Currently, mothers in the Czech Republic are entitled to 28 weeks of postnatal maternity support (37 weeks for 2 or more kids born at the same time). And it’s not just them who are getting time off - the seven-day entitlement, which allows the other parent to claim up to 70% of their salary while on leave, is intended to encourage the father’s early involvement in caring for young children.
Similarly, either parent can request parental leave benefits - and they can even switch during the process - so both of the parents can take care of the baby during its upbringing. By giving such incentives to families, a new paradigm is being created. Involving fathers (or in general both parents) in the child-rearing process builds a stronger family unit. It also removes a lot of burden on the birth mother’s side. After all, for centuries, it’s been the mother who typically assumes the majority of the responsibility in raising a child. It’s about time that we start changing the way we’re doing things. The Czech Republic is taking steps to make that possible.
What is parental leave and how does it differ from maternity leave?
Maternity leave is a 28 (37) week leave from employment, that can be taken from up to 8 weeks prior to the expected birth date and cannot be interrupted within 6 weeks after giving birth. The mother cannot work during this period of time. After the 6 week period, the other parent can also take over the maternity leave. During this time, the employer must keep the person as an employee for the entire period of 28 (37) weeks and return them to the same (level) position afterward.
The amount of money depends on the employment- you can count on approximately 70% of your regular salary. The person taking the maternity leave benefits must be employed at the time of birth or be an OSVČ (freelancer) paying for the voluntary additional insurance as a part of the social security tax (or be without employment for less than 180 days, while being employed for at least 270 days in the past two years).
Parental leave starts after the maternity leave is done. For the employer, this means that for a period of a maximum of 3 years, they must keep the parent as their employee, but do not have to put them in the same position they had before the start of the leave - just the same level.
Currently, the parental leave benefits for the year 2023 remain the same, making them 300 000 CZK in total for one child and 450 000 CZK for 2 and more children (born at the same time). It’s the parent’s choice how high will the monthly amount be - the maximum amount is calculated from the overall income of the family.
The final amount will always remain the same, but the monthly amount will reflect how many months you will receive these contributions. You can change the monthly amounts (and consequently the number of remaining months) in the process of receiving the parental leave - the remaining amount from the 300 000 CZK will simply be divided by the number of months. This change can be done only after 3 months from the last change. The maximum amount of time the parental leave can be taken is 4 years.
Who is eligible for parental leave benefits?
Parental leave benefits can be withdrawn by either one of the parents. The parent in question is eligible for these benefits if they are a full-time personal carer for the youngest child for the entire calendar month, and it can be taken up until the child(ren) turn 4 years old. The parents can switch when it comes to who is the considered person for this leave even during the whole process.
You can even request your parental leave benefits from up to three months in the past.
What about foreigners?
EU citizens should prove their fiscal (true) residency unless they have permanent residency here. For example, an active work contract and a rent contract. They do not have to have a residency permit here, but they will need a document from the foreign police and the contracts to prove their stay here.
Non-EU have to regularly update the Labour office about any changes in their residencies/visas.
For foreigners from both groups, the parent asking for the residency should have had a previous stay in the Czech republic for at least 1 year before the child was born.
Can I work while on the leave?
With maternity leave, you can start working again after the 6 week period after giving birth, but it cannot be in the same job position you were working at before taking the leave. For example, you can start working in the same company but on a different contract basis - for example on a part-time one (DPČ, DPP).
For parental leave, you can work or keep your business going without any limitations. Up until your child is 2 years old, it is not even monitored whether or not your child attends daycare. Your salary is not observed either and will not affect the number of your benefits.
How can I ask for the benefits?
When it comes to maternity leave, you will get a paper from your gynecologist that you take to your employer. When it comes to OSVČ (freelancers), you will give this paper to the Social Tax office.
For parental leave, you have to apply at a local labor office. You can apply electronically with an electronic signature on the form, via databox or by post as well as in person.