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Child leave and child leave for a parent of a disabled child

On 1 April 2022, significant changes in the child leave system will take place.

Under the previous system, an employed parent was entitled to child leave of three or six working days per family per calendar year, depending on the number or age of children. From 1 April 2022, child leave will be granted to both employed parents separately and on a per-child basis: each parent will be entitled to a total of 10 days of parental leave per each child aged 14 and under (i.e. a total of 20 days for two parents). The more children under the age of 14 in the family, the more child leave days the parent is entitled to.

Parents now have more flexibility and independence in using the child leave – 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. Child leave does not expire each year, it is valid until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 14.

väike poiss näitab keelt

In the case of parents of a disabled child, the previous system will remain in place according to which they are entitled to one working day of child leave for parents of a disabled child each month per disabled child in addition to child leave. 

Parents of a disabled child can use child leave, similarly to other parents, until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 14, in the case of child leave for parents of a disabled child, they can use the leave until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 18. Each parent is entitled to a maximum of 12 days of additional child leave per disabled child in one calendar year. In the year the disabled child turns 18 years of age, child leave is granted regardless of whether the birth date of the child falls before or after the child leave for parents of a disabled child.

Parents, caregivers and guardians who are employed under an employment contract or work in public services are entitled to receive child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child. Other forms of employment are excluded.

Blended families now have more flexibility in planning child leave – in the case of both 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.

As of 1 April 2022, child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child can be applied for in our self-service portal. In the self-service portal, the parent can see the number of days which they can plan according to their needs.

NB! In addition to these two types of leave, employed parents will still have the right to use child leave without pay. A mother and father who are raising a child of up to 14 years of age or a disabled child of up to 18 years of age have the right to child leave without pay of up to ten working days per calendar year. While parents can apply for child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child in our self-service portal and we will reimburse the pay for leave, then, in the case of child leave without pay, the employee must contact their employer.

FAQ about child leave

Applying for leave

When will it be possible to start planning child leave under the new system?

The option to plan child leave in the self-service will be available on 1 April 2022. From then on, employees will be able to start planning their days of leave for 2022.

Leave can be planned up to two months in advance. Leave cannot be planned retrospectively – the earliest the leave can be used is the day on which it is planned. This means that the earliest the employee can take their leave is on the same day they the planned it. For instance, this would apply when a parent wishes to take their leave on 2 May and they submit an application for it in our self-service portal on the same date.

A parent cannot use more than 30 calendar days of child leave in a calendar year, even if they may be entitled to receive more than 30 days of child leave.

How much in advance should the employer be notified of child leave? Should the child leave application be submitted to the employer, the Social Insurance Board or both?

If the child leave is not indicated in the holiday schedule, but the employee wishes to use it consecutively for up to 15 calendar days, the employee needs to give an advance notice of at least 14 calendar days for their wish to use leave not indicated in the holiday schedule. If the parent wishes to use child leave not indicated in the holiday schedule consecutively for more than 15 calendar days, the employee must give an advance notice of at least 30 calendar days. However, the employer and employee may also agree on a shorter term for advance notice of child leave.

Child leave can be planned in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board. Only those who do not have the opportunity to use the planning tool in the self-service portal should notify us separately of their wish to plan leave (this applies, for example, to a spouse of parent, if the biological parent has given up their child leave days in favour of the spouse of the parent).

We automatically notify the employer of the employee’s wish to take child leave. However, we would like to emphasise that the employee should also notify the employer of their wish to use child leave. It is essential for the employee to follow the terms for advance notice when planning their leave in the self-service portal.

How can child leave be taken if the employee has several employers?

Child leave and child leave for the parents of a disabled child are a child-related right that an employed parent is entitled to and the number of days of leave does not depend on how many employers the employee has or what their workload is. Therefore, it does not matter if the employee has 0.1 or 1.0 workload. Nevertheless, an employed parent is entitled to 10 days of child leave per each child under the age of 14 until they reach the age of 14, and 12 days of child leave for parents of a disabled child per calendar year.

If a parent has several employers, they do not have to take the leave from these employers simultaneously – it is possible to use child leave with one employer, but continue to work for another at the same time. This is for the parent to decide, depending on the nature of their work. It should, however, be taken into account that if child leave is used with one employer only, the corresponding day of leave is still considered to be used.

If the employee has two employers and the organisation of work allows them to work for both employers on the same day, the employee must also have the opportunity to use child leave from both employers on the same day. Such a system ensures that the employee can spend the day with their family, ensuring compliance with the purpose of child leave.

Puhkuse kasutamine

How much child leave can be used in one calendar day?

It is important to note that it is not possible to use 10 working days of child leave per child each year, but these days are available to use until the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches the age of 14.

