Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Italy - Maternity and paternity leave allowance

This chapter deals with benefits for:

  • Maternity leave (congedo di maternità): for the period of pregnancy and post-natal recovery, a period of obligatory absence from work is prescribed for employed working mothers. For independent workers or self-employed professionals, there is no link between the benefit and any obligatory absence from work.
  • Paternity leave (congedo di paternità): seven-day compulsory paid leave which can be taken separately and can be claimed within five months of the child’s birth, granted at the same time as the maternity paid leave. In the presence of serious conditions that prevent the mother from taking care of the baby, the right to absence from work and the relative allowance is granted to the father. In the five months after the child’s birth, the father can be entitled to one more day of unpaid leave (which can be paid if the mother agrees to transfer it from her own maternity leave).
  • Voucher for future mothers (so called Bonus mamma domani), granted to pregnant women upon completion of the 7th month pregnancy or at delivery. Also granted in case of adoption or pre-adoptive foster parenting.
  • Optional supplementary parental leave (congedo parentale facoltativo): until the child reaches the age of 8 or within 8 years of the youngest adopted child or child over whom guardianship is assumed entering the family, parents can also opt to take parental leave.

During maternity/paternity leave, you are entitled to cash benefits to replace income.

A benefit is also provided for periods of optional parental leave.

You are also entitled to these benefits if you adopt or assume guardianship over children.

In what situation can I claim?

You are entitled to the Maternity leave for the period of obligatory absence from work if you are an employed worker and, under certain conditions, if you are an agricultural worker, domestic worker or caregiver, if you work from home, are unemployed or are a worker with a suspended employment contract.

If you belong to the categories of independent workers, freelancers, workers with a fixed-term contract signed up to a separate INPS scheme, you are not obliged to take a leave of absence from work.

You are entitled to Paternity leave if you are a working father. You can take 7 days of leave during the mother's obligatory leave plus one-day optional unpaid leave. In addition, you are entitled to the period of maternity leave if the mother is unable to take care of the child in the following cases: death or serious illness, abandonment, sole custody of the child with the father.

If you have completed your 7th month pregnancy or if you are in the process of adopting a child, you can be entitled to the Voucher for future mothers.

The parental leave allowance is for, subject to various conditions, parents who are employed, independent or freelance workers.

What conditions do I need to meet?

In general, for the maternity allowance, no minimum contribution is required, except if you are an agricultural, domestic or independent worker, signed up to a separate INPS scheme and a freelancer.

During maternity leave, you must cease all working activity. This obligation is not provided for if you belong to the categories of independent workers, freelancers or workers with a fixed-term contract signed up to a separate INPS scheme.

Absence from work is also required for paternity allowance.

As regards the Voucher for future mothers, you can claim this after completing your 7th month of pregnancy or being in the process of adopting or fostering a child, and within a year from the event (birth, adoption, fostering).

With regards to parental leave, you can claim this whether you are the mother or the father, until your child reaches the age of 12 or until the twelfth year since the adopted child or child over whom you have guardianship enters the family. Various conditions are laid down if you are an independent worker (see below).

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Cash maternity allowance is equal to 80% of pay and is payable for 5 months (2 prior to and 3 after the date of birth or 1 month prior to and 4 after). The leave is prolonged in the case of premature delivery or suspended in case of hospital stay of the new born child in order to benefit of the time not used during the pregnancy or in case of prolonged hospital stay. In case of adoption or guardianship, the 5 months start from the date on which the adopted child or child over whom guardianship is assumed enters the family.

In case of miscarriage beyond the third month of pregnancy, the allowance is paid for a period of 30 days. Miscarriage after the 180th day is, however, considered for all intents and purposes as 'birth'.

Paternity leave: equal to 100% of pay for seven days.

The following benefits are also provided:

  • A maternity allowance, provided by your Local Authority of residence, for every child born or adopted by citizens of an EU country or citizens of a third country holding a residence permit. This benefit is not compatible with other maternity benefits. The amount may vary and the maximum payment is calculated annually based on the ISEE (Equivalent Economic Situation Indicator) and may differ from Local Authority to Local Authority.
  • A State maternity allowance: a State assistance benefit provided and granted directly by the INPS, in case of atypical employment or gaps which do not provide sufficient coverage.

