Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Estonia - Parental benefit

In what situation can I claim?

If you choose to have children, you may have the right to:

  • pregnancy and maternity leave (rasedus- ja sünnituspuhkus);
  • childbirth allowance (sünnitoetus);
  • parental leave (lapsehoolduspuhkus);
  • parental benefit (vanemahüvitis).

Any parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, guardian or foster parent who is raising a child and who is a permanent resident of Estonia or a foreigner living in Estonia on the basis of a temporary residence permit has the right to the parental benefit.

Individuals within that category who have a place of residence in more than one country have the right to claim parental benefit if they qualify as permanent residents under §6.1 of the Income Tax Act, or if they qualify as permanent residents of Estonia under the Aliens Act or the Citizen of the European Union Act by residing in Estonia for at least 183 days a year.

The father of a child has the right to the parental benefit once the child has reached the age of 70 days. If one of the parents is on parental leave, the benefit is paid to that parent. Only one parent in a family may be on parental leave at any one time.

The right to parental leave (lapsehoolduspuhkus) can be exercised by the mother or the father of the child or the child's actual caregiver until the child reaches three years of age. Parental leave may be taken in one go, or be interrupted by a return to work before being resumed before the child reaches 3 years of age.

What conditions do I need to meet?

If the father applies for the benefit after the mother has already received it, the benefit to be paid to the father is calculated according to the same period of income which formed the basis for calculation of the benefit for the mother.

Since the parental benefit is a monthly benefit, the recipient can be changed at the beginning of the calendar month. The recipient is changed from the beginning of the following month provided that the application to this effect is lodged by the 15th of the current month. Payments to the new applicant are made in the month following the next calendar month.

In the event that the recipient of the parental benefit is changed, evidence of the end or start of parental leave for both parents must be submitted to the Estonian National Social Insurance Board.

This is also the case if the initial recipient of the benefit is the father: the mother must provide evidence that she is not on parental leave and confirm that she agrees to the benefit being paid to the father.

A parent may work or earn income during the period in which they receive the parental benefit, but if the income earned exceeds the rate of the benefit (EUR 470 in 2018), the amount of the benefit for the month in question is reduced. Income covers all sums paid by employers within a month, including bonuses, holiday pay and others.

Benefit is reduced by half the amount by which income exceeds the benefit rate. The reduction in benefit applies to income above the benefit rate. For every EUR 2.00 earned over the benefit rate, the benefit is reduced by EUR 1.00. The amount of benefit will be at least half of the benefit awarded to the individual concerned, but will not be less than the benefit rate.

If earning, the recipient of the parental benefit will always receive at least half of the assigned benefit or the parental benefit in the amount of the benefit rate plus earnings.

If the benefit has been paid to a parent for one child and the parent’s next child is born less than 2.5 years later and the amount of the parental benefit calculated for that child is smaller than that for the previous child, the benefit is determined on the basis of previous income.

A parent receiving the previous benefit who has the right to the maternity benefit can apply for compensation for the difference between parental benefit and maternity benefit once the child is born.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Women have the right to receive 140 calendar days of pregnancy and maternity leave (rasedus- ja sünnituspuhkus). The Health Insurance Fund pays maternity benefits only to women insured as employees on presentation of a certificate for maternity leave.

The pregnancy and maternity leave may be taken in the 30th to 36th week of pregnancy. The certificate for maternity leave is issued by the doctor with whom the woman is registered.

If a woman goes on pregnancy and maternity leave 30 days or more before her expected due date, she is paid the benefit for all 140 calendar days. If she goes on pregnancy and maternity leave later, those days are deducted from the 140 calendar days.

The maternity benefit (sünnitushüvitis) is paid starting from the first day of exemption from work or service obligations specified on the certificate for incapacity for work and at a rate of 100% of the average income per calendar day. The Health Insurance Fund receives data on the payment of social tax from the Tax and Customs Board.

If the woman gives birth before she goes on pregnancy and maternity leave, and is more than 28 weeks pregnant, the certificate of maternity leave is issued as of the date of the birth for 140 days. If the woman gives birth before she goes on pregnancy and maternity leave, the certificate of maternity leave is issued as of the date of giving birth.

The right to receive parental benefit starts on the day following the final day of the leave certificate that provides the basis for the pregnancy and maternity or adoption leave, and the benefit is awarded for 435 days from the date when entitlement to the benefit arose.

