The required consultations on the law establishing the proposed Maternity Fund are in the final stages before approval in parliament.
Emmanuel Kayitare, the Director of Planning at the Social Security Fund, said that the introduction of a new social security segment like maternity insurance requires extensive consultations from all stakeholders.
“This prerequisite has delayed the approval of the draft law but its completion is close.
“It will result into a properly functioning labour market where the demand for labour will not be influenced by maternity considerations,” Kayitare said.
Maternity Insurance seeks to avoid discrimination of women, in the labour market, by putting in place a maternity insurance branch in Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), according to Kayitare.
While addressing the Parliament recently, the Minister of Public Service and Labor, Anastase Murekezi, said that there are still debates going on related to the Fund.
“The issue of Maternity Fund became more complex than we expected, new debates develop each day. The latest is about whether men should or shouldn’t contribute to the Fund,” Murekezi told MPs.
He further said that there were also debates on whether women who reach menopause, should still contribute towards a fund, they would not benefit from.
With this new arrangement, employers will not pay benefits but will make contributions to a social security scheme, RSSB, which will then be responsible for payment of maternity benefits to qualifying members.
“The contributions to this branch have to be mandatory because if made voluntary, employers would prefer to opt out of the scheme so as to continue avoiding maternity costs by not employing women,”Kayitare added.
Josephine Kabera, a teacher and mother of two says women undergo torment at the workplaces but with the fund in place, the issue of discriminating against pregnant women will be addressed.
“If this insurance fund is approved, At least mothers will be sure to get their full salaries even during maternity leave without the employers incurring so many costs. It is , if this insurance fund is approved, which is a blessing to us women,” Natalia Rurangwa, a mother of three observed.