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European Social Charter

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Article 8 - The right of employed women to protection of maternity

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right of employed women to the protection of maternity, the Parties undertake:

1.to provide either by paid leave, by adequate social security benefits or by benefits from public funds for employed women to take leave before and after childbirth up to a total of at least fourteen weeks;
2.to consider it as unlawful for an employer to give a woman notice of dismissal during the period from the time she notifies her employer that she is pregnant until the end of her maternity leave, or to give her notice of dismissal at such a time that the notice would expire during such a period;
3.to provide that mothers who are nursing their infants shall be entitled to sufficient time off for this purpose;
4.to regulate the employment in night work of pregnant women, women who have recently given birth and women nursing their infants;
5.to prohibit the employment of pregnant women, women who have recently given birth or who are nursing their infants in underground mining and all other work which is unsuitable by reason of its dangerous, unhealthy or arduous nature and to take appropriate measures to protect the employment rights of these women.

Article 9 - The right to vocational guidance

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to vocational guidance, the Parties undertake to provide or promote, as necessary, a service which will assist all persons, including the handicapped, to solve problems related to occupational choice and progress, with due regard to the individual's characteristics and their relation to occupational opportunity: this assistance should be available free of charge, both to young persons, including schoolchildren, and to adults.

Article 10 - The right to vocational training

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to vocational training, the Parties undertake:

1.to provide or promote, as necessary, the technical and vocational training of all persons, including the handicapped, in consultation with employers' and workers' organisations, and to grant facilities for access to higher technical and university education, based solely on individual aptitude;
2.to provide or promote a system of apprenticeship and other systematic arrangements for training young boys and girls in their various employments;
3.to provide or promote, as necessary:
- a. adequate and readily available training facilities for adult workers;
- b. special facilities for the retraining of adult workers needed as a result of technological development or new trends in employment;
4.to provide or promote, as necessary, special measures for the retraining and reintegration of the long-term unemployed;
5.to encourage the full utilisation of the facilities provided by appropriate measures such as:
- a. reducing or abolishing any fees or charges;
- b. granting financial assistance in appropriate cases;
- c. including in the normal working hours time spent on supplementary training taken by the worker, at the request of his employer, during employment;
- d. ensuring, through adequate supervision, in consultation with the employers' and workers' organisations, the efficiency of apprenticeship and other training arrangements for young workers, and the adequate protection of young workers generally.

Article 11 - The right to protection of health

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to protection of health, the Parties undertake, either directly or in co-operation with public or private organisations, to take appropriate measures designed inter alia:

1.to remove as far as possible the causes of ill-health;
2.to provide advisory and educational facilities for the promotion of health and the encouragement of individual responsibility in matters of health;
3.to prevent as far as possible epidemic, endemic and other diseases, as well as accidents.

Article 12 - The right to social security

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to social security, the Parties undertake:

1.to establish or maintain a system of social security;
2.to maintain the social security system at a satisfactory level at least equal to that necessary for the ratification of the European Code of Social Security;
3.to endeavour to raise progressively the system of social security to a higher level;
4.to take steps, by the conclusion of appropriate bilateral and multilateral agreements or by other means, and subject to the conditions laid down in such agreements, in order to ensure:
- a. equal treatment with their own nationals of the nationals of other Parties in respect of social security rights, including the retention of benefits arising out of social security legislation, whatever movements the persons protected may undertake between the territories of the Parties;
- b. the granting, maintenance and resumption of social security rights by such means as the accumulation of insurance or employment periods completed under the legislation of each of the Parties.

Article 13 - The right to social and medical assistance

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to social and medical assistance, the Parties undertake:

1.to ensure that any person who is without adequate resources and who is unable to secure such resources either by his own efforts or from other sources, in particular by benefits under a social security scheme, be granted adequate assistance, and, in case of sickness, the care necessitated by his condition;
2.to ensure that persons receiving such assistance shall not, for that reason, suffer from a diminution of their political or social rights;
3.to provide that everyone may receive by appropriate public or private services such advice and personal help as may be required to prevent, to remove, or to alleviate personal or family want;
4.to apply the provisions referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of this article on an equal footing with their nationals to nationals of other Parties lawfully within their territories, in accordance with their obligations under the European Convention on Social and Medical Assistance, signed at Paris on 11 December 1953.

Article 14 - The right to benefit from social welfare services

With a view to ensuring the effective exercise of the right to benefit from social welfare services, the Parties undertake:

1.to promote or provide services which, by using methods of social work, would contribute to the welfare and development of both individuals and groups in the community, and to their adjustment to the social environment;
2.to encourage the participation of individuals and voluntary or other organisations in the establishment and maintenance of such services.

Article 15 - The right of persons with disabilities to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community

With a view to ensuring to persons with disabilities, irrespective of age and the nature and origin of their disabilities, the effective exercise of the right to independence, social integration and participation in the life of the community, the Parties undertake, in particular:

1.to take the necessary measures to provide persons with disabilities with guidance, education and vocational training in the framework of general schemes wherever possible or, where this is not possible, through specialised bodies, public or private;
2.to promote their access to employment through all measures tending to encourage employers to hire and keep in employment persons with disabilities in the ordinary working environment and to adjust the working conditions to the needs of the disabled or, where this is not possible by reason of the disability, by arranging for or creating sheltered employment according to the level of disability. In certain cases, such measures may require recourse to specialised placement and support services;
3.to promote their full social integration and participation in the life of the community in particular through measures, including technical aids, aiming to overcome barriers to communication and mobility and enabling access to transport, housing, cultural activities and leisure.

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