Answer ... Maternity and pregnancy rights and benefits: Pregnant employees are entitled to eight weeks of leave before and after birth (16 weeks in total). In the case of multiple births (eg, twins), two weeks are added to the eight weeks of leave before pregnancy. If the employee gives birth prematurely, the remaining maternity leave before birth is added to the post-birth maternity leave. Such periods may be extended only where a doctor’s certificate confirms that it would be dangerous for the employee to work.
If the pregnant employee so desires, she may continue working up to three weeks before the birth, where a doctor’s certificate confirms that this is possible. In such cases the employee will be entitled to leave for up to 13 weeks after the birth.
Pregnant employees shall also be given paid leave to attend periodic medical check-ups during pregnancy.
During maternity leave, the employee will receive temporary incapacity payments from the Social Security Institution; therefore, the employer is not obliged to pay the employee’s salary.
Once the post-birth leave has ended, the employer must provide a further six months of unpaid leave at the employee’s request.
It is obligatory to provide breastfeeding leave of up to 1.5 hours per day to employees after giving birth, until the baby is one year old. The periods given for breastfeeding leave are to be determined by the employee. If the employee so desires, she may use this period for breastfeeding leave several times a day by dividing up the 1.5 hours accordingly. Periods used for breastfeeding leave will be recognised as employment periods.
An employee who is pregnant or who recently gave birth and is breastfeeding cannot work night shifts or for more than 7.5 hours per day.
Following the end of their statutory maternity leave, female employees can request unpaid leave for half of their weekly working time for a 60-day period in relation to the birth of their first child. This is increased to 120 days in relation to the birth of their second child, and to 180 days in relation to the birth of their third child and any subsequent births. In the case of multiple births, 30 days is added to the relevant leave period. Where a child is disabled from birth, this period is increased to 360 days. During this period, an employee is paid by the employer only for the hours that she works, but may be entitled to social security benefits.
A female employee may request to work part time at any point from the date on which the maternity leave or the unpaid leave mentioned above ends until the beginning of the month following the date on which her child’s compulsory primary education starts. This request is not subject to the employer’s approval, except in certain fields of work (eg, some work performed in private health institutions). In order to request part-time employment, the spouse of the female employee must also be in work and not be unemployed.
Maternity leave is available only to biological mothers and not adoptive mothers. However, both male and female employees who adopt a child are entitled to three days of paid leave.
Paternity leave: A male employee whose spouse has given birth is entitled to five days of paid leave. If the mother dies during childbirth or following the birth, the father can use her remaining statutory postnatal maternity leave.
Carer’s leave: An employee who is the parent of a child with a severe disability (involving incapacity of at least 70%) or a chronic disease is entitled to take up to 10 days of paid leave per year to care for the child. Only one of the parents may take the leave, which may be taken in a single block or in parts.
Parental leave: As long as both parents work, by giving one month’s notice, one of the parents of a child is entitled to request part-time employment from the end of the mother’s maternity leave until the beginning of the month in which the child’s compulsory primary education starts. This right is also available in relation to the adoption of a child who is less than three years old.
In relation to the adoption of a child who is less than three years old, one of the parents can take eight weeks of paid parental leave from the date of the child’s placement. This can be followed by up to six months of unpaid leave.
Following the end of the statutory parental leave period, either adoptive parent can request unpaid leave for half of his or her weekly working time for a 60-day period in relation to the adoption of his or her first child. This is increased to 120 days in relation to the adoption of a second child, and to 180 days in relation to the adoption of a third child and any subsequent adoptions. In the case of multiple adoptions, 30 days is added to the relevant leave period. Where a child is disabled at the point of adoption, this period is increased to 360 days. During this period, an employee is paid by the employer only for the hours that he or she works, but may be entitled to social security benefits.