Idea of paternity capital to be discussed in government

The Civic Chamber will send results of research on introduction of a new state supporting measure for families with children in Russia to the Cabinet of Ministers

The Civic Chamber of Russia will raise the results of the survey about the introduction of paternity capital for discussion in December, Realnoe Vremya was told in the joint organ. After voting, 74% of respondents across the country supported the initiative of the CC. According to the idea of the project’s authors, the payout doesn’t have to exclude maternity capital and will be equal in amount, that’s to say, 453,000 rubles. The materials of research will be sent to the government of the Russian Federation for consideration, even though previously the Ministry of Labour hadn’t supported the idea. As initiator of the project, Vice Chairman of the Russian Civic Chamber’s Committee on Support for Family, Motherhood and Childhood Sergey Rybalchenko explained to our newspaper, it is necessary to introduce paternity capital in the next years — at the peak of the number of 32-33-year-old women who are ready to have their third child. The Union of Fathers hopes that the idea must be registered legally during 1,5 years as maternity capital only doesn’t save the demographic situation.

Women vote for paternity capital

On the threshold of preparation of the bill, he Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation did sociological research on Russians’ attitude to the introduction of federal paternity capital after a third child’s birth in the family. The payout doesn’t exclude maternity capital and will be equal in amount — 453,000 rubles.

The survey took place in 83 regions, including Tatarstan, Bashkortostan and other regions of the Volga district. Almost 11,000 people in total who are parents of two or more children participated in it. Half of the surveyed are large families. Even those who weren’t up for the payout appreciated its importance. The biggest group aged from 29-30 to 39-41 years was surveyed where the probability of the third child’s birth is the highest.

The majority — over 74% of respondents — were for the introduction of the new state supporting measure for large families, initiator of the project, Vice Chairman of the Russian Civic Chamber’s Committee on Support for Family, Motherhood and Childhood Sergey Rybalchenko told Realnoe Vremya.

“Paternity capital met the biggest support among all new measures that are proposed,” Rybalchenko said. “74% of surveyed parents support it. Another 8% of them were for but with a proviso “on certain terms”.

So parents are ready to have their third child if the state gives them a helping hand, the CC thinks. But there is an interesting detail. Women accounted for 93% of the surveyed parents as men themselves didn’t want to express their opinion about it. According to Sergey Rybalchenko, this doesn’t mean that women decided instead of the head of the family, the case is that they are more active by nature and ready for big changes than conservative men.

If we evaluate activity in regions, Moscow, Moscow and Ulyanovsk Oblasts showed great interest in the project where a big number of parents were surveyed, he added. The survey in Tatarstan wasn’t on a big scale, the Tatarstan Civic Chamber admitted.

Russia Labour Ministry for payouts to children under 18

The Russian Civic Chamber offered this initiative as early as in June proposing to complement Demography national project with the introduction of a provision on payment of paternity capital — subsidies for families who have had the third child and more in addition to maternity capital.

But the head of the Russian Ministry of Labour was against this initiative. Delivering a speech at SPIEF 2019, Maksim Topilin noted that the train of thought of the authors of the initiative was hard to understand as maternity capital was aimed to support the whole family, not only the mother. “The money given by the certificate is the money for the family, for its well-being,” he added. He offered to think about the payout of benefits to needy families with children under 18.

Civic Chamber: fathers-breadwinner should be supported

The first question the respondents were asked was about the amount paternity capital must have. “More than a half considers that it must be equal to maternity capital’s amount,” Sergey Rybalchenko said. “34% of the respondents said that it must be twice higher.” The organisers of the research themselves offered possible answers because if there is liberty of choice, the experts would have had a wide range of proposals.

The second question was about how to use paternity capital. According to Sergey Rybalchenko, more than 80% of the surveyed people think that it must be spent to purchase a house. Over 60% of the respondents consider that paternity capital can be used to purchase a car. The most popular answer was that paternity capital must be spent on older children’s higher education.

It was also said among the possible answers that paternity capital must be used to increase the family’s economic stability. This is why the allocation of paternity capital for support for a family business was discussed. Over 20% of respondents decided this way, another 10% of the surveyed people offer to use it to develop farming.

“It seems to me that it is a good indicator, as the key idea nested in paternity capital is that it is to boost a family’s economic stability and give a chance to support the father as the major economic subject because the mother doesn’t work any more,” Sergey Rybalchenko commented on the new approaches.

