Press Advisories

15. 6. 2020 18:34

Bill on substitute child support heading to Parliament, government also to help municipalities with roads damaged by loggers

The Government met again in the meeting room of the Office of the Government, 15 June 2020.
The Government met again in the meeting room of the Office of the Government, 15 June 2020.
Single parents of children whose other parent is neglecting to pay child support will be able to apply for up to CZK 3 000 a month for a period of two years. The Andrej Babiš government approved a draft act on substitute child support on Monday 15 June 2020, having gathered in person at Straka Academy for the first time since the coronavirus epidemic broke out. It also approved financial aid for municipalities to repair local roads damaged as a result of the logging of bark-beetle-infested wood and appointed a new deputy minister for civil service.

After many years of discussion, single mothers and fathers not being paid child support by the other parent have finally been given hope that they will not be left out of pocket. According to the draft act on child support the Andrej Babiš government is passing along to Parliament, if all legal avenues have been utilised, they will be able to apply to the state for financial aid. One of the necessary preconditions will for example be that they have filed for execution against their former partner over owed child support.

"I think it's a success. We were still negotiating on it this morning. The first idea for a law like this was in 2005, so fifteen years later the government has finally approved it. It was complicated, even under the previous government we were trying to get it resolved. The fact is that 31 percent of all single mothers don't get any support at all and 13 percent of single mothers receive child support irregularly, and every year around 8 000 criminal complaints are filed over non-payment," noted PM Andrej Babiš.

Single parents will be entitled to payment of substitute child support at the same level as the court has laid down for the other parent. The maximum amount of substitute child support will be CZK 3 000. "I am very glad, because those mothers deserve it. As is very well known, since I entered politics I have been sending all my income to single mothers, so I hope that this act will be passed in Parliament as well and that we will help mothers, and fathers too, who are single parents," the prime minister added. You can find more information in the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs (in Czech language).

The government also approved the Ministry of Agriculture's proposal to contribute financially to municipalities for repairs to local roads that have been or are damaged as a result of excessive logging caused by the bark beetle catastrophe. For these purposes the Ministry for Regional Development will make use of its own aid programme Support for the Development of Regions 2019+, the sub-programme Support for Government-Recommended Projects in Regional Development in the Year 2020 and Following Years. The ministers approved the fact that for this year there will be CZK 140 million available for such subsidies and that municipalities will be able to collect from the state up to 60 percent of the eligible costs, with the regions contributing a further 20 percent. The first call for submissions will be intended for municipalities in the hardest hit regions – the Moravian-Silesian, Olomouc and Zlín regions, which are currently reporting the most seriously damaged local roads.

Today the government also appointed, effective 1 July 2020, the new Deputy Minister of the Interior for Civil Service. Based on the results of a selection procedure and decision of the prime minister, this will be Petr Hůrka, currently a deputy minister at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. The appointment is for six years. "We hope that he will bring about streamlining of the civil service, because I think there is much room for improvement there," said PM Babiš.

Cabinet also approve the second phase of co-financing of social services in connection with the COVID-19 epidemic. While in May the government approved an extraordinary increase in funding for social services earmarked for special bonuses for such workers for their extraordinary work during the epidemic, this time the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs is freeing up money to cover the increased costs that social service providers have had during the epidemic. Social service providers will thus receive an extra nearly CZK 989.8 million. Further information is contained in the press release of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (in Czech language).

The ministers also discussed one of the key government strategies – Digital Czech Republic – and approved the implementation plans of this programme for 2021. The approved framework for investment in digitisation comprises nearly CZK 2.5 billion above and beyond the budgets of the individual bodies. "The priorities focus primarily on digitising state services so that citizens can take care of a maximum amount of matters without having to visit an office. So we are investing heavily in linking data between departments so as to have pre-filled-in forms as required by the act on the right to digital services approved at the start of the year. This law envisages digitisation of all services for citizens and companies within five years," said PM Babiš.

The need for accelerated digitisation was significantly felt during the coronavirus epidemic, when for several weeks contact between citizens and authorities was only permitted via remote access as part of preventive measures. The specific successfully developing projects include for example the Citizen Portal and the project BankID. "We have to promote digitisation, we have to talk about it, make citizens perhaps even more aware, so that they learn to make use of these services. We are committed to having digitisation take place as rapidly as possible," the prime minister promised.

The government also took up several pieces of draft legislation. It approved an amendment to the act on protection of classified information, which among other things considerably reduces the administrative burden for applicants, a proposal for a new act on the entry and import of certain cultural goods into the customs territory of the European Union and a draft amendment to the government order on vulnerable areas and the action programme. It also dealt with two private member bills, a proposed amendment to the act on special rules for admission to certain kinds of education and the completion thereof in the 2019/2020 school year and a draft amendment to the Education Act. On both of these, ministers adopted a dissenting opinion.

The government also took under advisement five extraordinary measures of the Minister of Health. Four of them have been in place since midnight of 15 June. The fifth one, concerning school attendance, will take effect 22 June. This will allow students to pick up their report cards for the past year at school, to part with the final year classes, and also to take a class photo. You can find a summary of the Health Minister's extraordinary measures at their website (in Czech language).

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