service
9 October 2013