{Rivermate | How Long is Czech Maternity Leave and What Benefits are Included?

Employee Benefits and Well Being

How Long is Czech Maternity Leave and What Benefits are Included?

Published on:

May 29, 2024

Written by:

Lucas Botzen

Key Takeaways:

  1. Czech maternity leave is one of the most generous in Europe, offering new mothers up to 28 weeks of paid maternity leave. Maternity leave is compensated 70% of her regular salary during the maternity leave.

  2. Fathers are eligible for two weeks of paid leave within six weeks after birth. Fathers can also use parental leave, which can last until the baby turns three years old.

  3. Czechia also has legal protection set for expectant mothers. Mothers on maternity leave cannot be fired, and employers must keep the job role available for them upon return.

Czech maternity leave is one of the most generous and flexible maternity leave in the world. New and soon-to-be mothers can rely on the gracious length of paid maternity leave, financial security, and job security.

Here is a detailed overview of what you can expect of maternity leave in Czechia, or the Czech Republic. Let’s cover the length of maternity leave, options for paternity leave, financial and job security aspects of maternity leave, and the requirements for taking one.

Maternity Leave in the Czech Republic

Czechia offers new mothers 28 weeks of paid maternity leave. It is one of the longest available maternity leaves available. This expands to 37 weeks in case of multiple births.

Mothers can start their days of paid maternity leave six or eight weeks before the expected due date. They are required to take at least 6 weeks after the birth. The length of the maternity leave can’t be shorter than 14 days.

Furthermore, new mothers can rely on sick leave if they are not eligible for maternity leave. While these are rare, there are still options for mothers to take time off to spend with their newborns.

Though it might not be as generous as maternity leave, sick leave allows new mothers to take up to six weeks before the due date. The sick leave typically ends six weeks after the birth.

If mothers need more than 28 weeks after the birth, they can extend their maternity leave. Parental leave, if requested, starts immediately after maternity leave concludes. It can last for up to 4 years.

Parental financial support accompanies parental leave until the child’s third year. Parents who need an additional year must ask their employer for approval. Whether or not they will be approved is left at the employers’ discretion.

Paternity Leave in the Czech Republic

Paternity leave is a newer concept in Czechia, but a very welcome one. Initially, fathers were allowed two days off when their partner gave birth. This has recently changed, allowing fathers 14 days of paternity leave.

These two weeks must start within six weeks after birth. Fathers must take all 14 days in continuity, and cannot interrupt it and restart the paternity leave later.

Fathers can also participate in parental leave. Both parents can be on parental leave at the same time, however, only one parent is entitled to parental leave benefits, which is why parents in Czechia often alternate between themselves.

Financial Benefits of Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leaves

Each leave includes financial support. These are either paid by the employer or subsidized by the state.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave allows new mothers a maternity benefit that is approximately 70% of their average salary for the duration of the maternity leave. Generally, the remuneration is calculated by gross salary, divided by the number of days in the given season, which is why it may vary month-by-month.

There is a monthly leave limit that cannot be exceeded. The limit is 34.620 CZK and doesn’t require any tax payment or other deductions. However, if the salary in the year before is higher than the average, or more than 108.000 CZK, mothers are entitled to up to 43.470 CZK.

Paternity leave

Fathers in the Czech Republic also have the right to financial support during their 14 days of parental leave. They are entitled to 70% of their salary throughout their leave. However, 70% of those two weeks’ combined cannot exceed CZK 25,158.

Parental leave

For the much longer parental leave, the Czech Republic, or rather its State Social Support (Státní sociální podpora, SSP), takes over. State Social Support’s parental allowance can be paid up to a maximum of CZK 300,000 (CZK 450,000 for twins and multiples).

Parents are free to choose which parent will be the main caretaker and eligible for this leave and compensation. Parents can also choose the length and the amount paid each month. They can also change or modify their parental allowance plan every three months.

Birth grant

Lastly, there is also a birth grant for families with lower incomes. It is a one-time payment per child you might be eligible for if you are in the lower income bracket. The one-time payment per first child is 13.000 CZK, and for the second it stands at 10.000 CZK.

Who is Eligible for Czech Maternity Leave?

Every female employee is eligible for maternity leave in the Czech Republic if they meet certain criteria. Generally, the main criteria for maternity leave require new mothers to have:

  • Paid their sickness insurance for at least 270 days before the pregnancy leave,

  • Became pregnant within 180 days of the last employment,

  • Or, has recently completed her studies and is employed for a shorter time.

