Maternity leave – everything you need to know

Are you going on maternity leave for three years? We don’t want to spoil your plans, but it’s probably not gonna work out. Because maternity leave lasts a maximum of 28 weeks. You might be confused by the fact that maternity leave is often confused with parental leave. We’ve explained the difference between the two and what you’re entitled to on maternity leave in our article.

Žena na mateřské dovolené si hraje s dítětem
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Chapters of the article

Maternity and parental leave are two completely different institutes. They differ in everything – in the legislation on which they are based, in the length of the period, in the amount of the allowance and, to some extent, in the range of persons entitled to it. Let us take it in turn.

What is maternity leave?

By name, maternity leave is primarily for mothers. It is a benefit that is associated with a high stage of pregnancy and childbirth and the period afterwards.

Solve a problem related to maternity leave

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Only the mother who gave birth to the child is really entitled to it, at least until the end of the six-month period. After the end of the six-month period, the child’s father or the mother’s husband can also apply. Parents of adopted children are also entitled to maternity leave, which can of course be claimed by either parent.

Maternity leave is a sickness insurance benefit. To qualify, you must prove that you have been covered by sickness insurance for at least 270 days in the past two years. However, this can be met by different employers.

Self-employed workers can also qualify for maternity leave allowance, provided they are participating in sickness insurance. The amount of the allowance is then based on the set amount of monthly instalments.

If you would like to start maternity leave after your insurance has ended, you will not lose your allowance. The basic protection period of 180 calendar days from the date of cessation of insurance (leaving employment) will apply. If your insurance lasted for a shorter period, the protection period will be equally short (e.g. if your insurance lasted 3 months, the protection period will also be 3 months).

Tip: We have discussed the entitlement to maternity leave in detail in a separate article.

When does maternity leave start?

Maternity leave starts 6 to 8 weeks before your due date. The mother can set her own start date at any time during this period. If she does not set a date, her maternity leave starts at least six weeks before the expected date of delivery.

Should the child be born prematurely, before the official legal start date, maternity leave shall begin at that moment.

When you start maternity leave, the so-called “support period” begins, during which you are also entitled to financial assistance.

How long does maternity leave last?

The length of maternity leave has remained unchanged for years, so it continues in 2021:

  • 28 weeks for the birth of one child
  • and 37 weeks for the birth of two (twins) or more children.

The length of maternity leave after childbirth can be 20-22 weeks (or longer in the case of more children) and therefore depends on when the expectant mother started her leave.

How much maternity leave will you be entitled to?

As with other sickness benefits, the amount depends on your previous level of income. The basic rate is 70% of the reduced assessment base. This is based on average daily earnings, to which three reduction thresholds are applied in turn, which may be set differently each year.

Tip: You can find out how to calculate maternity leave in our article.

Where do I apply for maternity leave?

Maternity leave is paid by the Czech Social Security Administration. The application is made on a form issued to the mother by her attending physician – gynaecologist. The doctor also determines the date of delivery, which determines the possible start of maternity leave.
The woman then forwards the form to her employer, who forwards it to the relevant district social security administration. the self-employed then submit the application themselves.

Transition from maternity to parental leave

If your maternity leave is coming to an end, stop by the Social Security Office to get a Certificate of Entitlement to Benefits Affecting Entitlement to and Amount of Parental Allowance. Then send a claim for parental allowance to the Employment Office.

If the end of maternity leave and the transition to parental leave would also mean a change in carer, this must also be reported to the health insurance authority. In this case, the employer fulfils the notification obligation for those who are employed.

If you return to work after maternity leave, your employer is obliged to reinstate you in your original job and workplace. If, for example, your original job has ceased or the workplace has been closed down, your employer may reassign you to another job, but to the type and location agreed in your employment contract.

Returning to work after maternity leave

Finally, we will also mention the opposite and, of course, less frequent situation, i.e. the transition from parental leave to maternity leave, i.e. the situation when you are on parental leave with your older child and you are expecting his/her younger sibling. The following options are available to you before you next take maternity leave:

  • start work until your next maternity leave starts,
  • ask your employer for unpaid leave (but there is no legal entitlement),
  • if you have a medical reason (e.g. for a high-risk pregnancy), you can take temporary sick leave.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

Education
  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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