The new system entering into force on 1 April will not introduce any significant changes for fathers. In terms of conditions, paternity benefit is the same as the additional parental benefit for fathers currently in force. This means that fathers are entitled to a benefit of 30 calendar days which can be used up to 30 calendar days before the estimated date of birth of the child until the child attains three years of age. On 1 April 2022, additional parental benefit for fathers will be renamed paternity benefit.
Paternity benefit is an individual right of the father – the benefit and leave days can only be used by the father and they cannot be transferred to the other parent.
All fathers whose child was born on or after 1 June 2020 are entitled to paternity benefit.
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 paternity benefit and paternity leave
Paternity benefit and its planning
What exactly will change in the paternity benefit on 1 April 2022?
Firstly, the name of the benefit will change on 1 April 2022 – additional parental benefit for fathers will be renamed paternity benefit.
Secondly, the basis for the calculation of benefit will change. Currently, the daily rate of the benefit depends on which calendar month the father uses the parental benefit; however, from 1 April, the same daily rate will apply to all calendar months. The daily rate is the monthly rate of benefit divided by 30.
For example, suppose that the amount of additional parental benefit for fathers is 1,500 euros per month.
- If, under the current system, the father wanted to use paternity leave in February, which has 28 calendar days, the daily rate of the paternity benefit would be 53.57 euros (1,500 divided by 28).
- Whereas if the father wanted to use paternity leave in March, which has 31 calendar days, the daily rate of the paternity benefit would be 48.39 euros (1,500 divided by 31).
As of 1 April 2022, the daily rate for all months will be the same for this father, i.e. 50 euros gross (1,500 divided by 30).
When can the paternity benefit be used?
Fathers are entitled to a benefit of 30 calendar days which can be used up to 30 calendar days before the estimated date of birth of the child until the child attains three years of age.
Paternity benefit can be used as a single consecutive period or be planned by days.
How can paternity benefit be planned?
Paternity benefit can be planned on the planning page of the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board starting from 30 calendar days prior to the child’s estimated date of birth. This view is available to all men.
If the father wishes to use the paternity benefit before the birth of the child, the father can plan the paternity benefit using the personal identification code of the child’s mother and the estimated date of birth of the child.
Fathers will always receive the paternity benefit offer in the self-service portal after the birth of the child, if they have not planned the paternity benefit before the birth of the child or have done so in part. We send the offer when the child is registered in the population register.
When the father receives the paternity leave offer, they can decide when they want to use it by planning the days of benefit on the planning page.
NB! We will send a notification to the e-mail address of the father regarding the offer made in the self-service portal. Please make sure that a valid e-mail address of yours is available in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board.
Does paternity benefit include state health insurance?
No, paternity benefit does not provide state health insurance.
Amount and payment of paternity benefit
How is the amount of paternity benefit calculated?
Paternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the actual date of birth of the child. The child’s year of birth is essential in calculating the benefit, as the minimum rate of the paternity benefit depends on the calendar year in which the child was born – the benefit rate is calculated on the basis of the calendar year.
For instance, if the father plans to use their paternity leave prior to the birth of the child in December 2022, but the child is born in January 2023, then the rate of additional paternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the child’s date of birth, despite the fact that the father was on leave in December. Since the child was born in January 2023, the additional paternity benefit is calculated according to the rates of 2023.
To calculate the amount of the benefit, we first subtract the nine full calendar months preceding the child’s birth (i.e. the average length of pregnancy, regardless of whether the child was born on premature, full-term or post-term), and the calculation of parental benefit is based on the income subject to social tax of the preceding 12 calendar months. The 12 months used as the basis for this calculation constitute the reference period.
The amount of the benefit depends on the amount of social tax paid on the income earned. As the basis for income calculation is the social tax paid during the reference period of 12 months, the amount on which the period is based may differ from the income that was earned at the time, thus particular attention should be paid to the social tax paid in the respective period.
If the father did not receive income subject to social tax during the 12-month reference period, he will receive paternity benefit at the rate of parental benefit, which is 584 euros per month in 2022, with a daily rate of 19.47 euros.
If the father’s income subject to social tax during the 12-month reference period was equal to or lower than minimum wage, he will receive paternity benefit in the amount of the minimum wage, which is 654 euros per month in 2022, with a daily rate of 21.8 euros.
