Georgia defines harmful and hazardous work for pregnant and post-partum women and nursing mothers

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Georgia’s legislation prohibits an employer from assigning any work to pregnant women, women in the post-partum period and nursing mothers that is hazardous or poses a significant risk to the health of the mother or a child.

the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia
The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia; Photo: The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia

The Law on Occupational Safety was adopted by the Government in 2018, but the full and effective application of the above-mentioned provision required the definition of “harmful and hazardous work”.

In 2019, UN Women began collaborating to define harmful and hazardous work with the responsible body - the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia. The process involved Yuka Ujita, a specialist on occupational safety at the ILO Geneva Office; and two UN Women consultants specialized in occupational diseases, Dr. Nana Khatiashvili and hygienist Manana Zhuruli.

According to the 2018 Labour Force Survey and the 2014 census, 233,840 women of reproductive age are wage employees in Georgia. On 14 February 2020, the Decree of the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Ekaterine Tikaradze, explicitly stated employers’ obligation to avoid assigning pregnant women, women in the post-partum period and nursing mothers harmful and hazardous work related to intensive labour, chemical and biological agents, physical factors and factors causing psychosocial and professional stress.

The regulations existing in Georgia until now were tied to a list of specific occupations; however, profession-related hazards or a harmful working environment can emerge in any sector or occupation. According to an EU directive and ILO guidelines, a prerequisite for minimizing such occupational threats rests on defining the harmful and hazardous work instead of the occupations.

UN Women will continue cooperating with the Labour Inspectorate to retrain labour inspectors in monitoring the compliance with the ministerial decree. This cooperation is carried out within the framework of the project “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the South Caucasus” implemented with the financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Austrian Development Agency.