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;
  • Each parent is entitled to payments from the Maternity/Paternity Leave Fund for four months following the birth or adoption of a child;
  • Payments may begin one month before the child is born.
  • In addition, parents are entitled to payments for two months and are free to decide which parent receives the payments;
  • Parents may also divide these two months between themselves;
  • These months can be used any time after the birth of the child but not later than 24 months after the child's birth;
  • 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 an 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
Kringlan 1 (see map)
103 Reykjavík Tel: 515 4800 E-mail: postur@vmst.is

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