Maternity allowance

The maternity allowance is granted to a person who is covered by sickness insurance and has become a mother or a father or has accepted the child for upbringing.

The maternity allowance is granted during the period defined in the Labour Code as the period of:

  • maternity leave,
  • leave under maternity leave conditions,
  • parental leave.

The legislation does not provide for a qualifying period.

The maternity allowance for the period of maternity leave is granted to the insured woman who gave birth to a child. The mother may resign from receiving the allowance after taking at least 14 weeks of the leave after the birth. Then the allowance will be due to the insured father of the child who has interrupted his gainful activity to take care of the child personally.

If a woman dies or abandons the child, the maternity allowance is due to the insured father of the child or another insured member of the immediate family. However, they must cease their employment or other gainful activity in order to take care of the child personally.

These persons are also entitled to the maternity allowance if the mother has a decision on incapability to independent existence or a decision on severe degree of disability and for this reason cannot look after her child. In this case, they must also cease their employment or other gainful activity.

The allowance may also be granted to an insured woman if she gives birth to a child after the insurance has ceased. This will be the case if the employment ceased during pregnancy and the reason for this was the declaration of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer or a violation of the law confirmed by final judicial decision. If the employer has been declared bankrupt or liquidated and the pregnant female employee was not provided with other employment, she is entitled to an allowance in the amount of the maternity allowance until the day of childbirth.

If the insured mother of a child requires hospital care and cannot take care of the child, she may stop receiving the allowance 8 weeks after the birth. During this period, an insured father of the child may take advantage of the maternity allowance. The father and mother are entitled to one total period of the maternity allowance for the period of maternity leave.

The maternity allowance for the period of leave on the conditions of maternity leave is payable to a person who:

  • has accepted for upbringing a child under 7 years of age, or a child under 10 years of age in relation to whom compulsory schooling has been deferred – and has applied to the guardianship court for adoption,
  • has accepted for upbringing within a foster family a child under 7 years of age, or a child under 10 years of age in relation to whom compulsory schooling has been deferred (the person who runs a professional foster family will not receive the benefit).

The period of payment of the maternity allowance due to the birth of a child or accepting a child for upbringing for the period of maternity leave or leave under the conditions of maternity leave depends on the number of children born on one confinement or accepted for upbringing at the same time. It is equal to:

  • 20 weeks – if one child is born or accepted,
  • 31 weeks – if 2 children are born or accepted at the same time,
  • 33 weeks – if 3 children are born or accepted at the same time,
  • 35 weeks – if 4 children are born or accepted at the same time,
  • 37 weeks – if at least 5 children are born or accepted at the same time.

The allowance is not granted to children accepted for upbringing who are more than 7 years old or children over 10 in relation to whom compulsory schooling has been deferred. The minimum period of the maternity allowance payment when a person accepts children for upbringing is 9 weeks.

The maternity allowance is also payable for the period of the parental leave.

Employees may be granted the parental leave immediately after their maternity leave. Insured persons who are not employees are entitled to the leave immediately after they have used up the maternity allowance for the period corresponding to this leave.

Parents can divide the leave between themselves into a maximum of 4 parts, each of which must be a multiple of the week. They must fall directly one after other or directly after the insured person has used the maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the part of the parental leave.

Each of these 4 parts should last for at least 8 weeks, with the exception of:

  • the first part; it has to last at least 6 weeks if one child is born, and if the insured person has accepted one child for upbringing – at least 3 weeks,
  • the last part, if less than 8 weeks are left until the end of the whole leave.

A maximum of 16 weeks of parental leave may be taken on a date which does not fall immediately after the previous part of the leave or after the maternity allowance has been used for the period corresponding to that part of the leave. In that case, the leave may be taken no later than until the end of the calendar year in which the child turns 6.

In order to be entitled to the maternity allowance after a break, at least one part of the maternity allowance must be taken for the period of parental leave, which falls immediately after the maternity allowance for the period of maternity leave. The leave after the break is granted in a maximum of 2 parts. Their duration is determined on the same basis as that of other parts of the parental leave.

The maternity allowance for the period of the parental leave is granted for a maximum of:

  • 32 weeks – when one child is born or accepted,
  • 34 weeks – when at least 2 children are born or accepted at the same time,
  • 29 weeks – when the employee has accepted a child for upbringing and is entitled to leave on conditions of the maternity leave at a minimum rate of 9 weeks.

Both parents may also take advantage of the maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the period of parental leave at the same time. However, the total period of allowance payment to both parents may not exceed 32, 34 or 29 weeks, respectively.

An insured father of the child or a man accepting the child for upbringing is entitled to the maternity allowance for the period of paternity leave. It is up to 2 weeks. The father must take the leave before the child is 24 months old, and the man accepting the child – within 24 months from the effective date of the adoption court’s decision and before the child turns 7 or 10 (with regard to the child in relation to whom compulsory schooling has been deferred).

Paternity leave and maternity allowance for the duration of this leave may be taken by the father either once or in 2 parts. Each of these must last at least one week. The parts do not have to be taken directly one after other or after the maternity allowance for the period of the leave.

The amount of the maternity allowance is 100% of the calculation basis for the period corresponding to the period of:

  • maternity leave,
  • leave under maternity leave conditions,
  • paternity leave,
  • parental leave for:
    • the first 6 weeks of the parental leave – when one child was born or accepted for upbringing;
    • the first 8 weeks of the parental leave – when at least 2 children were born or accepted at the same time;
    • the first 3 weeks of parental leave with a minimum of 9 weeks – when the insured person takes advantage of the maternity allowance because he/she has accepted the child for upbringing.

However, for the remaining period of the parental leave after taking 6, 8 or 3 weeks, the allowance is granted in the amount of 60% of the assessment basis.

The maternity allowance may amount to 80% of the assessment basis for the whole period of the maternity leave (or the leave under the conditions of the maternity leave) and the parental leave. This is the case if, no later than 21 days after the child was born, the insured person submitted a written request to be granted full parental leave immediately after the maternity leave.

This rule also applies to:

  • insured persons who are not employees,
  • persons who receive the maternity allowance for the period after the cessation of insurance,
  • persons who receive the maternity allowance during the parental leave and a request of payment of this allowance for the period of the maternity leave and the parental leave in full-time is submitted no later than 21 days after the birth.

If the mother had been receiving an allowance in the amount of 80% of the assessment basis, but resigned from the maternity allowance for the period of parental leave, she may receive a one-off adjustment of the maternity allowance up to 100% of the assessment basis. Then the allowance which has not been used by the mother may not be requested by the insured father of the child.

An employee may simultaneously work and take the parental leave. The amount of the maternity allowance is then reduced in proportion to the working time of the employee when taking the parental leave.

The basis of the maternity allowance assessment is established in the same way as the assessment basis of the sickness allowance. The average remuneration from 12 months preceding the birth or acceptance of the child for upbringing is taken into account. If the insured person has not worked for the full 12 months, the remuneration for the actual period of employment is taken into account.

Expenditure on maternity allowance in 2018 amounted to PLN 8,263.2 million.

The Social Insurance Institution pays maternity allowances to employees in work establishments that employ up to 20 persons. And in work establishments with higher employment this allowance is paid by the employer. In both cases the maternity allowance is financed from the Social Insurance Fund.