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Maternity benefit and maternity leave

Maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘ema vanemahüvitis’) is a new type of parental benefit that will replace the current maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘sünnitushüvitis’) from 1 April 2022.

All expectant mothers are entitled to maternity benefit. If, up until now, unemployed mothers were not entitled to maternity benefit, then from 1 April, they will also be entitled to receive the new maternity benefit.

An employed mother has the right to maternity benefit before the birth of the child. In the case of employed mothers, the maternity benefit always includes maternity leave.

Unemployed mothers become entitled to maternity benefit from the birth of the child.

Maternity benefit is and individual right of the mother, meaning that only the mother is entitled to it and the other parent cannot use it.

NB! In this context, an employed mother is a mother who was in an employment relationship prior to the estimated date of birth and who is entitled to receive maternity benefit and maternity leave under the Health Insurance Act. An unemployed mother is a mother who was not in an employment relationship prior to the estimated date of birth and who is entitled to maternity benefit from the birth of the child.

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.

The parents will be able to use their parental benefits on a daily basis and plan on which days of the month they want to use the benefit.

FAQ about maternity benefit  

How can I receive maternity benefit?

How can I receive maternity benefit?

Until now, employed mothers notified their gynaecologist or midwife when they wanted to take pregnancy and maternity leave from work and the benefit was paid by the Health Insurance Fund.

From 1 April 2022, the Social Insurance Board will start to send maternity benefit and the accompanying maternity leave offers to mothers.

In the case of employed mothers, we receive information about the estimated date of birth of children born on or after 10 June 2022 from health service providers (doctor or midwife). We determine whether the mother is already entitled to maternity leave and maternity benefit before the child’s estimated date of birth or from the child’s birth, depending on whether the mother is employed or not.

We send a maternity benefit offer to an employed mother 80 days prior to the child’s estimated date of birth.

In the case of unemployed mothers with children born on or after 1 April, we send them the maternity benefit offer together with the family benefits offer. We are able to send the offer once the child is registered in the population register.

NB! The Social Insurance Board also sends a notification about the offer in the self-service portal to the e-mail address of the mother. Please make sure that a valid e-mail address of yours is available in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board.

What should I do when I receive a maternity benefit offer?

An employed mother receives a maternity benefit offer from us via e-mail 80 days prior to the estimated date of birth of the child.

An unemployed mother receives the maternity benefit offer together with other types of family benefits the mother is entitled to after the child’s birth and the registration of the birth in the population register.

An employed mother receives the second family benefits offer after the child’s birth, which includes all other types of family benefits the mother is entitled to.

The family benefits offer includes exactly the types of family benefits the parents are entitled to, which may be as follows:

  • maternity benefit 
  • paternity benefit
  • shared parental benefit
  • childbirth allowance
  • child allowance
  • single parent's child allowance
  • allowance for a family with many children
  • supplementary contributions to funded pension
  • and other family benefits

A mother can either approve or waive the maternity benefit. An employed mother can also plan the starting date of the maternity benefit and the accompanying maternity leave.

Amount and payment of maternity benefit 

 

How is maternity benefit calculated?

In the case of an employed mother, maternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the child’s estimated date of birth.

In the case of an unemployed mother, maternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the child’s actual date of birth. Paternity benefit and shared parental benefit are calculated in the same way.

The basis for the calculation of the maternity benefit is the justification period, which is the nine months preceding the child’s estimated date of birth or the birth of the child and, from that period, the income subject to social tax of the preceding 12 calendar months (i.e. the reference period), which is used to calculate the monthly rate of benefit. The monthly rate is divided by 30 to get the daily rate of maternity benefit.

The amount of maternity benefit depends on the number of calendar days, i.e. the daily rate. Therefore, the amount of maternity benefit received each month fluctuates, depending on how many days there are in the given month.

Example 1: an employed mother whose child’s estimated date of birth is 1 July 2022.

The reference period of maternity benefit (the period in which the income subject to social tax is used as the basis for calculating the amount of maternity benefit) is from October 2020 to September 2021, i.e. 12 calendar months. The period from October 2021 to June 2022, i.e. nine months, is excluded from the calculation.

Example 2: an unemployed mother whose child’s date of birth is 1 July 2022.

