Adopted in 2000 by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Maternity Protection Convention (C183) set the minimum standards that need to be implemented worldwide in order for pregnant women and working mothers to be adequately protected in the labour market. Since its adoption, 39 countries have ratified the Convention. Georgia, an ILO member since 1993, has not yet done so. Does the current Georgian legislation meet the minimum standards set by the Convention? To answer this question, let us first examine the standards set by the Maternity Protection Convention.
Among the key tenets of C183 are the standards governing maternity leave duration and compensation. In particular, the Convention stipulates a minimum of 14 weeks of paid leave for women, where at least six weeks are mandatory. Importantly, the general standard on compensation (Article 6 of the Convention) states that a cash benefit should ensure that a woman can maintain herself and her child in a proper condition of health and with a suitable standard of living for the duration of the leave.
Health protection and working conditions of breastfeeding and pregnant women – The Convention, for example, requires that pregnant and breastfeeding women are relieved from work that is harmful or hazardous to their health or the health of the child. Necessary accommodations should be made to transfer such women to a safer working environment. In case such transfer is not possible, paid leave should be provided in accordance with national laws and practices. In addition, women should be compensated for the working hours not worked due to medical examinations related to their pregnancy.