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What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

You meet the conditions if you have been participating in the sickness insurance plan for at least 270 calendar days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If you meet the above-mentioned ‘270 / two years’ condition, you are entitled to maternity benefit even after leaving work6.  If you start your maternity leave after your employment (= insurance) finishes but you were working (= insured) for 180 calendar days immediately before the date of termination of your insurance, you enter a 180-day long protection period and are entitled to a full maternity benefit. In case you were working (= insured) for fewer days, your protection period will be shortened to this number of days as well7.

While drawing maternity benefit you are allowed to work. There are no restrictions concerning the height of your income but the type of your occupation has to be different from the previous one8.

6. Note that this only concerns cases when you are dismissed (for example because of some structural changes). In case you are made redundant during your probation period, by a mutual agreement or because your contract is for a definite period, the protection period does not apply.

7. In case your employment / insurance finished before you got pregnant, your protection period will only be seven days if your insurance – while still employed – lasted for at least this amount of time. Also, note that the protection period does not concern certain types of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), for example.

8. You are entitled to remain with the same employer as long as your occupation or type of contract (e.g. from a normal contract to a contract for work) change. If you had a trade license but your employment was your main source of income, you can continue or start doing business only.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

Use one of the simple online calculators and, by adding your gross monthly income, get the rough estimate of both your daily and monthly amounts of maternity benefit.

Or try to follow the formula below:

If you are employed, a daily amount of your maternity benefit will equal to 70% of the reduced daily basis of assessment per every calendar day. The rough calculation is: 12 x your gross income / 365. The result (= daily basis of assessment) is then reduced by 3 reduction levels. Currently they are CZK 942 (100%) / CZK 1,412 (60%) / CZK 2,824 (30%) and above CZK 2,662 (0%).

Example: If your monthly gross is CZK 30,000 then 30,000 x 12 = 360,000 / 365 = 986.3 (daily basis of assessment)

Reductions: 1/942 + 2/ 986.3 – 942 = 44.3 * 60% = 26.58  + no third level = 942 + 26.58 = cca CZK 968.58

Daily amount of maternity benefit: 968.58 * 70% = cca CZK 678

In case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

How do I apply?

Once you meet the conditions, the procedure of applying for a maternity benefit (or a sickness benefit18  in case you are not eligible for the maternity one) is rather easy.

As a future mother you need to:

  •  ideally, at the beginning of the last trimester of your pregnancy visit your gynaecologist who will
    • estimate the dates when the baby should be born and when your maternity leave is supposed to start (six to eight weeks before the due date) and
    • fill in an official form called Žádost o peněžitou pomoc v mateřství.
  • hand in this form to your employer.

The mother first hands in the required documents and then waits for the official statement from the Czech Social Security Administration, confirming the eligibility for maternity benefit.

18. For more information, open the question about the last question in this guide, concerning Alternatives.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

You meet the conditions if you have been participating in the sickness insurance plan for at least 270 calendar days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If you meet the above-mentioned ‘270 / two years’ condition, you are entitled to maternity benefit even after leaving work6.  If you start your maternity leave after your employment (= insurance) finishes but you were working (= insured) for 180 calendar days immediately before the date of termination of your insurance, you enter a 180-day long protection period and are entitled to a full maternity benefit. In case you were working (= insured) for fewer days, your protection period will be shortened to this number of days as well7.

While drawing maternity benefit you are allowed to work. There are no restrictions concerning the height of your income but the type of your occupation has to be different from the previous one8.

6. Note that this only concerns cases when you are dismissed (for example because of some structural changes). In case you are made redundant during your probation period, by a mutual agreement or because your contract is for a definite period, the protection period does not apply.

7. In case your employment / insurance finished before you got pregnant, your protection period will only be seven days if your insurance – while still employed – lasted for at least this amount of time. Also, note that the protection period does not concern certain types of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), for example.

8. You are entitled to remain with the same employer as long as your occupation or type of contract (e.g. from a normal contract to a contract for work) change. If you had a trade license but your employment was your main source of income, you can continue or start doing business only.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

Use one of the simple online calculators and, by adding your gross monthly income, get the rough estimate of both your daily and monthly amounts of maternity benefit.

Or try to follow the formula below:

If you are employed, a daily amount of your maternity benefit will equal to 70% of the reduced daily basis of assessment per every calendar day. The rough calculation is: 12 x your gross income / 365. The result (= daily basis of assessment) is then reduced by 3 reduction levels. Currently they are CZK 942 (100%) / CZK 1,412 (60%) / CZK 2,824 (30%) and above CZK 2,662 (0%).