The reference period of maternity benefit (the period in which the income subject to social tax is used as the basis for calculating the amount of maternity benefit) is from October 2020 to September 2021, i.e. 12 calendar months. The period from October 2021 to June 2022, i.e. nine months, is excluded from the calculation.

If the mother did not receive income subject to social tax during the 12-month reference period, she will receive maternity benefit at the rate of parental benefit, which is 584 euros per month in 2022, with a daily rate of 19.47 euros (654 euros per month in 2023, with a daily rate of 21,80 euros).

If the mother’s income subject to social tax during the 12-month reference period was equal to or lower than minimum wage, she will receive maternity benefit in the amount of minimum wage, which is 654 euros per month in 2022, with a daily rate of 21.8 euros.

NB! The maternity benefit has no maximum rate, thus the maternity benefit is granted and paid on the basis of the actual amount of the mother’s income subject to social tax in the reference period.

NB! In the following cases, it is possible for the mother’s maternity benefit and the shared parental benefit to be of different amounts:

  • first, an employed mother’s maternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the estimated date of birth of the child, while the shared parental benefit is calculated on the basis of the actual date of birth of the child;
  • second, the maternity benefit has no maximum rate, whereas the shared parental benefit does have a maximum rate or an upper limit above which the benefit is not paid to the parent.

NB! Maternity benefit is granted on a gross basis, as the parental benefit is subject to income tax..

    When and how is maternity benefit granted?

    After the mother has confirmed the maternity benefit offer, we grant the mother maternity benefit by a decision. The mother can view the decision in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board

    When is maternity benefit paid?

    Previously, the Health Insurance Fund paid maternity benefit for 140 days in advance, however, now the Social Insurance Board pays maternity benefit on a monthly basis, similarly to parental benefit. This means that maternity benefit for the previous month is paid on the 8th day of the following month.

    If the 8th day of the month falls on a weekend or public holiday, the parental benefit will be paid on the preceding working day. For example, if the 8th day of the month is a Sunday, the benefit will be paid on the 6th day of the month, i.e. on Friday.

    An example: Let’s assume that the mother is entitled to the maternity benefit for an uninterrupted period of 100 calendar days from 10 June 2022 through 17 September 2022. The maternity benefit will be disbursed to the mother in four monthly instalments payable the following month:

    • For 10 June through 30 June, the benefit is paid on 8 July.
    • For 1 July through 31 July, the benefit is paid on 8 August.
    • For 1 August through 31 August, the benefit is paid on 8 September.
    • For 1 September through 17 September, the benefit is paid on 7 October as the 8th day of the month coincides with the weekend. In other words, the benefit is paid on the last business day preceding the 8th day of the month.

      Is the maternity benefit subject to income tax?

      Yes, maternity benefit is subject to income tax, however, you are entitled to an exemption from income tax.

      You can notify the Social Insurance Board of your wish to use the exemption from income tax when you approve the maternity benefit offer or at a later date upon request in the self-service portal.

      Period of maternity benefit 

      How many calendar days is the maternity benefit paid for?

      An employed mother is entitled to up to 100 consecutive calendar days of maternity leave, taking into account the child’s estimated date of birth. An employed mother can use maternity benefit up to 70 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth and 30 calendar days after the child’s estimated date of birth.

      A mother who is not in an employment relationship before the child’s estimated date of birth, receives maternity benefit for 30 consecutive calendar days from the child’s date of birth.

      NB! An employed mother has the opportunity to choose when they want to start using the maternity benefit and take child leave from work.

      Employed mothers have three different ways to use maternity benefit and maternity leave.

      1. The mother takes maternity leave 70 days before the child’s estimated date of birth.

      If the mother takes maternity leave 70 days before the estimated date of birth, the duration of her maternity leave is 100 days.

      1. The mother takes maternity leave 31–69 days before the child’s estimated date of birth.

      If the mother takes her maternity leave at least 31 days before the estimated date of birth, the duration of her maternity leave is at least 61 days.

      In this case, up to 39 calendar days of maternity leave will remain unused by the mother by her own decision. The mother’s unused days of maternity benefit will thus be carried over to the period of shared parental benefit, which can be used by both parents flexibly if they so wish. This means that the period of shared parental benefit is extended by the mother’s unused days of maternity benefit.

      How many days of parental benefits will the family receive in this case?