Self-employed mothers are also eligible for Czech maternity leave payments. The same rules apply for self-employed eligibility. You must have paid the voluntary sickness insurance for at least 270 days before the pregnancy leave.

What about Foreigners Living and Working in the Czech Republic?

You are also entitled to maternity leave if you have lived in the Czech Republic for over a year. If one of the parents is a resident of Czechia, you are also entitled to maternity leave.

However, when it comes to foreigners, it may depend on their citizenship. For example, new mothers from other EU/EAA countries are eligible for similar benefits as Czech citizens. If a new mother comes from another country that is not part of the EU/EAA, Switzerland, or the UK, she will have to navigate long-term visas and residence for Czech citizenship.

Different rules may apply depending on the length of stay and type of visa the foreigner has. For example, new mothers may not be entitled to maternity leave but may be eligible for sick leave instead.

The type of contract you have with your employer, your visa for Czechia, and your nationality will play a role in whether or not you are eligible for maternity leave. If you have moved to the Czech Republic for work and are planning a family, it is best to consult with relevant authorities. Rules regarding maternity and paternity leave might be different in your specific case.

What do You Need to Qualify for Maternity Leave?

So, to qualify for maternity leave, you need to check a couple of criteria:

  1. You must be employed for at least one year before the planned maternity leave.

  2. You need to have a doctor’s certificate proving pregnancy and the expected due date.

  3. You must send a written notification to your employer at least 28 days before you start the maternity or parental leave.

  4. After childbirth, it is important to register paternity rights within 8 days of childbirth. This applied to both married and partnered parents. It is a requirement for fathers to take on paternity and parental leave.

As mentioned above, your citizenship, type of employment contract, and visa may play a role in these requirements. Check with relevant authorities or other experts on the matter to be familiar with the relevant laws and regulations regarding maternity leave for expats.

How to Apply for Czech Maternity Leave?

There are a few steps you need to take to apply for maternity leave. Unfortunately, you will have to handle some paperwork to get the right to maternity leave.

Gathering the necessary paperwork

The first step is to prove your pregnancy and your employment status. You need to obtain proof of pregnancy from your doctor. You can get evidence of employment from the Social Security Administration (SSU).

Local Labor Office

Once you have the necessary documents, it’s important to register yourself at the Local Labor Office. They may require additional documentation, depending on your unique circumstances. It may require your birth certificate or residence card.

Fill and Submit Claim Forms

You will likely have to fill in two claim forms to register for maternity leave. The first will be relevant to the six weeks before your due date, while the second will cover maternity leave after childbirth.

These forms will also include questions about your income for the past 12 months. It’s advisable to bring paperwork noting your income from the past year to fill this section accurately.

Once you’ve filled in the forms, you need to submit them, along with supporting documents, to the regional branch of Česká správa sociálního zabezpečení (ČSSZ).

The Czech Republic offers legal protection for expecting and new mothers throughout their maternity leave. New mothers are protected from contract termination during maternity leave. Also, the employer has to keep the job position available for mothers to return after the leave.

Additionally, Czechia thinks about the well-being of expecting and new mothers in the workplace. The employer is obliged to provide alternative job roles if the position they are currently working in is found to be dangerous for expecting mothers.

How does Czechia’s Maternity Leave Compare With Other Countries?

There’s a good reason why Czechia’s maternity leave is considered one of the most generous. While some countries in Europe match the length of the leave, other countries don’t offer leaves as leaves.

For example, Poland’s maternity leave offers 41 weeks to new mothers. Germany and Japan provide 14 weeks of maternity leave, and France offers 16 weeks.

In the USA there’s no universal federal law governing maternity leave. It varies by state. For example, Illinois offers only 40 hours under the Paid Leave for Workers Act, while New Jersey offers 24 weeks of combined maternity leave and parental leave.


How long is paid maternity leave in the Czech Republic?

Paid maternity leave in the Czech Republic lasts for 28 weeks. The pay is calculated at 70% of their average salary for the duration of the maternity leave. Parents may also opt for parental leave, which can last until the child is three years old.

What country gives the longest maternity leave?

The countries commonly cited to give the longest maternity leave include Sweden and Bulgaria. Sweden offers up to 69 weeks of maternity leave, while Bulgaria offers 58.6 weeks.

What is the child allowance in the Czech Republic?

The child allowance in the Czech Republic is a monthly payment that families with low income can apply for. Every family with an income less than 3.4 times the family’s living minimum can apply for the child allowance.

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