Example: If your monthly gross is CZK 30,000 then 30,000 x 12 = 360,000 / 365 = 986.3 (daily basis of assessment)

Reductions: 1/942 + 2/ 986.3 – 942 = 44.3 * 60% = 26.58  + no third level = 942 + 26.58 = cca CZK 968.58

Daily amount of maternity benefit: 968.58 * 70% = cca CZK 678

In case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

How do I apply?

Once you meet the conditions, the procedure of applying for a maternity benefit (or a sickness benefit18  in case you are not eligible for the maternity one) is rather easy.

As a future mother you need to:

  •  ideally, at the beginning of the last trimester of your pregnancy visit your gynaecologist who will
    • estimate the dates when the baby should be born and when your maternity leave is supposed to start (six to eight weeks before the due date) and
    • fill in an official form called Žádost o peněžitou pomoc v mateřství.
  • hand in this form to your employer.

The mother first hands in the required documents and then waits for the official statement from the Czech Social Security Administration, confirming the eligibility for maternity benefit.

18. For more information, open the question about the last question in this guide, concerning Alternatives.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

You meet the conditions if you

  1. have been paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 270 days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, or if you
  2. have been paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 180 days during the past year (=twelve months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If they fulfil the conditions mentioned above, the possibility of a protection period applies to self-employed mothers as well9 . They are, however, not allowed to continue their business activity while drawing maternity benefit10 but can get employed or work on different kinds of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), and there are no restrictions concerning the height of the income either.

9. This concerns the case when, for some reason, they stop paying their sickness insurance 180 or less days before the start of their maternity leave.

10. If you wish to start drawing maternity benefit you will be asked to either officially stop or at least interrupt your business at the Trade license office.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

In case you are selfemployed, all of the calculations, as well as the final daily and monthly amounts of maternity benefit, are based on how much your monthly contributions towards your sickness insurance are.

Example: Knowing that sickness insurance represents 2.3% of a gross income, if you are paying the minimum monthly amount14 CZK 115, your theoretical gross income is CZK 5,000: 115*2.3% = 115/0.023 = approx 5,000 CZK. Using the same method as in the example above we will then reduce this sum and the final 70% (= reduced daily basis of assessment) multiplied by 30 will represent your monthly maternity benefit – cca CZK 3,480.

However, it is much easier to take advantage of one of the online calculators which will very quickly generate a rough estimate of your maternity benefit based on your monthly social insurance advance payment (měsíční zálohy na sociální pojištění).

In order to improve their potential maternity benefit15 and, as you will find out in the next part, the conditions concerning their parental benefit as well, self-employed future parents, therefore, need to start planning at least a year ahead. As the amount of a monthly sickness insurance payment is derived from the assessment basis for social insurance. They need to raise this basis in their income tax return before they hand it in. This will then lead to an increase in their sickness insurance monthly payment which, as the calculations above show us, will help them to get a higher maternity leave in about a year´s time16 .

This increase of sickness insurance, however, also affects (= increases) the total amount of your social insurance for the previous (tax) year. Thus, although paid in advance in monthly instalments during the previous (tax) year, the total amount now does not correspond with the artificially increased assessment basis for social insurance (= is not high enough) and this ‘debt’ will therefore need to be paid off within the next 8 calendar days after handing in your tax overview at the social security office. This extra social insurance money will not increase your future maternity benefit which is based solely on the sickness insurance. It is, however, a rather generous contribution towards your future retirement benefit17 .

As a result, although you are not obliged to do so, in case you are planning on having a baby in the next year or two, it is highly recommended to increase your social insurance advance payments in order to minimize the difference between the amount paid in advance monthly instalments and the total sum expected at the end of the (tax) year with, yet again, the amount of your monthly sickness insurance set higher than the amount that would correspond to their yearly earnings.

You have to literally play with numbers (ideally, using an online tax return form) and find out for yourself what an ideal balance between the money contributed towards your future maternity benefit and the money invested into your future pension benefit is.

In case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

14. The current minimal monthly sickness insurance is based on your minimal ‘theoretical gross income’ (= the minimal income tax basis of assessment) is CZK 115 – 150.

15. This concerns the cases when the self-employed parents’ yearly income is not high enough or when they use the possibility of deduction of a lump sum of their expenses – currently 60% of their earnings.

16. We are talking about a calendar year here (=12 moths) and about the period of time from roughly May till May, as the income tax return deadline is end of March and the deadline for handing in your tax overview to health and social insurance offices is end of April. Also, please, note that due to new regulations concerning sickness insurance benefits (2014) there is no point raising your assessment basis for social insurance above the third reduction level (CZK 2,824), nothing above this sum will be included in the calculations of your maternity benefit. For more info see the calculations of the benefit for an employee.

17. Please, note that currently in the Czech Republic the calculation of one´s retirement benefit is based on the last thirty years before your retirement.