Child leave is paid for each child separately, however, one parent cannot take more than 30 days of child leave per year for all children combined. For example, if a parent has five children, they can use a maximum of 30 calendar days of child leave per calendar year, not 50 days.

How much child leave can a single parent take?

Single parents (i.e. if one of the parents is deceased or there is no record of a father in the population register) have the right to use up to 20 working days of child leave until the child reaches the age of 14.

If a parent is on child leave or child leave for parents of a disabled child, will the period of annual holiday be reduced?

The use of child leave or child leave for parents of a disabled child does not affect the calculation of the employee’s annual holiday under the current system or under the new system entering into force on 1 April 2022.

If a parent is on child leave or child leave for parents of a disabled child, their period of annual holiday is not reduced. According to the Employment Contracts Act, child leave is a type of additional holiday. Neither us nor the employer will enter child leave or child leave for parents of a disabled child in the employment register, just as these holidays are also not entered in the register today.

Maternity leave, paternity leave, adoptive parent leave, child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child do not reduce the annual holiday of an employee. The only child-related leave that does count towards the calculation of annual holiday is parental leave.

Can parents take child leave at the same time?

Parents can plan their child leave both together at the same time or individually at different times. Each parent is entitled to individual child leave days and how or when they plan to use these days does not depend on when the other parent uses or plans to use theirs.

Can child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child also be used when the child is 14 years old?

Yes, child leave can also be used in the calendar year in which the child turns 14. For example, if the child turns 14 on 1 August 2022, the parent has the opportunity to use child leave in the same year both before and after the child’s 14th birthday until 31 December of the same year. Therefore, the parent has the right to use child leave until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 14, regardless of whether the child’s 14th birthday is on 1 January or 31 December.

The same principle is also applied to child leave for a disabled child. In the case of child leave for a parent of a disabled child, the parent is entitled to a total of 12 days of child leave in the year in which the child reaches the age of 18.

Is it true that I am entitled to 10 working days of child leave per child until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 14?

Yes, a parent has the right to use child leave until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 14, regardless of whether the child’s 14th birthday is on 1 January or 31 December.

In such cases is the parent not entitled to child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child?

A parent does not have the right to child leave or child leave for parents of a disabled child if:

  • the parent has been deprived of the right of custody or did not wish to have the right of custody of child;
  • the parent has been partially deprived of the parental right of custody and the parent does not fulfil the obligation of caring for and raising the child;
  • the parent is paid parental benefit pursuant to Family Benefits Act.

Is it possible to use child leave and parental benefit simultaneously?

According to the new system, a person who is paid parental benefit under the Family Benefits Act is not entitled to receive child leave benefit. This means that child leave can only be planned to be used on days on which parental benefit is not planned to be used. However, it should be noted that a parent who is receiving parental benefit can plan child leave only when they are not on parental leave.

At the same time, a situation where one parent is on parental leave while the other wants to plan child leave is not excluded – for example, the mother is on parental leave and receives parental benefit, but the father is working and wishes to plan child leave. In this case, the law does not prevent the father from scheduling child leave before the end of parental leave taken by the mother.

Puhkusehüvitiste suurus ja maksmine

What is the amount of child leave benefit and how will it be calculated from 1 April 2022?

Whereas previously child leave benefit was linked to minimum wage, it will now be linked to parental benefit. Under the new regulation, the amount of child leave benefit is 50% of the 12-month average income subject to social tax calculated from three calendar months preceding the date of taking child leave (i.e., three months will be counted back from taking the leave and the preceding 12 months will be taken into account for the calculation of the benefit). The income received during this period is added together, on the basis of which the daily rate is calculated. In the case of child leave, the income received is divided by 30 and, in the case of child leave for parents of a disabled child, the sum is divided by the average number of working days (in 2022, this number is 21.25). As for child leave, 50% of the resulting sum will make up the amount of child leave; however, 100% of the sum will be considered as the basis for amount of child leave for parents of a disabled child.

For example, if a parent wants to use child leave in June 2022, their child leave benefit will be calculated on the basis of their income subject to social tax for the period from 1 March 2021 to 28 February 2022. Should the parent have other employers or other personal income subject to social tax, then these will also be taken into account when calculating the benefit. Furthermore, if the parent was on leave, for example, for temporary incapacity for work during this period, then this period will be deducted from the calculation period, so that the benefit would not be reduced by this period.

In order to ensure that the child leave benefit is not reduced for employees whose income subject to social tax was below the minimum wage set by the Government of the Republic in the period for which the parental benefit is calculated, an additional limitation is set regarding the benefit. In particular, the benefit cannot be less than the amount of the parental benefit per calendar day calculated on the basis of the minimum wage, which is 30.78 euros in 2022.

The maximum rate of child leave pay is linked to the maximum rate of parental benefit. In 2022, the maximum daily rate of child leave is 67.38 euros (4043.07 / 30 calendar days) / 50) and the maximum daily rate of child leave for parents of a disabled child is 190.26 euros (4043.07 / 21.25 working days).

