it’s normal to take three years of maternity leave.”
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Here it’s normal to take three years of maternity leave. My
daughter is now 2 years and 4 months old.
The month after I graduated from university, I started my
official maternity leave in Russia at 30 weeks of pregnancy. I
wasn’t officially working then (I did some English tutoring
while I was in school), so my maternity benefits from the
government were based off the minimum wage — around 7000 rubles
a month ($130). I received 2800 rubles each month ($60). After
the first year and a half, you can sign up to get another round
of benefits for the 18 months. The amount is laughable — 50
rubles a month, which is less than one US dollar. The majority
of moms don’t bother to claim it.
Muscovites also get an additional one-time payment for the
birth of a child, 50,000 rubles ($856). The one-time payment
everyone gets from the government is around 15,000 ($256). The
amount increases if you have a second child or more.
There are “dairy kitchens” everywhere [that provide free milk
and baby food]. It really helps save on the household budget,
but not all children like canned puree, some have allergies,
and parents may prefer different brands, so moms give away
unopened products to people they know, or sell them online for
half the market price.
In general, maternity leave in Russia is difficult but
possible. It was also hard for us because my husband and I
didn’t have our moms available to babysit, or a nanny (it
wouldn’t make sense for me to be working at a nanny’s salary
rate and then give it all to her). Our parents still help us
financially, and my husband took on some extra freelance work,
which I help him with sometimes.
We’re not planning a second child for the time being. I want to
get a job and then figure out our plans.