How do I apply?

Once you meet the conditions, the procedure of applying for a maternity benefit (or a sickness benefit19 in case you are not eligible for the maternity one) is rather easy.

As a future mother you need to:

  • ideally, at the beginning of the last trimester of your pregnancy visit your gynaecologist who will
    • estimate the dates when the baby should be born and when your maternity leave is supposed to start (six to eight weeks before the due date) and
    • fill in an official form called Žádost o peněžitou pomoc v mateřství.
  • hand this form at the Czech Social Security Administration (Česká správa sociálního zabezpečení, Veveří 5, the 4th floor – section OSVČ, tram stop Česká). You will take a ticket according to the initial letter of your surname and wait which window will be assigned to you20.

The mother first hands in the required documents and then waits for the official statement from the Czech Social Security Administration, confirming the eligibility for maternity benefit.

18. For more information, open the question about the last question in this guide, concerning Alternatives.

19. Please, note that if you are applying after the income tax return deadline (april – june) you should make sure your tax overview has already been handed in to the Czech Social Security Administration.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

You meet the conditions if you

  1. have been paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 270 days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, or if you
  2. have been paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 180 days during the past year (=twelve months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If they fulfil the conditions mentioned above, the possibility of a protection period applies to self-employed mothers as well9 . They are, however, not allowed to continue their business activity while drawing maternity benefit10 but can get employed or work on different kinds of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), and there are no restrictions concerning the height of the income either.

9. This concerns the case when, for some reason, they stop paying their sickness insurance 180 or less days before the start of their maternity leave.

10. If you wish to start drawing maternity benefit you will be asked to either officially stop or at least interrupt your business at the Trade license office.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

In case you are selfemployed, all of the calculations, as well as the final daily and monthly amounts of maternity benefit, are based on how much your monthly contributions towards your sickness insurance are.

Example: Knowing that sickness insurance represents 2.3% of a gross income, if you are paying the minimum monthly amount14 CZK 115, your theoretical gross income is CZK 5,000: 115*2.3% = 115/0.023 = approx 5,000 CZK. Using the same method as in the example above we will then reduce this sum and the final 70% (= reduced daily basis of assessment) multiplied by 30 will represent your monthly maternity benefit – cca CZK 3,480.

However, it is much easier to take advantage of one of the online calculators which will very quickly generate a rough estimate of your maternity benefit based on your monthly social insurance advance payment (měsíční zálohy na sociální pojištění).

In order to improve their potential maternity benefit15 and, as you will find out in the next part, the conditions concerning their parental benefit as well, self-employed future parents, therefore, need to start planning at least a year ahead. As the amount of a monthly sickness insurance payment is derived from the assessment basis for social insurance. They need to raise this basis in their income tax return before they hand it in. This will then lead to an increase in their sickness insurance monthly payment which, as the calculations above show us, will help them to get a higher maternity leave in about a year´s time16 .

This increase of sickness insurance, however, also affects (= increases) the total amount of your social insurance for the previous (tax) year. Thus, although paid in advance in monthly instalments during the previous (tax) year, the total amount now does not correspond with the artificially increased assessment basis for social insurance (= is not high enough) and this ‘debt’ will therefore need to be paid off within the next 8 calendar days after handing in your tax overview at the social security office. This extra social insurance money will not increase your future maternity benefit which is based solely on the sickness insurance. It is, however, a rather generous contribution towards your future retirement benefit17 .

As a result, although you are not obliged to do so, in case you are planning on having a baby in the next year or two, it is highly recommended to increase your social insurance advance payments in order to minimize the difference between the amount paid in advance monthly instalments and the total sum expected at the end of the (tax) year with, yet again, the amount of your monthly sickness insurance set higher than the amount that would correspond to their yearly earnings.

You have to literally play with numbers (ideally, using an online tax return form) and find out for yourself what an ideal balance between the money contributed towards your future maternity benefit and the money invested into your future pension benefit is.

In case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

14. The current minimal monthly sickness insurance is based on your minimal ‘theoretical gross income’ (= the minimal income tax basis of assessment) is CZK 115 – 150.

15. This concerns the cases when the self-employed parents’ yearly income is not high enough or when they use the possibility of deduction of a lump sum of their expenses – currently 60% of their earnings.

16. We are talking about a calendar year here (=12 moths) and about the period of time from roughly May till May, as the income tax return deadline is end of March and the deadline for handing in your tax overview to health and social insurance offices is end of April. Also, please, note that due to new regulations concerning sickness insurance benefits (2014) there is no point raising your assessment basis for social insurance above the third reduction level (CZK 2,824), nothing above this sum will be included in the calculations of your maternity benefit. For more info see the calculations of the benefit for an employee.

