On 1 April 2022, changes in the parental benefit and child leave system, which are intended to make the lives of families with children easier and more flexible, will enter into force.
Thanks to these changes families will be able to plan the care of their children in a way that best suits their needs. More flexibility is provided through shared parental benefit and an opportunity for both parents to be home with their child at the same time. In addition, an option to schedule child leave over a period of 14 years will become available. With these changes, the state is providing parents more opportunities to balance their work and family life by offering more choices in the parental leave and benefits system and promoting the sharing of child care between parents.
The centralisation of all parental benefits and leaves under the Social Insurance Board also makes the process more convenient. If a parent wishes to use any of the parental leaves or benefits offered, they need to submit an application in our self-service portal.
You can read more about all the changes and frequently asked questions on this page.
How is family life improved by the changes coming into force on 1 April 2022?
All parental benefits and child leaves under one institution. The Social Insurance Board will be responsible for the provision of all benefits and leaves for parents. Whereas up to now parents have had to deal with both the Health Insurance Fund and the Social Insurance Board with regard to benefits, from 1 April, the whole system of state benefits for children will now be centralised within the Social Insurance Board (except for any benefits paid by local self-governments). This mostly concerns mothers who up until now were granted pregnancy and maternity leave and maternity benefit by the Health Insurance Fund.
Instead of pregnancy and maternity leave and maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘sünnitushüvitis’), mothers will now be able to use maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘ema vanemahüvitis’) and maternity leave. If the Health Insurance Fund pays maternity benefit for 140 days as a lump sum, then the Social Insurance Board pays maternity benefit to mothers on a monthly basis for a maximum of 100 calendar days. Although, at first sight, it may seem that parental benefit is paid for less time compared to the previous system, this is not the case – the rest of the days will be moved under shared parental benefit which both parents can use. Therefore, no days will be lost and families will have more flexibility in using the parental benefit.
Parents will have the opportunity to take parental leave at the same time for up to 60 days. As of 1 April, parents will have the opportunity to use parental leave at the same time for up to 60 days, during which time both parents will be paid parental benefit. This way, both parents can care for the child at the same time.
Under the previous system, parents could decide which of them would continue to receive parental benefit when the child reached 71 days of age but, from 1 April, it will generally already be possible when the child reaches 31 days of age. Thanks to this, for instance, the father can stay home with the child much earlier.
Parents will also have the opportunity to use the benefit by days, allowing them to be more flexible in balancing their work and family life. Under the new system, parents will also be able to use the parental benefit by calendar days until the child reaches the age of three. This means, for example, that the parent can continue to work part time after having the baby by dividing the parental benefit over a longer period of time or both parents can stay home with the child alternately.
Each parent is entitled to a total of 10 days of individual child leave per child until the child reaches the age of 14. Parents now have more flexibility and independence in using the child leave – as of 1 April, each parent has their own individual days of leave which they can use independently of the other parent. Moreover, parents also have the opportunity to plan their child leave together at the same time.
The days of child leave do not expire each year, rather they are valid until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 14. If prior to 1 April 2022, child leave was calculated on a family basis (i.e. a family could use three or six days of leave per year), then child leave is now calculated on a per-child basis: each parent is entitled to a total of 10 days of child leave per each child under the age of 14, which can be used up until the child reaches the age of 14. Parents have the opportunity to choose when child leave is most needed and, depending on that, divide the days over the period of 14 years – for instance, child leave could be used when the child starts kindergarten or school and needs more support.
Blended families now have more flexibility in planning child leave. In the case of child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child, the biological parent can give up their days of leave in favour of the spouse or registered domestic partner of the other parent.
Foster parents become entitled to receive adoptive parent leave and parental benefit for adoptive parents. The right to receive adoptive parent leave and adoptive parental benefit is extended to foster parents and new adoptive parents of minors. In addition, a new type of parental benefit will be created – parental benefit for adoptive parents. Under the current system, adoptive parents of a child under 10 years of age have been entitled to receive adoptive parent leave and adoption benefit. However, under the new system, adoptive or foster parents will have the right to receive 70-day adoptive parent leave and adoption benefit until the child reaches the age of 18 (except for adoption within the family). Such a system is primarily designed to support the family’s adjustment to change.
NB! From April 1, we will pay the maternity, father's and shared parental benefit on the basis of the daily rate. Until now, the calculation of parental benefit was on a monthly basis, the benefit was paid in exactly the same amount in each month. From 1 April, all types of parental benefits are granted at the daily rate. For the recipient of the benefit, the change means that the amount of parental benefit varies slightly from month to month, depending on the number of days in the month.
- Child care allowance is no longer granted for children born after 31 August 2019. The resources freed up from this will gradually be incorporated into the new parental benefit system in the years 2020–2022 (see, for example, additional parental benefit for fathers and 30-day paternity leave).
- In the case of families where a child was born on 31 August 2019 at the latest, we will continue to grant and
pay child care allowance pursuant to the old system.
- We will also continue paying child care allowance to everyone who was being paid child care allowance as of 31 August 2019 or to whom we had granted the allowance earlier.
We will continue to pay child care allowance until the expiry of the right to allowance or until 31 August 2024 at the latest.
Please note that child care allowance and child allowance are different allowances
Only child care allowance will no longer be granted to children born after 31 August 2019! The payment of child allowance and other family allowances will continue!
Child allowance for the first and second child is 60 euros per child per month and, starting from the third child, the allowance is 100 euros per child per month. Child allowance is paid from the birth of the child until they reach the age of 16 (or until the age of 19 if the child is studying).
The amount of child care allowance was 38.36 euros per month from the time the payment of parental benefit was stopped until the child attained three years of age. If there were other children aged 3–8 in the family, the child care allowance for them was 19.18 euros per child per month. Families with three or more children had the right to child care allowance (19.18 euros) for all children up to eight years of age.
Read more about the child care allowance that is gradually being phased out.