      Let’s look at another example, in which the mother wishes to take maternity leave 31 days before the child’s estimated date of birth. The family will be entitled to the following parental benefits:

      • The mother will be entitled to maternity benefit and thus also 61 days of maternity leave (31 days before the child’s estimated date of birth + 30 days after the child’s estimated date of birth).
      • Both the mother and father will be entitled to shared parental benefit. In this case, it is up to the parents to decide which of them will start receiving the shared parental benefit. However, as the mother started to use maternity benefit later than the permitted 70 days before the child’s estimated date of birth, and thus also took maternity leave later, the shared parental benefit will be extended by the number of unused maternity benefit days the mother was entitled to (100 - 61 = 39 calendar days). If otherwise the duration of the shared parental benefit would have been 475 calendar days, then it is now 514 days (475 + 39 calendar days).
      • The father is entitled to paternity benefit of 30 calendar days.

      In total, the family has 605 calendar days of parental benefit (61 + 514 + 30 calendar days).

       

      1. The mother takes maternity leave 30 or less days before the child’s estimated date of birth.

      If the maternity leave starts 30 calendar days or less prior to the expected date of birth of the child (i.e., 30 to 0 calendar days prior to the expected date of birth), the duration of the leave will be at least 30 days. In this case, the unused days of maternity leave will not be added to the duration of the shared parental benefit. In other words, the period of shared parental benefit will not be extended by the corresponding number of days. In this event, the days not used by the mother following the commencement of her entitlement to maternity leave (defined as 70 calendar days before childbirth), will be forfeit by the family and cannot be used towards the paternal benefit.

      Another example: if an employed mother takes maternity leave and starts receiving maternity benefit 29 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth, the family will be entitled to the following parental benefits:

      • The mother will be entitled to maternity benefit and thus also 59 days of maternity leave (29 days before the child’s estimated date of birth + 30 days after the child’s estimated date of birth).
      • The parents are also entitled to shared parental benefit of 475 calendar days.
      • The father is entitled to paternity benefit of 30 calendar days.

      In total, the family has 564 calendar days of parental benefit (59 + 475 + 30 calendar days).

      In the light of the period of benefit receipt, it is recommended for an employed mother to take maternity leave at least 31 days prior to the child’s estimated date of birth and receive parental benefit, as the total number of parental benefit days received by the family will not be reduced in this case.

      When does maternity benefit end?

      The receipt of maternity benefit generally ends when the child attains 30 days of age or when the maximum number of maternity benefit days, i.e. 100 consecutive calendar days, are used.

      For example, the child is born at 42 weeks. As the maternity benefit is granted according to the child’s estimated date of birth, the child is actually two weeks younger than 30 days old when the maternity benefit ends. However, the maternity benefit cannot be granted for more than 100 days.

      In the case of premature children, the maternity benefit ends when the child reaches 100 days of age.

      Maternity leave

      How are maternity benefit and maternity leave linked? Am I allowed to work during maternity leave?

      Employed mothers who are entitled to maternity benefit have the right to take maternity leave. The mother is not allowed to work while on maternity leave.

      How to notify the employer of maternity leave?

      We recommend that employed mothers discuss their wish to take maternity leave with their employer at least 30 calendar days before the start of maternity leave. The expectant mother will receive guidance from their employer on how to record the maternity leave in the holiday schedule. The exact arrangement of this is up to the employer.

      When an employed mother receives a maternity benefit offer 80 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth, the mother also submits the e-mail address(es) of her employer(s) when planning the benefit. This is important, so that we can inform the employer of the mother’s wish to start to use the maternity leave from the date selected. The employer has the right to refuse to grant the leave to the employee within five working days.

      If the employer does not refuse to grant leave, we enter the maternity leave in the employment register and the mother can take their leave on the desired date. Maternity leave is entered in the employment register one day before the start of leave but no earlier than after a period of five working days from the date of planning the maternity leave in our self-service portal.

      Can maternity leave be suspended for a period of time?

      No, maternity leave cannot be suspended – the mother can only use it consecutively.

      If a mother has decided to take maternity leave from work from the desired date and start receiving maternity benefit, we will grant her maternity benefit for the desired period, a maximum of 100 consecutive calendar days. In the employment register, we record that the employment relationship of the mother has been suspended. The type of holiday entered in the employment register is ‘Maternity leave’.