Voucher for future mothers: a one-off lump sum of EUR 800.

Cash paternity allowance is equal to 100% of pay for the seven-day compulsory leave, within 5 months after the birth, which can be granted at the same time as the maternity paid leave and don’t have to be consecutive (the additional optional day can be paid on condition that the mother agrees to transfer it from her maternity leave).

Optional supplementary parental leave allowance:

if you are an employed working parent,  you have the right to be absent from work for a total period of a maximum of 11 months after expiry of the compulsory maternity leave. This is possible even if you are an adoptive parent or guardian.  It is equal to 30% of pay, and is paid for a maximum period of 6 months in total between the two parents in the first 3 years of the child's life, or the 3 years following entry of the child into the family, in the event of adoption or guardianship. If you are a civil servant, it is paid at 100% of previous earnings during the first 30 days of leave.

Once the 6 months have passed (and until the child reaches the age of 12), you will be provided with compensation, for a further 5 months as provided by law, on condition that your personal income is not greater than two and a half times the amount of the minimum pension in force on that date.

If you are an independent worker, you can take optional parental leave for 3 months within the first year of your child's life and with the obligation to cease all working activity.

At the end of obligatory maternity leave and as an alternative to optional parental leave, you can ask for a voucher to purchase babysitting services, or a contribution towards the cost of public child services or accredited private services, for a maximum of 6 months.

Parents of adoptive children or children over whom guardianship has been assumed are entitled to the same forms of protection, except in case of non-pre-adoptive guardianship, for which a period of leave of 3 months is provided, which can be taken in fractions over the span of 5 months from the date on which guardianship is assumed.

If you are registered with the INPS, you must present a claim for maternity or paternity or optional parental leave benefits to either your employer or the INPS. Claims addressed to the INPS must be sent by one of the methods you will find by visiting this link.

Electronic claims are submitted prior to commencement of maternity leave and, in any case, no later than a year from the end of the allowance period.

If you are a worker, you must report your child's date of birth and relevant details within 30 days of the birth via one of the electronic methods listed above.

If you are an independent worker, you must submit an electronic claim after the birth.

You must submit an original copy of your medical certificate of pregnancy and any other medical health certificate required in order to provide cash maternity/paternity benefits, to the relevant INPS Office, at the counter or by sending a letter by registered post in a sealed envelope.

On the envelope containing a medical health certificate, please include:

  • the protocol number issued during the online sending procedure;
  • the words 'maternity/paternity claim documentation - medical health certificate'.

If you are a self-employed, you must consult the website of the social security organisation you belong to.

Jargon busters

  • INPS: National Institute for Social Security;
  • Employee organisations and tax assistance centres (Patronati, CAF): authorised centres that assist the user with compiling and electronically submitting a benefit claim (this assistance is totally free of charge);
  • ISEE equivalent economic situation indicator (allows for assessment of families' economic circumstances and takes into account income, assets and composition of the household);
  • Maternity leave: period of obligatory absence from work granted to the worker during pregnancy and post-natal recovery;
  • Paternity leave: short period of compulsory paid leave and absence from work to which the father is entitled in place of the mother when she cannot use it for serious reasons;
  • Voucher for future mothers: a one-off lump sum granted to pregnant women having completed their 7th month of pregnancy and to adoptive and foster parents.
  • Optional supplementary parental leave: period of optional leave to which both parents are entitled for a maximum number of months and within a certain number of years since birth of the child.

Forms you may need to fill in

You must address claims for maternity, paternity and optional parental leave allowance to either your employer or the INPS, from whose site you can download the appropriate MAT, Code SR01, form.

If you are a self-employed person; you must consult the website of the social benefit organisation you belong to.

Know your rights

The following national links provide information about the social security rights provided for by Italian law:

Also, below is the link to access European Commission publications on coordination of social security rights for those who live or travel in the EU:

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