No 07-00-349/2018-02

No 07-00-349/2018-02   Date: 1 October 2018

 

 

OPINION

 

This opinion was adopted in the proceedings concerning a complaint by S. P. from T, filed against the Municipal Council of the Municipality of T, concerning the Decision of the Municipal Council on the establishment of the economic price of the program of education and pedagogy in the pre-school institution S. R.from T. The complainant states, inter alia, that he has three children from two marriages, and that all his children live in his household, i.e. that the first child has been entrusted to him through a court ruling which gave him the right to exercise the parental authority, while the other two children were born in his current marriage. However, as the Municipal Council of the Municipality of T. has adopted a decision which, inter alia, prescribes that the third and each subsequent child by the same mother has the right to stay free of charge in the pre-school institution S. R.from T, his third child, who is also the second child of his current wife, has no right to stay free of charge in the kindergarten. The Municipal Council of the Municipality of T. has also submitted an answer to the complaint, whose integral part is a letter of the Pre-school Institution S. R.T, which is the proposer of the cited decision. The letter of the pre-school institution, inter alia, states that point 4 of the Decision on the establishment of the economic price of the program of education and pedagogy, which was adopted by the Municipal Council of the Municipality of T, assigns individual shares of beneficiaries in the economic price in the amount of the legally prescribed minimum of 20%, where: 1. children with developmental disabilities, children from financially vulnerable families and children without parental care have the right to a stay free of charge, in accordance with the law; 2. a wider scope of rights was defined for children from families with income under 8,000 RSD per family member, in terms of a lower share in the economic price than the prescribed minimum of 20%; 3. other rights were also defined in terms of an additional reduction from the prescribed 20%, namely the additional discount for the second child enrolled into the institution (this right it considered a right of the child, i.e. siblings enrolled into the institution are taken into account) and the stay free of charge for the third and each subsequent child by the same mother (this is a right of the mother, as a part of the measure intended to boost birth rate). With respect to the measure concerning the right to stay free of charge for the third and each subsequent child by the same mother, the letter of the pre-school institution states that this measure has not been prescribed by a specific regulation, but Article 11, paragraph 3 of the Law on Financial Support for Families with Children allows municipalities to also define other rights, a wider scope of rights than the rights defined by this Law, and more favourable conditions for their exercise, if they have ensured funds. In the course of the proceedings, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality determined that there was no objective and reasonable justification for denying the complainant the right to free attendance of the pre-school institution for his third child, since this right is allowed to mothers and fathers of three children who are in the same or similar situation as the complainant. Namely, the complainant is a father of three children who do not all have the same mother, but live with him in the same household. He exercises sole parental authority over the eldest child, and has two other children from the marriage to his current wife. Thus, at the moment, the complainants family currently includes three minors, who are looked after by the complainant and his current wife. However, although it is undoubtedly a five-member family, the complainant has had no opportunity to enrol his third child, free of charge, into the pre-school institution S. R.T, just because his children have different mothers. On the basis of all of the above, it may be concluded that the Municipal Council of the Municipality of T, when prescribing point 4 of the Decision on the establishment of the economic price of the program of education and pedagogy in the pre-school institution S. R.T, ignored families which include three or more children by the same father but different mother, and put the complainant in an unwarranted unequal position on the basis of two personal characteristics – sex and family status. Thus, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is of the opinion that the Municipal Council of the Municipality of T, by adopting the Decision on the establishment of the economic price of the program of education and pedagogy in the Pre-school Institution S. R.T, according to which the third and each subsequent child by the same mother has the right to stay free of charge in a pre-school institution, has violated Article 6 with regard to Article 20 of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination. The Municipal Council of the Municipality of T. is recommended to amend point 4 of the Decision on the establishment of the economic price of the program of education and pedagogy in the pre-school institution S. R.T, and prescribe that, in addition to other categories, the right to stay free of charge in a pre-school institution shall be exercised by the third and each subsequent child who lives in a family with three or more children, according to the order of birth, as well as to not violate the non-discrimination regulations in exercising its regular tasks and activities.

 

    COMMISSIONER FOR THE PROTECTION OF EQUALITY

 

 Brankica Janković
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