      Does the time spent on maternity leave count towards the annual holiday calculation? Will the period of annual holiday be reduced due to maternity leave?

      Although employment is considered to be suspended during maternity and paternity leave, according to subsection 68 (2) of the Employment Contracts Act, the corresponding period is still included in the time serving as the basis for the right to grant annual holiday.

      Therefore, the number of annual holiday days is not reduced due to maternity leave. Time spent on maternity leave counts towards the annual holiday calculation. The mother is entitled to annual holiday according to the number of days of maternity leave used. The employer receives the relevant information from us when the mother plans her maternity benefit and maternity leave in our self-service portal and when we enter the maternity leave in the employment register.

      Example: the duration of employee’s annual holiday is 28 days in a calendar year. The employee wishes to take maternity leave for 100 calendar days. The mother is entitled to eight days of annual holiday for the time spent on maternity leave (28 / 365 = 0.077 * 100).

      Therefore, as in the pre-April system, the number of annual holiday days is not reduced by the number of days spent on maternity leave.

      Please provide an example of the various alternatives for maternity leave, including specific dates:

      Let’s say that the child is expected to be born on 10 July 2022. An employed mother now has the following three options for her maternity leave:

      1. The mother starts her maternity leave 70 days before the expected date of birth of her child.

      In this instance, the maternity leave begins on 1 May 2022.

      If the maternity leave starts 70 days prior to the expected date of birth of the child, the duration of the leave will be 100 days whereof 70 days can be used before and 30 days after the expected date of birth.

      In our example, the mother would enjoy her maternity leave and be entitled to the parental benefit from 1 May through 8 August 2022. As the duration of the shared parental benefit for a family with an employed mother is 475 days, the family in our example would receive the shared benefit from 9 August 2022 through 26 December 2023 (uninterrupted period). The mother would be entitled to benefits for a total of 575 days (100 + 475).

      1. The mother starts her maternity leave 31-69 days before the expected date of birth of her child.

      If the maternity leave starts 31 days prior to the expected date of birth of the child (for the purposes of our example, on 9 June 2022), the duration of the leave will be at least 61 days whereof 31 days can be used before and 30 days after the expected date of birth. In this case, the mother opts not to use 39 calendar days of her maternity leave. These unused days will be added to the shared parental benefit that can be used flexibly by both parents as requested. This means that the period of shared parental benefit will be extended on account of the unused portion of maternity leave.

      In our example, the mother would enjoy her maternity leave and be entitled to the parental benefit from 9 June through 8 August 2022.

      In a standard scenario, the duration of the shared parental benefit for a family with an employed mother would be 475 days, but in this case, it amounts to 514 days (475 + 39). In this example, the family would receive the shared parental benefit from 9 August 2022 through 4 January 2024 (uninterrupted period). The mother would be entitled to benefits for a total of 575 days (514 + 61).

      1. The mother starts her maternity leave 30 days or less before the expected date of birth of her child.

      If the maternity leave starts 30 calendar days (for the purposes of our example, on 10 June) or less prior to the expected date of birth of the child (i.e., 30 to 0 calendar days prior to the expected date of birth), the duration of the leave will be at least 30 days. In this case, the unused days of maternity leave will not be added to the duration of the shared parental benefit. In other words, the period of shared parental benefit will not be extended by the corresponding number of days. Hence, the duration of the shared parental benefit for a family with an employed mother is 475 days. In this event, the days not used by the mother following the commencement of her entitlement to maternity leave (defined as 70 calendar days before childbirth), will be forfeit by the family and cannot be used towards the paternal benefit.

      In our example, the mother would use her maternity leave for 30 days from 10 June through 9 July 2022, and the shared parental benefit for 475 days from 10 July 2022 through 27 October 2023. The mother would be entitled to benefits for a total of 535 days (475 + 60). The mother forfeits a portion of her maternity benefit equivalent to a period of 40 days.

      2022 transitional period

      When will the current maternity benefit system apply to me and when will the new maternity leave system apply to me?

      An employed mother is entitled to receive benefits up to 70 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth, both today and in the future.

