4.04.2024 Labour law

[Poland] Longer maternity leave for parents of premature babies

The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy has presented proposals for solutions regarding additional maternity leave for parents of premature and hospitalised children. According to the announcement, the bill is expected to appear in May.

Longer maternity leave – key points of the proposed solutions

The solutions proposed by the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, include:

  • additional optional maternity leave for parents of hospitalised premature babies and parents of hospitalised newborns born on time, including adoptive parents and foster families, paid at 100% of the benefit base, granted at the request of the parent-employee;
  • the length of additional maternity leave – extended on a weekly basis at the rate of one week of maternity leave per week of hospitalisation of the child (for premature babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy or with a birth weight below or equal to 1 000 g, additional maternity leave is to be extended even further);
  • the maximum length of additional maternity leave introduced by the Act;
  • with the extension of maternity leave, parental benefit will also be extended accordingly;
  • insured persons who are not employees are to be entitled to maternity allowance for the period corresponding to the period of additional maternity leave.

Maternity leave – current entitlements 

Currently, an employed woman on the birth of one child is entitled to maternity leave of 20 weeks starting from the date of delivery. In principle, an application for leave is not required, but is necessary if a woman wishes to exercise her right to six weeks’ leave before the planned date of childbirth. Such an application must be supplemented by a copy of a medical certificate confirming the planned date of childbirth.

The right to 14 weeks of maternity leave from the date of birth cannot be waived, but the remaining part can be ceded by the woman to the child’s father.

If more than one child is born, the length of maternity leave is as follows:

  • 31 weeks – if two children are born at one birth,
  • 33 weeks – if three children are born in one birth,
  • 35 weeks – if four children are born in one birth,
  • 37 weeks – if five or more children are born in one birth.

The current legislation also regulates the use of maternity leave when the child is hospitalised. If the child requires hospital care, the woman, after having taken 8 weeks of maternity leave following childbirth, has the right to interrupt the use of maternity leave so that the remaining part can be taken at a later date, for example after the child has been discharged from hospital.

If, on the other hand, it is the mother of the child who requires hospitalisation, she may interrupt her maternity leave for the period of her stay in hospital or treatment facility, but on the assumption that she has taken eight weeks’ leave after the birth. Moreover, in such a case, the condition for interrupting the maternity leave is that the father of the child, the person bringing up the child or another member of the immediate family takes part of the leave for that period.

Read also: Parental leave and the ‘pro-life’ certificate – the Ministry of Family and Social Policy explains  

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