In the calculation of holiday pay, all income subject to social tax for the respective period is taken into account, not only the income received from the employer from whom the employee is planning to take the leave. Therefore, if the employee had a different employer or several employers during the reference period, all income subject to social tax paid by them is taken into account in the calculation of holiday pay.

Child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child are subject to income tax (20%) and exemption from income tax cannot be used.

When and how is holiday pay paid?

If, up until now, payments for child leave and child leave for the parents of a disabled child were often made by the employer together with remuneration, then, from 1 April, holiday pay will be paid by the Social Insurance Board.

We pay the previous month’s holiday pay on the 8th day of the following month into the account specified by the parent. If the 8th day of the month falls on a weekend or public holiday, holiday pay will be paid on the preceding working day. For example, if the 8th day of the month is a Sunday, the payment will be made on the 6th day of the month, i.e. on Friday.

If the child leave period spans over two months, holiday pay will also be paid in two months, not as a lump sum for the entire leave. For example, if a parent takes child leave from 25 July to 3 August 2022, holiday pay for July (25–31 July 2022) will be paid on 8 August and for August (1–3 August 2022) on 8 September.

This means employees will receive child leave pay retrospectively, i.e. in the month following the month in which leave was used.

Üleminekuperiood 2022. aastal

Does the number of child leave days provided on 1 April depend on the child’s age?

No, the number of child leave days provided to the parent on 1 April 2022 does not depend on the child’s age. The parent is entitled to 10 days of child leave for both a 1-year-old child and 14-year-old child. If the child is currently one year old, the parent has the right to use child leave until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 14, and if the child is currently 14 years old, the parent has the right to use child leave until the end of 2022.

2022 is a transitional year, during the first three months of which the current child leave system will be in force, but from April the new system will come into force. How can parents use child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child from the beginning of the calendar year?

From the beginning of the calendar year until 31 March 2022, parents can use child leave and child leave for parents of a disabled child through their employer in the same way as before. Parents are able to use their three or six child leave days while the employer pays for the leave (we reimburse the employer). Even if the parents use their three or six child leave days in the beginning of 2022, it does not reduce or change the number of child leave days provided to them under the new system entering into force on 1 April.

From 1 April 2022, all parents are entitled to 10 working days of child leave until the child reaches the age of 14. If a child turns 14 in 2022, each parent is entitled to use their 10 days of child leave until the end of 2022, regardless of whether the child’s birthday is on 1 January 2022 or 31 December 2022, child leave can still be taken until the end of the current year.

Please note that unused days of child leave for parents of a disabled child are carried over from 1 April and they can be used throughout 2022. This means that if parents have unused days of child leave for the parents of a disabled child for January, February and March of 2022, these days will be carried over to the period of the new law and parents will be able to use these until the end of 2022.

How will child leave and benefit for parents of a disabled child be calculated in 2022?

As before, a mother or father of a disabled child is entitled to receive one working day of child leave for parents of a disabled child per month until the child attains 18 years of age (including the year in which the child turns 18).

Before 1 April 2022, three working days of leave can be used, and from the entry into force of the April amendments, the remaining nine working days can be used. If the parent has not used any child leave days from January to March, they will still be entitled to use 12 working days of leave after 1 April. Therefore, the number of planned leave days will remain the same and nothing will change in this respect. The days of leave will continue to be shared between parents, which means that it is up to them to decide who will take the leave and when.

When planning and calculating the child leave benefit for a parent of a disabled child in 2022, we will look at when these leave days have been used. If the employee uses them until 31 March 2022, they will still do so through the employer, and the leave benefit will also be calculated according to the previous system (on the basis of the average wage of the last six months). If the employee uses child leave for parents of a disabled child after 1 April, the new wording will automatically be used for calculating the benefit, even if the parent uses the unused days from January, February and March which will be carried over to the new system. Therefore, from April onwards, a recalculation will be made in the calculation of the leave benefit, and from then until the end of the calendar year, the parent will receive the benefit under the new system.

Is it possible to use all 12 days of child leave for parents of a disabled child at once in December 2022? How will it be checked whether the parent has used the leave in the beginning of the year?

Unused days of child leave for the parents of a disabled child from the beginning of 2022 will be carried over to the new system entering into force on 1 April, thus the child leave days under the current law do not expire. If parents have unused days of child leave for parents of a disabled child for January, February and March of 2022, these days will be carried over to the period of the new law. To this end, parents are entitled to use all 12 working days of child leave for parents of a disabled child provided for the whole calendar year at once in December 2022.

As the child leave for parents of a disabled child is shared between the parents, the parents also have the right to use the 12 calendar days together, for instance, if both parents take six days of child leave for parents of a disabled child from work at the same time.