      If the child’s estimated date of birth is on or before 9 June 2022, the current pregnancy and maternity leave regulation is applied to the mother and the mother receives 140 days of maternity benefit from the Health Insurance Fund on the basis of the income subject to social tax in the previous calendar year (read more on the website of the Health Insurance Fund).

      If the child’s estimated date of birth is on or after 10 June 2022, the new regulation is applied and the mother can apply for maternity benefit and the accompanying maternity leave for up to 100 calendar days.

      If the mother is not in a valid employment relationship, the new maternity leave system will apply already when the child is born on or after 1 April 2022.

      NB! If the child’s estimated date of birth is between 1 April and 9 June 2022, an employed mother must still do the following:

      • inform the gynaecologist or midwife of when they wish to take maternity leave, so that the doctor will know to forward this information to the Health Insurance Fund under the current system;
      • the Health Insurance Fund pays the mother maternity benefit for up to 140 calendar days.

      Read more about the maternity benefit on the website of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

      Maternity benefit and health insurance 

      Does the mother have health insurance while receiving maternity benefit?

      Health insurance is guaranteed to all mothers. The provision of health insurance does not depend on whether or not the mother was employed before the child’s birth.

      State health insurance is always provided to mothers during pregnancy and three months after the child’s estimated date of birth as determined by a doctor.

      Read more about state health insurance cover for pregnant women on the website of the Health Insurance Fund.

      Children with a small age gap and child care leave

      How is maternity benefit calculated when several children are born in close succession?

      If several children are born in close succession and the age gap between children is less than three years, the mother is entitled to maternity benefit 70 days before the estimated date of birth. In the calculation of the benefit, we look at the parental benefit paid for the previous child – if it exceeds the new planned parental benefit, the mother will receive parental benefit in the same amount as before.

      It is important to note that if the mother is granted maternity benefit in the amount granted for the previous child because it is more beneficial to the mother, the maximum rate of maternity benefit, above which the benefit is not paid, is applied to the maternity benefit. In 2022, the maximum rate is 4043.07 euros per month (4291,29 euros per month in 2023).

      NB! If the mother gives birth during the period of application of the old scheme of parental benefits and the next child is born under the new scheme, she can still terminate her parental leave by filing a request with her employer. Then, she can start her maternity leave and receive the maternity benefit.

      What to do when I am on child care leave and a new baby is on the way?

      If you are a working mother and are expecting a child, we will send you a maternity benefit offer 80 days before the expected date of birth of the child. The maternity benefit offer gives you the right to choose when you wish to take maternity leave and start receiving the maternity benefit.

      You will also get the maternity benefit offer if you are on child care leave with the older child. In this case, you have two options:

      1. to confirm the maternity benefit offer, take maternity leave and end the child care leave a day before taking maternity leave. NB! In this case, please inform us of the end date of the child care leave so that we know when to send you the maternity benefit offer.
      2. to not accept the maternity benefit offer (do not make any choices on the received offer), not terminate the child care leave, and take parental leave after the end of child care leave. With this option, you do not use the maternity leave and will receive the maternity benefit from the birth of the new child as a non-working mother (30 calendar days from the birth of the child). In this case, you will receive the maternity benefit offer, together with other parental benefits, after the birth of the child, which you will confirm once the child’s name has been registered in the population register.

      We will describe both options in more detail below.

      1. I am on child care leave and I want to end my child care leave early to take maternity leave

      Your first, or earliest, chance to take maternity leave and start receiving the maternity benefit is 70 days before the expected date of birth of the child. In this case, you can use 100 consecutive calendar days of maternity leave and maternity benefit, 70 days of which before and 30 days of which after the expected date of birth of the child.

      In order to be able to take maternity leave, you first need to terminate your current child care leave (new name: parental leave). You can terminate the child care leave one day before the beginning of maternity leave.

      You can terminate the child care leave by doing the following:

      1. Submit an application to terminate the child care leave to your employer.

      To terminate child care leave, you must submit an application to terminate the child care leave to your employer.

      Check with your employer to see which format they want the application to have. Different employers may have different expectations, for example, a paper application or an electronic application. On the basis of your application to terminate child care leave, your employer can terminate your child care leave in the employment register.

      1. When you apply, let your employer know immediately when you will be taking maternity leave.

      If you tell your employer that you want to terminate your child care leave, let them know immediately that you want to take maternity leave in relation to the birth of a new child from the day following the date of termination of child care leave.

