Chapters of the article
First, it is necessary to distinguish between maternity and parental leave, which are sometimes confused. Maternity leave means time off work and a cash allowance for women who have given birth to a child. It lasts 28 weeks by law (37 weeks in the case of the birth of two or more children). The amount of benefit you receive during this time is based on the amount of your existing salary (or sickness insurance payments for self-employed) and does not usually represent quite a significant financial drop.
Parental leave is a subsequent period that can last up to the child’s fourth year. The allowance during parental leave is uniform throughout the country, totalling CZK 300,000 (up to CZK 450,000 in the case of several children at the same time) and it is up to you whether you divide it into one, two, three or four years. However, compared to the original amount of the mother’s salary, it is usually a significantly lower amount, which mothers often decide to solve by part-time work or small additional earnings and sometimes even full-time employment.
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The following lines are devoted almost exclusively to maternity leave, which is subject to slightly different working conditions than parental leave.
Working for the same employer
The law allows you to work for the same employer as the one you left for maternity leave. However, you must not carry out the same type of activity as you did in your original employment, meaning you cannot do the work for which you received the benefit.
Of course, no one prohibits you from working, but if you do the same job, you lose your entitlement to the benefit.
Please note that if you change your job description only slightly, it will not be a different type of activity. For example, if you are a lawyer and instead of checking contracts with business partners you write legal submissions to the authorities, this will not be considered a different type of work.
If the Labour Code is violated in this respect, you risk having your benefits withdrawn and the employer also faces a fine of up to CZK 300,000, which can be imposed by the Labour Inspectorate. It really pays to circumvent the law in this respect. Any of your colleagues can theoretically draw your attention to a possible labour violation and it is therefore a completely unnecessary risk.
The legal framework for working while on maternity leave can take a variety of forms:
Mothers on maternity leave often look for a form of work that allows them to combine it with caring for their offspring. This often involves working from home, e.g. in the form of translation, bookkeeping, typing or various small manual jobs that the employer is willing to distribute.
The most common type of work is temporary work or supplementary work based on contract for work performance (FWP). In the case where the monthly earnings do not exceed ten thousand crowns, no social security or health insurance is paid. And if your employer has signed a taxpayer’s declaration with a tax rebate, no tax is deducted either.
Working for another employer
Working for another employer can theoretically simplify your situation. Here, the type of activity you carry out and whether it is the same or similar to your previous job would no longer be examined. The only condition is that your original employer must agree in writing to such a change. The condition of consent does not apply to literary, scientific, teaching, journalistic and artistic activities.
Doing business on maternity leave
Going into business on maternity leave is an option for women who have previously worked in a traditional employment relationship as well as for those who have worked under an IČO.
Setting up a trade for existing female employees
If you have been working in a traditional employment relationship, you can set up a trade licence and start a business during your maternity leave . In this case, there are no restrictions on your work, including your field of activity. This will be treated as a secondary source of income, regardless of the actual amount of earnings. Maternity pay will be taken as the main source of income, even if you would earn more money from the business than the maternity leave) For the purposes of the authorities, you will be taken as self-employed secondary. This also applies when you subsequently move onto parental leave.
If you are thinking of becoming a sole trader, consider what trade you would like to be involved in. The easiest route is to freelance (for example, animal husbandry). To engage in such an activity, you do not need to have special training or certification under the law. All you need to do this is to be legally competent and of good character.
However, there are also craft trades and related trades for which you need to meet other conditions, in particular the so-called professional competence.
You must have a valid ID and CZK 1,000 for your trip to the office. You can also fill in the form you will need at the office in advance at home. Detailed information can be found on the website of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, where you can also find the Unified Registration Form. The form can also be filled in online and sent to the electronic filing office of the Trade Licensing Office. However, please note that such a form must be signed with a recognised electronic signature or sent from your data box to the trade office’s data box.
Business for existing self-employed persons
Mothers who were already entrepreneurs before maternity leave have a more complicated situation. You cannot receive maternity pay for the same activity during which you became entitled to maternity pay. They cannot therefore continue to run their own business. The word ‘personally’ is significant. Formally, an employee can take over the running of the small business.
It should be added, however, that this situation will only apply to a certain proportion of mums in business, as self-employed workers are not automatically entitled to maternity leave.
The condition is that they must have paid sickness insurance for at least 270 days (nine months) in the two years prior to taking maternity leave, including at least 180 days (six months) in the last year. This length of payment is intended to prevent the mother-to-be from paying sickness insurance on purpose only when she finds out she is pregnant. She may do so, of course, because of concerns about common illness, but even then she will not be entitled to sick pay until three months after the payments have begun.