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Paternity leave at a glance

In the 21st century, childcare is no longer just the domain of mothers. Even many new fathers have already delved into the ins and outs of disposable nappy sizes and baby food brands. The state is also trying to strengthen their role by offering parental and paternity leave. We now focus primarily on the latter. What is the difference between the two and who is entitled to paternity leave?

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Paternity doesn’t have to be just for (biological) fathers

Paternity leave is leave with pay that allows fathers to help their wives or girlfriends care for their newborn. The father of the child on it is entitled to a week off within six weeks of the birth. At the same time, he is entitled to a wage replacement of 70 % of the assessment base. This is a sickness insurance benefit.

Interestingly, a man who is listed on the birth certificate as the father of the child is entitled to this leave, for example because he is the husband of the mother. This is the case even if he has been living with another woman for a year and the child’s mother with another man, and the legal husband has not claimed the child. The biological father is therefore not necessarily the father.

Similarly, a man who has begun to care for a child under the age of seven in the context of foster care (i.e. foster or adoptive care) is also entitled to paternity leave.

The MLSA has introduced an extension of paternity leave to 10 working days in 2022, i.e. two weeks in total. This change is effective from January 2022.

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Paternity leave (and sometimes even “maternity leave for fathers”) is sometimes mentioned by husbands, for example when they are considering swapping wives after a year of caring for a young child. But this is a misuse of terms. The correct term in this case is parental leave, which can be used quite freely by both the father and the mother.

When are you entitled to paternity pay?

As we said above, this is a sickness insurance benefit. As with other benefits of this type, entitlement is based on participation in sickness insurance. It does not necessarily apply only to employees, but also, for example, to self-employed persons (self-employed) who have been voluntarily paying sick pay for at least 3 months preceding the date of entry into paternity benefit.

Another essential condition is that you start paternity leave as a father no later than six weeks after the birth of the child (or after taking custody of the child ). It is therefore not possible to recall paternity leave for a one-year-old child. On the other hand, it is entirely up to you whether you take your leave immediately after you return from the hospital or at the end of your sixth week. The physical and medical condition of your partner and the newborn baby will probably play an important role in your decision.

Tip: Parental leave can bring you not only the joy of caring for your child, but perhaps paradoxically, also opportunities for professional growth. When does your entitlement to parental leave start and how long does it last? How can it be combined with a job or trade? That’s what we look at in our article.

In this context, we must not forget to mention one more upcoming change. The six-week period for exhausting paternity leave will be extended if the newborn baby has to be hospitalised. And it is the period of hospitalisation that is being extended. So, for example, if four weeks of your six-week period would have to be spent in hospital, you can already take your paternity leave either during this time or during the remaining two weeks of the six-week period after the baby returns home. From January 2022, you would have a further four weeks in which to take paternity pay. Logically, the adjustment is closer to the purpose of paternity leave, which is primarily to help the mother care for the child after returning from hospital.

Fathers can apply through their employer, who then delivers the application to the relevant district social security administration (OSSZ), which self-employed then contacts directly.

Tip: Are you confused about how to apply for paternity pay and what amount will land in your account? Not surprisingly, you don’t usually apply for it that often in your lifetime. Luckily, you don’t have to remember anything because we’ve put together a clear guide and procedure on how to apply for paternity pay.

What excludes entitlement to paternity leave?

First of all, you are not entitled to paternity leave if you do not meet the sickness insurance conditions listed above. You can think of various situations where the state supports men and potential fathers in some way and pays for their health insurance, for example, whether they are university students or men registered with the employment office. However, the conditions for paternity leave will not be met in these cases and there is no entitlement to it. The same applies to employees with a monthly income of less than CZK 10 000.

What are you entitled to during paternity leave?

As a father, you are entitled to 70% of the reduced assessment base. This is based on your income in the last year before you started paternity leave. As with ordinary sick pay, income is then reduced using three reduction thresholds.

Tip: Vacation, illness or holiday. These quite different situations for employees have one thing in common: they may give rise to a claim for wage replacement. We will explain under what conditions this happens and how much wages are compensated in our separate article.

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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.

  • 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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