      This is important because your employer will calculate annual leave days for your time spent on maternity leave, which you will be entitled to use when you return to work in the future.

      NB! We will make the entry for maternity leave in the employment register. Your employer will be informed of your request for maternity leave in two instances: both through us when you plan your maternity leave through our self-service, and from the Tax and Customs Board when we enter your maternity leave in the employment register.

      1. Confirm your maternity benefit offer.

      If you have submitted a request to your employer to terminate the child care leave and you know the date from which you want to start using maternity leave, you can confirm the maternity benefit and maternity leave offer we have sent you.

      You have three options when confirming the offer:

      1. You take maternity leave 70 days before the expected date of birth of the child.

      If you take maternity leave 70 days before the expected date of birth of the child, your maternity leave will be 100 days. Of these, you can use 70 days before and 30 days after the expected date of birth of the child.

      On the offer, designate the day after the last day of child care leave as the commencement of maternity benefit.

      Example: if your child’s expected date of birth is 10 June 2022, the earliest you can take maternity leave and start receiving the maternity benefit is 70 days before that, i.e., 1 April 2022. In this case, the last day of your terminated child care leave should be 31 March 2022. On the offer, designate the following day, i.e., 1 April 2022, as the date of commencement of the maternity benefit.

      1. You take maternity leave 31 to 69 days before the expected date of birth of the child.

      In this case, the you will leave up to 39 calendar days (70-31) of maternity leave unused by choice. During this time, you are still on child care leave with your older child. The unused days of your maternity benefit will be carried over to the period of the shared parental benefit, which both parents can use flexibly if they wish. This means that the period of the shared parental benefit is extended by the number of days of maternity benefit unused by you.

      On the offer, designate the day after the last day of child care leave as the commencement of maternity benefit.

      Example: if your child’s expected date of birth is 10 June 2022 and you want to take maternity leave 31 days before the date of birth, then terminate your child care leave on 9 May 2022. On the offer, designate the following day, i.e., 10 May 2022, as the date of commencement of the maternity benefit.

      In this case, your maternity leave will be 61 days, of which you can use 31 days before and 30 days after the expected date of birth of the child. In this case, the family will have a total of 605 days covered by benefits: 61 days of maternity benefit, 475+39 days of shared parental benefit, and 30 days of paternity benefit.

      1. You take maternity leave 30 days or less before the expected date of birth of the child.

      In this case, your maternity leave will be 60 to 30 calendar days. In this case, your unused days of maternity benefit will not be carried over to the period of the shared parental benefit. The period of shared parental benefit is not extended by these days.

      In this case, the family will miss out on the benefit and you will miss out on the maternity leave days on account of which you take maternity leave later.

      Designate the date you want your maternity leave to start on the offer, and terminate the child care leave you have taken one day before the desired start of maternity leave.

      Example: if your child’s expected date of birth is 10 June 2022 and you want to take maternity leave 30 days before the date of birth, then terminate your current child care leave on 10 May 2022. On the offer, designate 11 May 2022 as the date of commencement of the maternity benefit.

      NB! If the family does not want the total number of days of parental benefit for the child to be reduced, it is recommended that the working mother should take maternity leave for at least 31 days before the expected date of birth of the child and to receive the maternity benefit (options 1 and 2 described above).

      1. I am on child care leave, but I do not want to terminate my child care leave before the birth of the new child

      If you do not want to terminate the child care leave for the older child early, you can stay on child care leave with that child until the child reaches the age of three.

      With this option, the mother is on child care leave until the older child reaches the age of three and the mother takes parental leave with the new child after the end of child care leave with the older child (from the day after the end thereof).

      If you do not want to terminate the child care leave before the birth of your new child, inform your employer of the start of parental leave in connection with the birth of your new child. For this, submit an application to your employer. This way, your employer can make a new entry in the employment register for taking parental leave after your child care leave ends.

      Note that the mother does not accrue annual leave days while on parental leave, as only maternity leave adds to the annual leave days.

      After the birth of your child and registration of their name in the population register, we will send you a maternity benefit and shared parental benefit offer. You get 30 days of maternity benefit from the birth of your child as a non-working mother, i.e., maternity benefit does not entitle you to maternity leave. Both parents receive a total of 515 days of shared parental benefit. The family will then have a total of 575 days of parental benefit: 30 days of maternity benefit, 30 days of paternity benefit, and 515 days of shared parental benefit.

