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Armenia Scales Back Maternity Benefit Reduction Plans After Protests

Armenia has scaled down plans to reduce maternity-leave benefits after women protested the potential cuts.

Current law stipulates that monthly maternity allowances must fully match the salaries of women employed by public or private entities.

The government initially planned to cut the payments by 20 percent to 60 percent, depending on how long the recipient has worked.

The government had said the money saved would be used to pay benefits to unemployed mothers starting in 2016.

But the plan sparked protests outside the government and parliament buildings late last month.

During hearings in parliament on November 4, Labor and Social Affairs Artem Asatrian said that under a new plan, women whose monthly salary does not exceed 1 million drams ($2,500) will not be affected, while employers will have to take care of the extra payments to those who receive higher salaries.

He said there are only 400 women in Armenia whose salaries exceed 1 million drams.