Maternity Leave (birth and parenthood period) for Women and Men
A worker who is on maternity leave (a.k.a. birth and parenthood period) does not receive a salary from her employer.
As a substitute for her salary, she is entitled to maternity allowance from the National Insurance Institute, which serves as compensation for her loss of income during the period in which she did not work due to birth.
In order to receive the maternity allowance, the mother must fill out a claim form for the maternity allowance from the National Insurance Institute website and submit it to the National Insurance Institute.
The entitlement to receive the maternity allowance is not automatically granted. The condition determining eligibility is the number of months before birth in which the mother was paid National Insurance contributions.
Eligibility for the maximum maternity allowance will be given when wages paid to the mother are also paid National Insurance contributions for 10 months out of the 14 months preceding the day of birth or 15 of the 22 months preceding the day of birth.
Eligibility for half of the maternity allowance will be given when wages paid to the mother are also paid National Insurance contributions for 6 of the 14 months preceding the day of birth.
On March 21st 2017, the maximum paid maternity leave period was increased from 14 to 15 weeks out of a total of 26 weeks that can be utilized for the period of birth and parenthood, ie a total of 105 days of entitlement.
The half of the maternity allowance increased from 7 to 8 weeks of payment out of a total of 13 weeks that can be utilized for the period of birth and parenting, ie a total of 56 days of entitlement.
An employee whose wife gave birth is entitled to 1 week of maternity leave, with his wife, and to receive maternity allowance for this week (provided that his wife waived the maternity allowance for the last week of her birth and parenthood period).
In July 2016, the 54th amendment of the "Employment of Women" law was published, ensuring that men also have rights as many fathers are active partners in caring for children in the first few months after birth.
The law allows the father to be absent from work for six consecutive days starting the date of birth.
- The first three days of absence after the day of birth are deducted from the the annual leave. The two remaining days are considered sick leave. Since according to the law the first day of the illness is not paid, the law states that the days will be considered as the second and third days, and therefore the payment for each of them will be 50% of the salary for a full working day.
- The absence of the father on the day of birth itself was possible even before the 54th amendment, under the "Sick Pay" law (absence due to pregnancy and birth of the spouse) and is paid in accordance with the sick pay rules.
In regard to birth and parenting period:
It is possible to transfer a part of the period of birth and parenting to the spouse. In order to do so, a number of conditions must be met:
- The mother took advantage of the first six weeks of the maternity leave.
- Both mother and spouse worked and accumulated a National Insurance period that entitles them to maternity leave for 15 weeks. In the event that the mother is entitled to a maternity allowance for seven weeks, the father will not be able to replace her.
- The employer of the spouse approved his leave for a period of childbirth and parenthood.
- The mother agrees in writing that the father will replace her, and she returns to work right after her childbirth and parenthood period is over.
- The father's period of birth and parenting shall be at least 21 days.
For the avoidance of doubt, a man whose wife is a "housewife" (her occupation is her home), will not be able to replace her and receive payment from the National Insurance Institute.