As statistics show, 40% of mothers who have many children don’t work, this is why the major economic burden of maintaining the family falls on the father who is the breadwinner.

Don’t miss paternity capital

“Unfortunately, the demographic situation doesn’t improve but gets worse only, even though quite strong measures are taken. It is obvious that something is wrong, something doesn’t work,” the author of the initiative considers. “But why are these measures right now? Now, most of the women who are ready to give birth to the third child is a record high. Their average age is 32 years. It will be gradually reducing in the next 12 years. And we must do our best to realise their full reproductive potential,” Rybalchenko thinks.

At the same time, there was asked how accessible existing measures of social support for large families were. “According to the survey, it turned out that 38% don’t receive and don’t know about the existence of the measures. As for new initiatives, here we found another indicator — about 80% are aware, but the access is low because they refer to children born after 1 January 2018 only,” the project’s initiator explains.

The Civic Chamber will make recommendations to increase those age groups that don’t have a chance to use these measures. “It is unclear why there is a barrier since 1 January 2018 for second children because these benefits are paid from maternity capital. There aren’t any factors that would impede from expanding supporting measures,” Rybalchenko doesn’t understand.

The authors of the initiative think that paternity capital must include children who are born a year to the adoption of the law. Why a year earlier? It is no secret that nurses faced a lot of abortion before the introduction of maternity capital because women thought they hurried up with giving birth. And here it is possible to eradicate such moods with the help of correct managerial decisions. The results of the survey that will become a platform for further discussions will be reported at the plenary session of the Civic Chamber on 9-10 December.

According to the Ministry of Labour of the Republic of Tatarstan, 35,500 large families (three or more children) live in the republic. They bring up 11,200 children. Most of the large families live in Kazan, Almetyevsk and Nizhnekamsk (over 2,000 families). There is a number of social supporting measures for them. “We made a decision that from next year the supporting measures will include a monthly benefit for families that bring up five or more children, e-certificate for medication equal to 10,000 rubles a year for children under 3 years and exemption of payment for kindergarten for large families whose average income is lower than the minimum wage,” President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov announced the package of regional state support this June.

Later Minister of Labour and Social Protection Elmira Zaripova claimed that the average benefit for families with five children would total over 4,600 rubles a month. “Nowadays 627 families with five children or more whose income per capita is lower than the minimum wage live in the republic. It is supposed that there will additionally be allocated over 236 million rubles from the republic’s budget for such benefits. This demographic measure will allow pulling such families out of the state of financial insecurity,” Zaripova stressed.

Can be introduced in half a year?

Executive Director of the Union of Fathers of Russia Yury Solyonov considers that there will be a question where to find the money for paternity capital. “I think that it is the major question. But if such a budget is provided, it will be a good step to popularise large families so that a large family will become usual and habitual in the Russian Federation, while the family itself will be considered a large family from four children”.

However, the public has a complaint about the leaning in the gender issue, the division into mothers and fathers. “But, actually, responsible fatherhood is on the front burner. And if the father is the head of the family, he should receive help and be shown that the government gives this trust and financial aid because the father deserves it, it is a result of that he brought up and educated two children. And he gets compensation from the state for making a determined step — to have a third child,” Solyonov thinks. According to him, if the initiative receives 100% support, it won’t be left in cold storage. It might take a year or year and a half to introduce this proposal, he concludes.

Head of the National Parents’ Committee Irina Volynets is hands down for paternity capital considering it is not only a measure of material support for a family but also a guarantee of its unity and fullness. “It is very important when the family is full, while children grow up with their dad and mom,” she indicated. “It is hard to overestimate the role of the father: it is not only a breadwinner, but it is also psychologically important for children to have a father. Children who grew up in single-parent families often can’t create a family and often get divorced. Statistics talk about it. In this respect, Tatarstan doesn’t differ from other regions. Unfortunately, the level of divorces in the republic is quite high. The number of large families is approximately in line with Russia in general as well as the number of single mothers. Tatarstan would be better penultimate in number of divorces and first in number of large families, but, unfortunately, we are somewhere in the middle.”

In his opinion, the financial incentive for fathers will become an additional stimulus and play a positive role. “What should paternity capital be spent on? I think that parents should not be restricted when it comes to paternity capital. Parents should spend the money as they wish. Might the target be as that of maternity capital, plus, purchase of a school uniform and food from local producers,” she offered. But she considers spending the money on a business a risky undertaking, as many don’t have experience.

By Luiza Ignatyeva