Bulgarian grannies to be paid to babysit grandkids

6th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Traditionally, grandparents already look after their grandchildren while the parents go to work.

Sofia -- Five thousand Bulgarian grandparents have signed up to a scheme under which they will be paid to baby-sit their grandchildren, the social affairs ministry announced Tuesday.

Under an amendment to legislation to boost employment that comes into force on January 1, any grandparent can ask for the minimum-wage compensation of 240 leva (120 euros) on top of their pension until the grandchild reaches the age of three.

Traditionally, grandparents already look after their grandchildren while the parents go to work.

But Bulgaria, which is suffering one of the worst demographic crises in the European Union, has been seeking new ways to boost the low birth rate.

Bulgarian women are now given 45 weeks of maternity leave, during which they continue to receive 90 percent of their salary.

The government has also started paying for childcare costs until the child reaches the age of two.

A drop in the birth rate after the fall of communism in 1989 led many kindergartens and nurseries to close, so there are no facilities for some 63,000 children.

Fathers are also being encouraged to help, receiving 90 percent of their pay during the first 15 days after birth, when they are also granted parental leave, and from the sixth to the 12th month, if the mother decides to return to work.

Bulgaria has the lowest population growth in the European Union, according to the EU statistics bureau Eurostat, the result in part of massive migration for economic reasons to Spain, Greece, Italy and Germany.

The government's measures have had some effect, prompting the highest birth rate in 15 years in 2007, 1.8 percent up on the previous year.

But the death rate remains equally high, however, because of an ageing population.

AFP/Expatica

0 Comments To This Article