Friday, March 13, 2009

you are NOT gonna believe this!

Yesterday I was told something that made me SO mad. First, I have to back up and give you a bit of the history.

Here, a parent is entitled to 170 days of parental leave after adopting a child (parental leave is also available when a child is born into a family, and is usually taken (I think) after the maternity leave runs out - since I've never given birth to a child here, I'm not positive). The "parental pay" is 70% of the parent's income based on 6 months prior to taking it.

So, my parental pay is not very much because my day job (19 hours a week) is one of the lowest paying jobs around - I took the job because I like working there and it's where my kids go to school. But the parental pay is also based on my adult ed night school classes which only 6 hours a week.

Anyways, when I went to apply for the PP after we got home with Sofia, I asked about the night classes - I was worried that they would deduct that salary from my PP (and then I would end up with nothing. I was trying to determine if I should give up the night classes . . . I was told, after the nice lady made a phone call "upstairs", that I would need to report the days that I worked, and for those days, I would receive the minimum PP (which is about half of what I normally get). I thought, "great" - I can continue my night classes and not be penalized too much.

Last week, I filled out some paperwork to report the days I worked in January and February. When I dropped them off at the KELA office (a different office than the one where I dropped off the application), I confirmed with the nice lady at the reception desk who accepted the papers that for those days, I would receive the minimum PP. She assured me that was the case.

Are you with me so far? I'm almost done.

Yesterday, I received documents from the KELA office to revise my payment schedule. On the first page, I noticed that they had all the dates correct that I indicated on which I had worked. When I turned the page over, I was shocked to see that they had overpaid me by XXX€ because I was entitled to 0€ for each of those days I worked! What?! It must be some clerical or computer error!

So, when I took Mattias to his violin lesson yesterday, I first went to the KELA office to straighten this matter out. I got there 2 minutes before the office closed . . . Now, I need to preface this by saying that the woman I spoke to was very kind, and I in no way blame her - she's just relaying the information, and the words she chose to use are probably inappropriate because she was speaking English with me (I'm hoping that she would have chosen her words more carefully in her mother tongue . . .)

Here's the bottom line - I am not entitled to the minimum allowance on days where I work part time because our daughter is adopted. Parents are only allowed to that minimum if they "have their own child the natural way". Are you kidding me?

Sounds discriminatory to me.

I guess now I need to figure out who's responsible for this ridiculous law and see if I can do something about it. Really, for me, we're not not talking about much money at all (about 16€ per day for a total of 26 days over 4 months), but it's the principal of the matter.



Amy said...

I agree -- discrimination. My company has a decent parental leave (for the US) but then mother's supplement with short term disability - which I don't qualify for because it's a MEDICAL situation. Argh.

Kim said...

Holy mother!! That would have irritated me beyond belief! I hope you get that straightened out and are able to fix the situation for your family and others that will follow. Yep - discrimination!

kate said...

Fight the good fight, Barb. That's crazy.

Anonymous said...

Aaarrghh...Finnish bureaucracy is so frustrating, it gives me the shakes! Good on ya, if you take them on...personally, I wouldn't have the energy, but I admire the fact that you do!! Great stuff, Barb, and best of luck in your fight :)

Teresa said...

Back in the dark ages, they used to deny health insurance for adopted children. Hard to believe that in the 21st century this kind of discrimination is still going on!

Came across your blog...uh...somehow...I clicked links that were interesting and lost track and somehow got here. Anyway, nice to meet you! I like your blog and you have a beautiful family. We adopted our children too (I know your others came to you without the fuss of paperwork). One domestically, one from China.

Lisa said...

I have a similar thing. My work will top up mothers on materinty leave, but since I am going to be on parental leave I get nothing. It just feels so unfair.

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