Photos: Ion Buga/UNDP Moldova

This news was very well received by the captain Alexandru Gancearuc from the Communications and Computers Center of the Main Staff of the National Army.

Alexandru became father for the first time in May inst. and enjoyed the 14 days of paternity leave right after his son’s birth: “I was present at the delivery; it was a special experience. Right from the moment I took my son into my arms I felt the need to spend as much time with him as possible and to protect him.”

For two weeks, Alexandru focused only on his baby’s care:

“The 14 days seem a short period, but they are enough to tie the first bond with the child.

I wanted my son to hear my voice from the first moments, to recognize me, and to trust me,” the officer says, holding the “little” Alexandru tight in his arms and swinging him skillfully.

So far, two military men serving in the National Army on contract basis have taken a paternity leave. The 14-day leave can be taken in the first 56 days after the child’s birth.

The legal amendments that made possible to safeguard the right of men doing their military service on contract basis to a paternity leave were drafted with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The support was provided under the project “Support to the Security Sector Reform in the Republic of Moldova”, funded by the Ministry of Defense and UNDP.

“The amendments were made to ensure social equity and to remove the discriminatory treatment of contract-based militaries with newborns,” says Vladimir Iliev, State Secretary at the Ministry of Defense.

Prior to 1 January 2019, contracted militaries had to use their mandatory annual leave and/or the one granted for family reasons to solve pressing social or living issues, especially related to healthcare, fulfillment of family obligations, and for other grounded reasons. However, the duration of such a leave cannot exceed ten calendar days per year. Hence, if the military had exhausted their mandatory annual leave as well as the leave granted for family reasons, he or she was deprived of the possibility to participate in the care of their newborn in their first days of life.

“We think that not only the fathers who are employed in various industries of the national economy but also those who perform their military service on contract basis should enjoy equal and fair treatment in this regard. In the absence of such symmetries of treatment in matters related to the paternity leave the consequence is that the children whose fathers are contracted militaries will not enjoy their care, thus having a violation of the supreme interest of the child in place, which is unacceptable,” the State Secretary Vladimir Iliev says.

Militaries are now encouraged to take advantage of their paternity leave, as conciliation of professional life with family life of militaries and civil staff of the defense institution, and is one of the priorities of the management of the Ministry of Defense.                       

One of the strategy papers encompassing this goal is the National Program to implement the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security for 2018-2021 and the Action Plan for its enforcement that had been developed with UN assistance.

Law no.71 that for the first time gave fathers the possibility to enjoy a 14-day paternity leave, paid from the social security fund, was passed in April 2016.

The UN, in partnership with civil society organizations, had advocated for passing this law. The UN also supported the Moldovan Government in developing the Strategy for Ensuring Equality between Women and Men in the Republic of Moldova for 2017-2021 and will further support the integration of the gender dimension and women empowerment in the country’s key development areas.

According to the Study of Time Use, made by the National Bureau of Statistics with the UN support, six out of ten women, compared to only four out of ten men, are daily involved in child care activities.

Therefore, joint efforts are needed to achieve effective gender equality and fairer sharing of family responsibilities.

Fathers should actively participate in raising their children, Alexandru Gancearuc thinks:

“Through the paternity leave, most fathers naturally assume their role of father and will thus be more present in their children’s lives from the beginning and during the following years of their development.”

Alexandru, who has been working in the National Army for nine years, including for five years in the Communications and Computer Center, came back to work after the two weeks of paternity leave. When he comes home after work, he leaves his uniform and dedicates himself to his family.

“This leave also contributes to family balance by having roles and responsibilities shared between the two parents as well as to the emotional balance of the child. This is the period when the little one gets to know you and learns to trust you, while you rediscover yourself, reinvent yourself, and find out just how many things you can do,” concludes the captain Alexandru Gancearuc.

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