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Trade Union believes Paliyev’s proposal would penalize pregnant women

The Minister’s claim that making it possible to dismiss women who are pregant would prevent discrimination against women by potential employers is roundly condemned as sheer hypocrisy

The Committee on Women’s Rights of the Ukrainian Confederation of Free Trade Unions is disturbed by the Minister of Employment and Social Protection Mykhailo Paliyev’s proposal to amend the Labour Code making it possible to dismiss pregnant women.

It points to a number of international conventions and says that such “social policy” from the government is unacceptable. It stresses that such actions not only contravene international law, but are also against the Ukrainian Constitution. Article 22 of the latter directly states that “The content and scope of existing rights and freedoms shall not be diminished in the adoption of new laws or in the amendment of laws that are in force”.

The Chair of the Committee Vera Sholudko states: “The Minister of Employment’s statement that the proposed article of the Labour Code would make it possible to avoid discrimination against women when being selected for a job is pure hypocrisy. The Minister is in this way effectively admitting to the helplessness of his Ministry which should be making sure that citizens are not turned down without good reason.  The Minister’s notion would therefore seem to be trying to absolve the Ministry of responsibility for such discrimination”.

The proposed supplements are clearly in the employer’s favour, not the workers. The words “infringements of labour legislation” can, if the will is there, be treated very freely. And as the Committee stresses, there can be no doubt that employers will wish to do so.

Take, for example, a situation where a pregnant woman feels faint in overcrowded public transport and is therefore late for work. Or she leaves her desk because she’s feeling ill. From the point of view of an employer already eager to get rid of an “inconvenient” employee, this can be deemed an infringement. Trying to appeal against a dismissal will be impossible since the law will be on the employer’s side.

The Committee finds such a policy especially absurd given the critical demographic situation in the country.

It calls on the Government to stop violating the Constitution and to not allow discrimination of pregnant women on the employment market.

Abridged from a press statement issued by the Committee on Women’s Rights of the Ukrainian Confederation of Free Trade Unions

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