Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Iceland - Pregnancy and childbirth

This section contains information on services provided during pregnancy and maternity leave entitlement.

In what situation can I claim?

Women are entitled to free ante-natal care and medical services during pregnancy if they have health insurance in Iceland.

Both parents are entitled to parental benefits (greiðslur úr fæðingarorlofssjóði), provided that they have been working in Iceland for six consecutive months prior to the child's date of birth (at least 25% employment participation).

Parents who are not employed and students may be entitled to a maternity/paternity grant (fæðingarstyrkur).

Parents who adopt a child may be entitled to an adoption grant (ættleiðingarstyrkur) if the adoption permit has been issued in Iceland.

What conditions do I need to meet?

Conditions vary depending on whether the matter concerns maternity/paternity benefits, maternity/paternity grants or adoption grants.

  • Parents earn the right to monthly payments from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund (Fæðingarorlofssjóður) if they have been employed in Iceland for 6 consecutive months prior to the birth of the child or until such time as the child is brought into the home as the result of adoption or permanent foster care;
  • In order to be entitled to a maternity/paternity grant, you need to have been domiciled in Iceland for 12 months;
  • The maximum duration of paid maternity/paternity leave is in total 12 months (birth/adoption in 2021 and later) of which 2 weeks are compulsory for the mother after birth. Each parent is entitled to 6-month paid leave  from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund following the birth or adoption of a child of which 6 weeks can be transferred to the other parent;
  • The leave is not compulsory and It has to be taken before the child reaches the age of 2.;
  • Payments may begin one month before the child is born;
  • The amount paid out by the Fund is equivalent to 80% of the average income of the parents but with a ceiling;
  • Account is taken of a 12-month wage period, 6 months prior to the birth of the child, when calculating the amount of the payments;
  • In the event of adoption, account is taken of the 12 months prior to the arrival of the child;
  • If the parents are self-employed, account is taken of the total income of the previous year.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

See amounts of monthly payments of maternity/paternity leave and maternity/paternity grants.


Jargon busters

  • Maternity/paternity leave: Paid leave for parents to care for a new born or adopted child;
  • Being employed: The employment sector is the arena in which people work; if people are in the employment sector, they are employed;
  • Consecutive: If something is consecutive, then it lasts for a period of time without pause; e.g. consecutive residency means that a person lives in a particular place for a certain amount of time without moving away.

Forms you may need to fill in

Application for maternity/paternity leave.

Instructions for filling in the application for payments from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund.

Know your rights

The following websites provide information on your rights. They are not, however, operated by the EU Commission and do not reflect the Commission's views:

Publications and websites operated by the EU Commission:

Who do you need to contact?

Directorate of Labour (Vinnumálastofnun) - Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund (Fæðingarorlofssjóður)
Strandgata 1
530 Hvammsstanga Tel: 582 4840 E-mail: faedingarorlof@vmst.is

Directorate of Labour
Grensásvegur 9 (see map)
108 Reykjavík Tel: 515 4800 E-mail: postur@vmst.is

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