Mitrovica Centre Seeks Improved Parental Leave in Kosovo

On Jan. 23, the Centre for Protection of Woman and Child (CPWC) Raba Voca organized the first advocacy meeting with women municipal assembly members and municipal councillors, as part of their initiative “Parental Leave as a future model in Kosovo”.

Their initiative aims to promote the idea of ​​an appropriate parental leave model, which “Would directly affect the child’s health and build child-parent relationships”, according to Fidane Hyseni, Director CPWC Raba Voca.

Based on the current Law on Labour in Kosovo, men are not explicitly entitled to parental leave. Rather, they are allowed only two days paid leave and two weeks without pay, which they can use at any time prior to the child reaching the age of three. The Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) and its member organizations, including CPWC Raba Voca, consider this a violation of the Law on Gender Equality.

“The current provisions [in the Labour Law] do not offer the same rights to women and men,” said Iliriana Banjska, KWN Project Coordinator, who has intensively researched labour rights. “The Law on Gender Equality says that women and men should have the same rights. Yet, currently women and men do not have the same amount of time or financial incentives to take off work to spend quality time with their children,” she continued. “This also has indirect implications on equality in employment and on being an active member of society.”

During their initiative, CPWC Raba Voca plans to conduct a survey with citizens in Mitrovica and the surrounding municipalities, supported by KWN staff members with expertise in methodology design and surveying. Then, CPWC Raba Voca will use the findings to advocate for improved public awareness and political attention to this issue.

In explaining the action to officials participating in their first meeting, Ms. Hyseni took the opportunity to advocate for their support in addressing recommendations arising from the survey.

Additionally, CPWC Raba Voca also discussed with officials the financial challenges that their women’s shelter faces on a daily basis. Their only aims is to provide a safe place for women who have experienced gender-based violence. However, they lack sufficient financial resources to do this, despite the state’s obligation to ensure such protection. Activists called upon municipal assembly members and councillors to support the shelter by allocating a municipal property for the shelter to use free of charge, thereby substantially decreasing its operational costs.

Notably, such a step by the municipality would support the government in fulfilling its commitments to implement the Istanbul Convention.

CPWC Raba Voca’s advocacy initiatives are receiving support from the KWN Kosovo Women’s Fund, funded by the Austrian Development Agency.