Paternity leave remains at two weeks and may be taken within the period from the week of the birth or adoption and up to two weeks after the end of the maternity leave period. The paternity leave can also be claimed in the case of a stillborn child.
If the mother passes away before or during childbirth or even during maternity, then any remaining maternity leave not claimed is added to the paternity leave allowance. The rule also applies if the deceased mother is not entitled to maternity allowance but the father is entitled to paternity benefit.
The employee must give written notice to his employer two weeks before the start of paternity leave. In the event of an unexpected or unforeseen birth, he must inform the employer immediately and no later than the date of the birth.
The right to parental leave remains at 18 weeks for each child and for each parent separately and can be exercised after the end of maternity or paternity leave, until the age of 8 of each child, provided that the working parent has completed continuous employment of six months with the same employer.
For adoptions, the right to parental leave may be exercised after the end of maternity or paternity leave, and for a period of eight years from the date of adoption, provided that the child has not reached the age of 12 by then.
In the case of a child with a disability, the right to parental leave is extended until the child reaches the age of 18.
In the case of a widowed parent or single parent, either as a result of the withdrawal of parental responsibility from the other parent or the non-recognition of the child by the other parent, the duration of parental leave is extended to 23 weeks.
The right to parental leave is individual and non-transferable for either parent, with the exception of the possibility of transferring nine weeks from the balance of parental leave of one parent to the other parent, provided that the period of parental leave transferred relates to a period of parental leave for which no parental leave allowance is granted.
Parental leave may be taken in instalments with a minimum duration of one day and a maximum of five weeks per child per year and may, at the request of the employee, be granted alternatively in a flexible manner in a way that suits the parent and the employer. Please note that in case of taking parental leave on individual days, the employee is considered to have exhausted one week of parental leave once he or she has completed five-working days if working on a five-day working week basis and six working days if working on a six-day working week.
An employee intending to exercise his or her right to parental leave should give three weeks’ notice to their employer before the start date of the parental leave, informing him of the start and end date of the leave. In special cases where immediate parental leave is required, the notice period may be shortened. Where the employee requests parental leave in a flexible manner, he/she must specify the type of flexibility the want and the duration of the parental leave they wish to take.
Leave without pay but with allowance
The period of absence on parental leave is unpaid. However, the employee is entitled to receive parental leave allowance for each child from the Social Insurance Services with a minimum period of one day and a maximum period as follows:
– From 16/12/2022 until 31/12/2023 three weeks a year,
-From 1/1/2024 until 31/12/2024 four weeks a year, and
-From 1/1/2025 onwards five weeks a year.
In the case of children with disabilities, payment of parental leave allowance is extended by four weeks or up to six weeks and the benefit is paid up to the age of 18.
A new provision is introduced in the legislation which provides for the right to be granted a carer’s leave to provide personal care or support to a relative or a person residing in the same household as the employee and who is in need of significant care or support for a serious medical reason. A relative is defined as a child, mother, father, or husband and includes persons living together who have entered into a civil partnership.
The employee has the right to unpaid carers’ leave of five working days per year. Such leave may be taken in a lump sum or in instalments and the employee must give their employer sufficient notice and present an appropriate medical certificate.
Absence on grounds of force majeure
Employees have the right to unpaid time off work for seven working days per year for reasons of force majeure linked to family reasons, relating to illness or accident necessitating immediate care by the employee. Such leave may be taken in instalments or lump sums and the employee must notify their employer as soon as the event requiring their absence occurs.
Flexible working arrangements
An employee who is the parent of a child up to eight years of age or is a carer has the right to request flexible working arrangements for caring purposes provided that he or she has completed six months of continuous service with the same employer. The employer, taking into account both the work requirements and the needs of the employee, has the right to approve the request and agree with the employee on the period of application of the arrangements, postpone or reject the request and is obliged to inform the employee in writing of the decision within one month of the request, and, in case of postponement or rejection, to give reasons for the decision.
The way of implementing flexible working arrangements, in addition to the flexible working hours applied in most public services, will be regulated at a later date and based on the findings of the ongoing study. With regard to flexible methods of employment in the private sector, there are several enterprises which have adopted, for example, teleworking.
The legislation clarifies that taking paternity, parental, carers and force majeure leave does not interrupt the continuity of the employees’ employment and does not affect employees’ rights, nor their right to promotion or return to work or their pay and benefits.
Therefore, the time of absence from work on paternity leave, parental leave, carers’ leave and leave for reasons of force majeure is considered as a service time/period for promotion purposes, for the calculation of annual rest leave and the granting of a salary increase, as well as for the calculation of pension benefits. With regards to the calculation of the 13th salary, this is not affected by paternity and parental leave.
However, with regard to force majeure and carers’ leave, this may be affected if it is offset against any other leave of absence without pay that affects the 13th salary and the total period of absence exceeds 15 days for the calendar year in question.