      Premature babies 

      How can I receive the benefit when a child is born prematurely?

      In the case of pre-term birth, an employed mother is entitled to 100 consecutive days of maternity leave from the child’s birth, however, this only applies if the child is born more than 70 calendar days before the estimated date of birth.

      If a child is born, for example, 69 or 30 days before the estimated date of birth, the mother is still paid parental benefit according to the child’s estimated date of birth.

      If the mother is unemployed and the child is born pre-term, the mother is entitled to 30 consecutive calendar days of maternity benefit from the birth of the child.

      If the child is not born on the estimated date of birth, how will maternity benefit be calculated?

      In the case of an employed mother, the mother is entitled to receive maternity benefit according to the estimated date of birth of the child. If the child is born before or after the estimated date of birth, the maternity benefit will not be recalculated. In addition, the mother is always entitled to shared parental benefit from the day following the end of maternity benefit.

      For example, if the estimated date of birth as at 40 weeks is on 1 July 2022,

      • the mother is entitled to 100 consecutive calendar days of maternity benefit from 22 April 2022 to 30 July 2022.
      • The child is actually born on:
        •   Option 1: 17 June 2022, i.e. at 38 weeks, – the right to shared parental benefit arises on 31 July 2022 and it is granted for 475 calendar days.
        •   Option 2: 14 July 2022, i.e. at 42 weeks, – the right to shared parental benefit arises on 31 July 2022 and it is granted for 475 calendar days.

      Therefore, the actual date of birth and age of the child are not the determining factors here, as the maternity benefit is granted according to the child’s estimated date of birth, on the basis of which the mother also takes maternity leave from work and receives maternity benefit. In addition, the mother is entitled to shared parental benefit from the day following the end of maternity benefit. Therefore, it is possible that, when the child is born after the estimated date of birth, shared parental benefit already starts when the child is just 25 days old.

      NB! The period of maternity benefit and maternity leave can only be changed (recalculated) if the mother wishes to start using maternity benefit and maternity leave after the child’s actual date of birth. The amount of maternity benefit will still be calculated on the basis of the child’s estimated date of birth.

      For example, the child’s estimated date of birth is 1 August 2022. The mother wishes to start using maternity benefit and maternity leave 31 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth. It is an informed choice made by the mother, as the family has decided that, even though the mother is on maternity leave for a shorter period of time, they now, as a family, have 39 extra calendar days of shared parental benefit (475 + 39 = 514 days).

      Maternity benefit is granted to the mother for the period from 1 July to 30 August 2022, i.e. for 61 calendar days (31 days before the child’s estimated date of birth and 30 calendar days after the child’s estimated date of birth), and the mother takes maternity leave from work 31 calendar days before the estimated date of birth.

      However, the child is born 40 days before the estimated date of birth on 22 June 2022, which is 11 days earlier than the maternity leave requested by the mother.

      In this case, we will change both the maternity benefit and the period of maternity leave in the employment register. We do this because the mother cannot go to work due to the birth of the child. To this end, the new period of maternity leave will be from 22 June to 30 August 2022 (from the actual date of birth of the child). This means that the period of shared parental benefit is reduced by 11 days and the period of maternity benefit is extended by 11 days (a total of 72 days). The period of shared parental benefit is 475 + 28 (39 - 11) = 503 days.

      Transfer to lighter work 

      What to keep in mind when transferred to lighter work?

      Today, a gynaecologist or midwife issues the certificate of incapacity for work to pregnant women for transfer to lighter work, this will remain so after 1 April 2022.

      It is up to the woman to decide when she wants to start to use the maternity benefit and she is also responsible for contacting the midwife with regard to the termination of the certificate of incapacity for work for transfer to lighter work. 

      NB! The certificate of incapacity for work for transfer to lighter work must be terminated before the mother starts to use maternity benefit and takes maternity leave.

      NB! A major change compared to today: as of 1 April 2022, a woman is no longer obligated to terminate the certificate for transfer to lighter work 70 calendar days before the child’s estimated date of birth. This can be done at a later date, if needed. Therefore, the rules that apply here are the same ones that apply to employed mothers.