The maximum amount of parental benefit is three times the Estonian average wage of the year before last (4043.07 euros in 2022), calculated in accordance with law. If the father’s income subject to social tax is equal to or exceeds 4043.07 euros, he will receive paternity benefit at the maximum rate.
NB! Paternity benefit is granted on a gross basis, as the parental benefit is subject to income tax.
When is paternity benefit granted and paid?
Paternity benefit is always granted and paid only after the birth of the child and the registration of the child in the population register.
We pay paternity benefit similarly to parental benefit – on a monthly basis. This means that paternity 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.
For instance, a father is entitled to 30 consecutive calendar days of paternity benefit from 10 June 2022 to 9 July 2022. The paternity benefit is paid to the father in two payments for each month separately in the following month:
- payment for the period 10–30 June 2022 on 8 July 2022;
- payment for the period 1–9 July 2022 on 8 August 2022.
NB! In the case of fathers who planned their paternity leave and additional paternity benefit before the birth of the child, we pay the benefit within five working days from the registration of the child’s name in the population register.
Is the paternity benefit subject to income tax?
Yes, paternity 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 exemption from income tax when you plan the paternity benefit or at a later date upon request in the self-service portal.
Paternity benefit and shared parental benefit
What does it mean that the father must use all paternity benefit days before the use of shared parental benefit? Can I use shared parental benefit if I have not yet used the paternity benefit?
The father can only use shared parental benefit if he has used all days of paternity benefit or waived the use of the paternity benefit.
Benefits cannot be used alternately – it is not possible to take paternity benefit in one period, shared parental benefit in the next, and then paternity benefit again.
What should I do if I cannot use paternity benefit but would like to use shared parental benefit?
A father who cannot, for some reason, use paternity benefit but wants to use shared parental benefit, can waive the use of paternity benefit.
It is possible to waive the use of partially unused days or all 30 days at once. The waiver is final and made only once – if the father has waived the use of paternity benefit, he will not be able to use these days at a later date.
Who has the right to receive paternity leave?
Employed fathers who are entitled to paternity benefit have the right to take paternity leave.
NB! In this context, an employed father is a father who is in an employment relationship and is entitled to receive paternity leave under the Health Insurance Act.
Am I allowed to work while on paternity leave?
No, it is not permitted to work during paternity leave. In order to use paternity benefit and paternity leave, an employed father must take paternity leave from all his employers.
How to notify the employer of paternity leave?
We recommend that employed fathers discuss their wish to take paternity leave with their employer at least 30 calendar days before the start of paternity leave. The future father will receive guidance from their employer on how to record the paternity leave in the holiday schedule. The exact arrangement of this is up to the employer.
An employed father who is taking paternity leave in connection with the benefit also enters the e-mail address(es) of his employer(s) when planning the paternity benefit in our self-service portal. This is important, so that we can inform the employer of the father’s wish to start to use the paternity 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 paternity leave in the employment register and the father can take their leave on the desired date. Paternity 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 paternity leave in our self-service portal.
Does the time spent on paternity leave count towards the annual holiday calculation, i.e. does paternity leave reduce the number of annual holiday days?
Although employment is considered to be suspended during 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 paternity leave. Time spent on paternity leave counts towards the annual holiday calculation. The father is entitled to annual holiday according to the number of days of paternity leave used. The employer receives the relevant information from us when the father plans his paternity benefit and paternity leave in our self-service portal and when we enter the paternity 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 paternity leave for 30 calendar days. The father is entitled to two days of annual holiday for the time spent on paternity leave (28 / 365 = 0.077 * 30).
Therefore, as in the pre-April system, the number of annual holiday days is not reduced by the number of days spent on paternity leave.
If the father is entitled to paternity benefit for multiple children
What happens to the paternity benefit if multiple children are born in succession?
The use of parental benefits is child-specific. If the father has not made use of his paternity benefit for the first child, the birth of the next child does not deprive him of the right to receive the paternity benefit for his first child. The paternity benefit can be used until the child attains three years of age.
NB! The benefit will not be paid concurrently for two or more children. In the event of multiple birth, the paternity benefit will be paid for a single child.
If the father has not made use of his paternity benefit for the first child but has done so for the second child, he will be entitled to the shared parental benefit for his second child.
Fathers should keep in mind that they must use their paternity benefit before the child attains three years of age - otherwise it will expire. This criterion is child-specific – the 30 days provided for either child will be attributed to the specific child and based on his/her age.