Working Mothers in Estonia

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 20.0 weeks
What percentage of the monthly salary does a worker get during maternity leave? 100  %
Who pays for maternity leave? Government
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? Yes
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? Yes
What is the duration of breastfeeding breaks, as provided by the law? One hour
What is the length of breastfeeding breaks? Breastfeeding breaks are provided for the first 18 month(s) of life of the child
Does the law require parental leave for parents? Yes
Does the law provide for paid or unpaid parental leave? A mix of both
What is the total duration of parental leave? 1095 days
Who pays for parental leave? Government
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? No

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.


More about maternity leave:

Maternity leave is provided under the Employment Contracts Act.

Maternity leave is 140 calendar days (20 weeks). Between 30 to 70 days of leave can be taken before birth and remaining leave can be taken after birth. If less than 30 days of leave is taken before birth, maternity leave is shortened accordingly.

There is some flexibility in the use of maternity leave since workers can take either half of the maternity leave (70 days) before birth or at least 30 days before birth and remaining 110 days after birth. However, if a worker takes less than 30 days before birth (say 20 days), her post natal leave won't be 120 days. Rather it will be 110 days and she will lose ten days of her leave.

The parents who adopt a child under 10 years of age also have the right to adoptive parent leave of 70 calendar days.

There  are no extension in maternity leave in the event of multiple births or in the case of ill health.

Sources:§59  of Employment Contracts Act

Women workers have the right to receive compensation for maternity leave under the Health Insurance Act.

Workers are paid their full wages (100%) while they are on maternity leave or adoptive parent leave. The maternity benefit and adoption benefit are part of the temporary incapacity for work benefit. The compensation is paid for the full term of maternity leave, i.e., 140 days and adoption leave, i.e., 70 days.

Both the maternity benefit and adoption benefit are paid under the Health Insurance Act and paid through Health Insurance Fund funded through health insurance contributions of employers although managed by the government.

Sources:§59 & 61 of Employment Contracts Ac; §50, 54 & 58 of Health Insurance Act

More about parental leave:

Parental leave is provided under Employment Contracts Act and Parental Benefits Act.

Parental leave is available  until a child reaches three years of age. However this is entitlement per family. Parental leave may be used in one part or in several parts at any time until a child is three years of age.

The parental leave is partially paid in the sense that parental benefit is paid at 100% of the average earnings for 435 days (62 weeks) from after the end of maternity leave. There is a ceiling of €2,378 per month, equivalent to three times the average earnings. The minimum benefit paid to the workers is minimum wage, i.e., €355 per month. For those parents who are neither working nor on parental leave, parental benefit is paid from the birth of a child at the flat rate of €320 per month until the child reaches 18 months of age. There is also provision for a flat rate child care benefit (€38 per month) paid from the end of parental benefit until the child reaches three years of age.

The parental benefit and child care benefit are funded from general taxation and are thus paid by the employer.

Sources:§62  of Employment Contracts Act;§1-4  of Parental Benefits Act