The Wider Image: New mothers suffer nerves, guilt as maternity leave ends
Natalia Bulgakova, 31, a lawyer at a consulting company, her husband Anatoly, an economic analyst, and their seven-month-old son Gleb pose for a portrait in their apartment in Moscow, Russia, February 17, 2019. Natalia has been on maternity leave for nine months and is going back to work in second half of March. "It's pleasant that you'll go back to doing what you were doing before the maternity leave, going back to the previous rhythm of life. But at the end of the day, of course, the child gives you far more positive emotions. Of course, I would like to somehow balance that lifestyle and this one, so as to give equally to the child. At the same time, going out to work still means that I will be gone for most of the day and would be able to spend time with the kid only in the evening and on weekends." Statutory maternity leave in Russia can be as long as three years. It can be claimed by any relative - a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather or child's guardian. Recipients receive their average monthly income for a period of 140 days - 70 days before and 70 after giving birth - but this sum is capped at a maximum total of 301,000 roubles. The maternity leave is paid by the employer, which is then reimbursed by the state. After this initial period, recipients are paid 40% of their average monthly income for up to 1.5 years, but no more than 26,152 roubles a month. Pay is not guaranteed for the period between 1.5 and three years. During the whole period of maternity leave, employer is obliged to guarantee the working position to the mother or the carer. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov SEARCH "MOTHERS GLOBAL" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.