Under the Employment Contracts Act, an employee is entitled to time off when he or she is eligible for maternity allowance, special maternity allowance, paternity allowance or parental allowance.
By law, the employer is not obligated to pay wages during an employee’s family leave. However, if the employer pays the employee wages based on an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement during a period when the employee is entitled to the allowances above, the employer can apply to Kela for the parental allowances for itself. If you are an employer, you inform Kela how much you have paid your employee in wages and compensation.
In addition, as an employer you are entitled to €2,500 in family leave compensation if all of the following apply:
- You, the employer, pay your employee wages based on an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement for the maternity allowance period continuously for at least one month.
- You have been employing your employee for at least three months before the start of the allowance period.
- The employment contract is at least one year in duration.
- The employee’s working hours before the allowance period began were at least 80% of the full-time working hours in the sector.
As an employer, you can apply for family leave compensation as soon as you have paid one month of wages while the mother is receiving her maternity allowance. You must apply for family leave compensation no later than 6 months of the end of the parent’s parental allowance period.
If, as an employer, you are obligated to pay your employee holiday pay or holiday compensation for annual leave earned on the basis of maternity allowance, special maternity allowance, paternity allowance or parental allowance, you can apply to Kela for annual leave cost compensation. The application period for annual leave compensation ends when 6 months have passed since the parent stopped receiving the parental allowance.
Maternity leave begins between 50 and 30 days (approximately 5 weeks) before the employee’s baby’s due date, and it lasts 105 working days. “Working days” mean Monday–Saturday, excluding public holidays.
Paternity leave lasts up to 54 working days or about 9 weeks. The father may take paternity leave of up to 18 working days, or about 3 weeks, after the child’s birth at the same time the mother receives maternity or parental allowance. The father may use the rest of his paternity allowance days after the end of the parental allowance period. He can also choose to use all his paternity allowance days after the end of the maternity and parental allowance period if he so wishes. A father may not transfer his leave to the mother.
Parents can take parental leave (158 working days from the end of the maternity allowance period; for adoptive parents, 234 working days from the child’s birth, but no less than 200 working days) full-time or part-time. A parent in a registered partnership is entitled to parental leave if the other partner gave birth to or adopted a child aged under 7 after the partnership was registered.
The mother and father each has the opportunity to take parental leave in up to two periods. Each period must last at least 12 working days. The parents can also take part-time parental leave. In this case, each parent agrees with his and her employer on reduced working hours and corresponding reduced pay for at least two months. Parents on part-time parental leave can either care for the child on alternating days or weeks, or by one parent caring for the child in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
When the parental allowance period ends, an employee has the right to child-care leave to care for his or her child or another child living permanently in the household. The employee has this right until the child turns three. Adoptive parents have the right to child-care leave until two years have passed since adoption. However, a parent is not entitled to child-care leave when the child has started school.
The minimum duration of child-care leave is one month. An employee may split child-care leave into two periods, at most. However, the employer and employee may also agree on more than two child-care periods each lasting less than a month. Only one of the child’s parents or guardians may be on child-care leave at a time. However, the other parent may use a child-care leave period at the same time as the other parent is on maternal or parental leave.
Part-time child-care leave
An employee is entitled to part-time child-care leave until the child has finished the second class of primary school. If the child has to attend extended compulsory education, the parent is entitled to part-time child-care leave until the child finishes the third year of education. The parent of a disabled or chronically ill child requiring special care and parenting is entitled to part-time child-care leave until the child turns 18.
An employee is entitled to part-time child-care leave if he or she has been working for the same employer for a total of at least six months during the last year. As an employer, you may only refuse to reduce your employee’s daily or weekly working hours if to do so would severely impair your operations.
Temporary child-care leave
An employee is entitled to up to four days of temporary child-care leave at a time to care for a child aged under 10 living in the same household who has suddenly fallen ill (temporary child-care leave). By law, this care leave is unpaid, but under collective bargaining agreements it is generally paid.
In addition, an employee has the right to be absent from work briefly if he or she urgently needs to be present because of an unexpected, compelling illness or accident in the family (absence for compelling family reasons).
If, however, an employee needs to be absent from work to care for a family member or other next of kin, the employer must try to arrange duties so the employee can take some time off work temporarily (leave to care for a family member or other next of kin). The employer and employee must agree together on the duration and arrangements of the leave. This is not an absolute employee right to absence from work, but the employer is obligated to try to arrange work so the employee can be absent.
An employee must inform his or her employer about taking leave no later than two months before the leave begins. An employee who adopts a child must only inform his or her employer of the parental leave two months before the leave begins if possible. However, for types of leave that last up to 12 working days, the employee only has to inform the employer one month beforehand. Even when an employee cannot inform his or her employer two months in advance because his or her spouse is starting work, that employee still has the right to go on parental leave with just one month’s notice if it does not severely inconvenience the employer.
An employee can also change the start date of leave for which he or she has given with one month’s notice if there are reasonable grounds for doing so. Unless the employee and employer otherwise agree, interrupting or moving the date of the leave is only possible when there are reasonable grounds related to changed circumstances of caring for the child. Before informing your employer of leave, you should forecast how you and the other parent will use and share family leave.