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Non-EU citizens working in Italy are entitled to maternity benefits, rules ECJ

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By Euronews
A pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries with hundreds during a food pantry.
A pregnant woman wearing a face mask and gloves holds her belly as she waits in line for groceries with hundreds during a food pantry.   -   Copyright  Charles Krupa/AP Photo
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Third-country nationals residing in Italy are entitled to the same maternity and childbirth allowances as citizens, the EU Court of Justice ruled on Thursday.

Italian authorities had refused to grant the allowances to several non-EU citizens who hold a single work permit, the court said, although they were residing legally in Italy.

The childbirth allowance is a sum paid to families each month to support them. That allowance ranges from €960 to €1,920 per year for a first child depending on the family's financial situation, according to Italy's National Social Security Institute.

The allowance is paid every month until the child's first year of age or a year following adoption or pre-adoption fostering.

A maternity allowance, meanwhile, is available for families within certain income limits, without social security coverage, or in atypical and discontinuous jobs.

Italian law states that an allowance should be paid monthly to Italian and EU nationals as well as third-country citizens who hold a long-term residence permit in Italy.

Authorities thus refused allowances to non-EU citizens with a single work permit as they were not long-term residents, the EU court said.

The EU court determined that the two allowances fall within the scope of "social security" benefits that third-country nationals are entitled to under EU law.

The EU directive from 2011 states that "third-country workers should enjoy equal treatment as regards social security."