Maternity allowances

The maternity allowance is granted to an insured woman who within the period of sickness insurance or within the period of parental leave:

  • gave birth to a child,
  • took a child under seven years of age into custody and applied to the guardian court
    for its adoption,
  • took a child under seven years of age to be brought up in a foster family, with the exception of a professional foster family.

The maternity allowance is also payable in the event of a decision being issued on the postponing school obligation of a child under ten years of age who was taken into custody.

The maternity allowance is also payable to an insured man who takes a child into custody, under the same principles as to an insured woman. If the insured woman dies or abandons her child, the maternity allowance is awarded to the insured father of the child or another insured member of the immediate family who ceases employment or other gainful activity to take personal care of the child.

Maternity allowance is paid to the insured father or another insured member of immediate family also when the child’s mother has got a certification of incapacity for work of for independent existence or disability in a significant way and her state of health makes it impossible to provide personal care for the child. The allowance is awarded if the member of the family ceases employment or other gainful activity in order to provide personal care for the child.

Maternity allowance is also granted if the child is born aft er the termination of insurance, in the case whereby employment ceased during pregnancy as a result of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer, or due to a violation of the law, if this was confirmed by a final court judgement. If the employment was terminated during pregnancy as a result of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer and the woman was not provided with other employment, she is entitled to an allowance payable until the childbirth at the rate of maternity allowance.

Maternity allowance is granted without any qualifying period.

The period of payment of the maternity allowance in respect of childbirth or in respect of taking a child to be brought up depends on the number of children born in one confinement or taken to be brought up and equals::

  • 20 weeks – in the case of a single birth or one child taken into custody,
  • 31 weeks – if two children have been born in one confinement or have been simultaneously taken,
  • 33 weeks – if three children have been born in one confinement or have been simultaneously taken,
  • 35 weeks – if four children have been born in one confinement or have been simultaneously taken,
  • 37 weeks – if five or more children have been born in one confinement or have been simultaneously taken, however for not longer than until the child reaches the age of 7 or 10 years (with regard to a child in relation to whom a decision was issued on postponing school obligati on).

The minimum period of a maternity allowance payment in respect of child custody aged up to 7 or 10 years respectively equals 9 weeks.

When a female employee who gave birth to a child requires hospital care and cannot take care of the child in this period, after taking advantage of 8 weeks of the maternity allowance period following confinement she may interrupt the leave. During this period, the insured father of the child may take advantage of the maternity allowance. The total maternity allowance period cannot exceed the full period of the maternity allowance payment.

Maternity allowance is granted also for a period corresponding to a period of a parental leave. It is granted with respect to:

  • childbirth;
  • child custody if a child is under the age of 7 or 10 (in the case of a child whose compulsory
    educati on was postponed) and occurrence of the applicati on to a guardian court for adoption;
  • child custody if a child is under the age of 7 or 10 (in the case of a child whose compulsory education was postponed) within foster family, with the exception of a professional foster family.

Parental leave is granted immediately after the end of maternity leave or maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the period of maternity leave in case of the insured who are not employees. It can be taken not more than in 4 parts which constitute multiple of the week, and fall directly one aft er the other, or directly aft er the use of maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the porti on of the parental leave.

Each part of parental leave cannot be shorter than 8 weeks, excluding:

  • the first part of parental leave, which in the case of giving birth to one child at a time cannot be shorter than 6 weeks and in the case of a child custody cannot be shorter than 3 weeks,
  • a situation in which the last part of a due leave is less than 8 weeks.

Parental leave (up to 16 weeks) does not have to be granted immediately after the previous part of this leave or immediately after the end of maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the part of this leave if the insured is not an employee. In this case, the leave is granted no later than by the end of the calendar year in which the child reaches 6 years of age.

The leave shall be granted to a maximum of 2 parts and their size is determined on the same basis as the size of the rest of the parts of parental leave.

Maternity allowance for the period of parental leave is granted up to:

  • 32 weeks – in case of a single birth or one child taken into custody,
  • 34 weeks – if two children have been born in one confinement or have been simultaneously taken,
  • 29 weeks – if a child has been taken into custody and the employee is granted a 9-week minimal leave under the terms of maternity leave.

Parents can also use the maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the period
of parental leave simultaneously, provided that the total size of the allowance used by
both parents together must not exceed 32, 34 or 29 weeks.

Insured father raising a child is entitled to maternity benefit for a period fixed as the period of paternity leave for up to two weeks, but not longer than:

  • until the child reaches 24 months of age or,
  • until 24 months from the date of validation of the guardian court decision about the adoption, and until the child reaches the age of 7. In the case of a child whose compulsory schooling was postponed, no longer than until the child reaches the age of 10.

Paternity leave and maternity allowance for the period of the leave may be used in full length at once or in not more than 2 parts, one of which does not have to fall immediately aft er the other. No part of paternity leave or maternity allowance for the period may not be shorter than a week.

The maternity allowance is payable at the rate of:

  • 100% of the calculation basis for a period corresponding to the maternity leave, leave upon the principles of maternity leave, additional maternity leave, additional leave upon the principles of maternity leave and paternity leave,
  • 80% of the calculation basis – if an application for full rates of maternity allowance for periods corresponding to these periods of leave is filed within 14 days after childbirth or after the child was taken to be brought up, and the application was filed with a court responsible for the initiating of child adoption proceedings, or after the child was taken to be brought up in a foster family,
  • 60% of the calculation basis – for the period of parental leave.

If the maternity allowance was payable at the rate of 80% of the calculation basis and the child’s mother wavers additional maternity leave or additional leave upon the principles of maternity leave in a whole or in part and parental leave in a whole, the child’s mother is entitled to a lump-sum payment in lieu of the maternity leave of up to 100% of the calculation basis for a period corresponding to the maternity leave itself, leave upon the principles of maternity leave, additional maternity leave and additional leave upon the principles of maternity leave, provided that the insured child’s father does not apply for the maternity allowance for the parental leave period not taken up by the child’s mother.

The rate of the maternity allowance is reduced in proportion to the working time of the employee during additional maternity leave, additional leave upon the principles of maternity leave or parental leave.

The basis for maternity allowance is calculated in the same way as the basis for sickness allowance.

The expenditure on care allowances in 2016 amounted to PLN 7,745.3 million.

ZUS pays maternity allowance to employees in companies employing up to 20 employees. In workplaces employing more than 20 workers maternity allowance is paid by the employer. In both cases, the maternity allowance is fi nanced from the Social Insurance Fund.


(Note: 1 EUR = ca 4.26 PLN)