If the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, the parental benefit is paid until the child reaches the age of 18 months.

If a mother has the right to pregnancy and maternity leave or to receive maternity benefits, but does not exercise it, then the benefit is calculated separately for the first 70 days, and is paid within a single calendar month and at a rate not higher than the minimum wage for the first 70 days.

For later applications the benefit is paid retrospectively, but will not be backdated for more than 6 months from that date. Parental benefit is paid each month for the preceding calendar month.

The parental benefit is calculated on the basis of the income subject to social tax earned in the calendar year prior to the day on which the right to the benefit arose.

Income from work on which social tax is paid in Estonia is considered income. If the state pays social tax on behalf of a person, this is not considered to be work income. Income earned abroad, which is not subject to social tax in Estonia, is not taken into consideration either.

The annual income is divided by 12 months, with the number of days on which the parent was absent from work on a doctor’s certificate, a certificate for care leave or pregnancy and maternity leave having previously been subtracted. The resulting figure is the amount of the parental benefit.

If the parent did not work during the year preceding the time at which the right to the benefit arose, the parental benefit is paid at the designated benefit base rate, which in 2018 is EUR 470.

If the parent worked during this year but his or her average income was lower than the minimum wage, the benefit is paid at the minimum wage rate, which in 2018 is EUR 500.

The upper limit of the amount of the parental benefit is three times the average salary from the year before last, which in 2018 is EUR  3 089.55. If a mother has the right to take pregnancy and maternity leave but does not use it, the parental benefit is paid at not higher than the minimum wage rate for the first 70 days.

Once designated, the limits on the parental benefit do not change when the calendar year changes. As an exception, if the amount of the parental benefit is the minimum wage rate and on 1 January the minimum wage established by the Government of the Republic of Estonia rises, the parental benefit is paid at the new minimum wage rate.

During the period of payment of the parental benefit, parents are not paid a child care allowance for any child. The child allowance and other family benefits are paid at the same time as the parental benefit.

To apply for parental benefit you must contact the National Social Insurance Board and lodge an application. You must take along your passport or ID-card.

During the first 2 months of each calendar year the applicant is required to submit a TSM form regarding the amount of social tax they have paid. The Social Insurance Board is usually able to obtain the data they require from different databases, but since the data about social 2 months of the year. This form can also be sent by post or electronically.

You can also apply for the parental benefit online via the citizens’ portal.

Maternity leave for a new pregnancy during parental leave

A woman who is on parental leave and wants to take a further period of pregnancy and maternity leave and receive maternity benefit for the new pregnancy and maternity leave must discontinue her parental leave. To do so, she must file an application to discontinue the parental leave with at least 14 days' notice (unless agreed otherwise between the parties).

If she specifies the day prior to commencement of the pregnancy and maternity leave as the date for ending parental leave, she does not have to go to work in the interim. The application must be submitted to the employer with time to spare before the maternity leave begins (at least 15-30 days beforehand) so that the employer and the Health Insurance Fund can arrange the insurance in a timely manner.

Forms you may need to fill in

To apply for parental benefit you should submit an application at the Social Insurance Board with an identity document.

If the applicant of the benefit is on parental leave, an additional certificate from the employer must be submitted indicating the duration of the parental leave and the name of the child.

The application can be submitted in person to the client service offices of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board or sent via mail. The application may also be submitted electronically through the State portal.

The application form is available from the client service offices of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board (the addresses and reception hours of the client service offices are available on the homepage).

http://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/et/iseteenindus/blanketid#Pereh%C3%BCvitiste%20blanketid

Know your rights

    Publications and webpage of the European Commission

    Who do you need to contact?

    The Estonian National Social Insurance Board has 17 client service offices across Estonia that deal with requests and applications in person, as well as via mail.

    The Estonian National Social Insurance Board can also be contacted by telephone.

    Information is available via telephone number 16106 (in Estonia) or +372 612 1360 between the hours of 9:00-17:00 on all working days and the general phone numbers of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board's offices (please see http://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/et/klienditeenindused-loeteluna ).

    Visit us at our regional offices on any working day (please see http://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/et/klienditeenindused-loeteluna ).

    Applications submitted electronically must be digitally signed.

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