Maternity Leave Europe

As an employer you will come across maternity leave. It is a joyful event for an employee, which needs to be paid attention to and handled properly, as rules and regulations of maternity leave differ per country. One of the FAQs of our clients is “How much are my employees entitled to?”. In this article we are going to review some basic legal principles about Maternity leave in 4 European countries.


Flag of the Netherlands - Maternity leave the netherlands The Netherlands

Parents are quite lucky when it comes to maternity leave (zwangerschapsverlof) in the Netherlands. If you are employed when you get pregnant, you are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. Maternity leave starts after childbirth and lasts for at least 10 weeks. Before this, however, expecting female employees need to take “Pregnancy Leave” 4-6 weeks prior the date the child is expected as well.

The maternity leave of 16 weeks is financially covered by the maternity allowance and the mother is paid 100% of her salary, up to 203 euros per day by the Government.

Flag of Spain - Wikipedia Spain

Permiso de Maternidad is the standard maternity leave in Spain that entitles women to a 16-week period away from work. What is interesting is that the  leave can begin either the first day the baby is born, or up to 10 weeks prior to the due date if the mother prefers.  After birth, at least 6 weeks must be taken.

During maternity leave, the mother is entitled to 100% of her wage, and this is paid by the Spanish Social Security.  The only thing needed to be done from your company is making normal employer social contributions.

Flag Italy - MAternity Leave italy  Italy 

The duration of the statutory maternity leave (congedo di maternità) in Italy is 5 months, or 20 weeks. Your employees can choose from two options:

  • Take 2 months preceding expected date of delivery and 3 months following the birth.
  • Take 1 month preceding expected date of delivery and 4 months after. However, mothers need to submit to you a medical certificate, justifying the well-being of the baby will not be harmed were you to allow the leave only 1 month prior.

In Italy female employees have the right to an allowance equal to 80% of the salary for the entire duration of the maternity leave. however, if part of a collective labour agreement, the employee can receive more favourable allowance up to 100%. It is also a common practice as an employer to pay for the remaining 20%.

Flag of Bulgaria - Maternity leave Bulgaria Bulgaria

Maternity leave (отпуск по майчинство) in Bulgaria, according to national legislation can be up to 410 days per child. The leave does not interfere with the employee’s  holiday entitlement and the latter can still be used. While it might seem a lot, only the first 135 of these 410 days of leave are compulsory and are divided into three periods, namely:

  • 45 days taken prior to the expected birth date. The employer needs to receive a document for temporary incapacity for work from the examining doctor.
  • 42 days immediately after the childbirth. This period requires the submission of the same document, however this time issued by the doctor who carried out the birth.
  • The third period of these 135 days lasts 48 days after the mother has been released from the hospital. For this purpose once again a third document for temporary incapacity for work must be issued by the General Practitioner of the child or the mother.

During the first year of maternity leave, Bulgarian mothers are reimbursed for 90% of their average monthly income by The National Social Security Institute, provided that the employee has been insured for 12 consecutive months. After the first year, the mother is reimbursed for 83% of the minimal wage for the country.

More information

We are here to act as your strategic partner. If you want to know more about HR in Europe, please do not hesitate to contact Monique Ramondt-Sanders - VP of Human Resource Outsourcing. More information on our services can be found on our website and blogs

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EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing and Digital Marketing.

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