17. Please, note that currently in the Czech Republic the calculation of one´s retirement benefit is based on the last thirty years before your retirement.

How do I apply?

Once you meet the conditions, the procedure of applying for a maternity benefit (or a sickness benefit19 in case you are not eligible for the maternity one) is rather easy.

As a future mother you need to:

  • ideally, at the beginning of the last trimester of your pregnancy visit your gynaecologist who will
    • estimate the dates when the baby should be born and when your maternity leave is supposed to start (six to eight weeks before the due date) and
    • fill in an official form called Žádost o peněžitou pomoc v mateřství.
  • hand this form at the Czech Social Security Administration (Česká správa sociálního zabezpečení, Veveří 5, the 4th floor – section OSVČ, tram stop Česká). You will take a ticket according to the initial letter of your surname and wait which window will be assigned to you20.

The mother first hands in the required documents and then waits for the official statement from the Czech Social Security Administration, confirming the eligibility for maternity benefit.

18. For more information, open the question about the last question in this guide, concerning Alternatives.

19. Please, note that if you are applying after the income tax return deadline (april – june) you should make sure your tax overview has already been handed in to the Czech Social Security Administration.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

Even though unemployed on the day when your maternity leave officially starts, depending on how long you were contributing towards your sickness insurance in the previous 24 months, you might still be eligible for maternity benefit.

If – while previously employed – you were participating in the sickness insurance plan for at least 270 calendar days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, you are entitled to maternity benefit even after leaving work11.

If you start your maternity leave after your employment (= insurance) finishes but you were working (= insured) for 180 calendar days immediately before the date of termination of your insurance, you enter a 180-day long protection period and are entitled to a full maternity benefit. In case you were working (= insured) for fewer days, your protection period will be shortened to this number of days as well12.

If previously self-employed, you meet the conditions if you

  1. were paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 270 days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, or if you
  2. were paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 180 days during the past year (=twelve months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If they fulfil the conditions mentioned above, the possibility of a protection period applies to self-employed mothers as well13.

11. Note that this only concerns cases when you are dismissed (for example because of some structural changes). In case you are made redundant during your probation period, by a mutual agreement or because your contract is for a definite period, the protection period does not apply.

12. In case your employment / insurance finished before you got pregnant, your protection period will only be seven days if your insurance – while still employed – lasted for at least this amount of time. Also, note that the protection period does not concern certain types of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), for example.

13. This concerns the case when, for some reason, they stop paying their sickness insurance 180 or less days before the start of their maternity leave.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

If, before becoming unemployed, the period of time you were contributing towards your sickness insurance in the previous 24 months qualifies you for a regular maternity benefit, you can read more about the actual calculation of the amount in the relevant section based on your previous occupation – employed or self-employed.

If you are a student (secondary school, vocational college and university) or qualify for a protection period, sickness or compensatory benefits, you should contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) and ask them to do the calculation of the amount you are entitled to based on your specific life / work situation.

How do I apply?

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) which will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

What is maternity benefit?

Maternity benefit (peněžitá pomoc v mateřství) is one of the main financial contributions for parents covered by sickness insurance 1 , a component of social insurance2.

It is an allowance for women who are on a maternity leave (Articles 195 to 198 of Labour Code). Maternity leave represents a legal right to be absent from work due to giving birth and taking care of a newborn child. It usually starts six3, but no earlier than eight4 weeks before the expected date of childbirth and lasts for no more than twenty-eight weeks5 (or thirty-seven weeks in case of giving birth to two or more children).

1. Sickness insurance is obligatory for employees but optional for the self-employed. It is up to the self-employed to notify the Social security office that they want to start contributing towards their sickness insurance as well. The amount of their monthly contributions is directly linked to the amount of their income and their assessment basis for social insurance claimed in their tax return from the previous year.

2. When considering eligibility for maternity benefit in the Czech Republic, previous contributions into one’s social insurance and, most importantly, sickness insurance in the Czech Republic but also other EU countries and even nonEU countries with a bilateral treaty with the Czech Republic in this area are taken into consideration.

3. In case of giving birth before the term determined by the doctor the mother will be entitled to use the twenty-eight week period fully. If, however, she decides to use less than six weeks of her maternity leave till the birth for any other reason, the mother will only be entitled to twenty-two or thirty-one (depending on a number of children).

4. The start of the financial assistance (maternity benefit) is set on the day the future mother stipulates – no earlier than eight months before the due date though. If the mother does not do so, the financial assistance is automatically understood to start at the beginning of the sixth week before the due date.

5. A maternity leave shall never be shorter than fourteen weeks. Even if, sadly, a baby is stillborn, the mother is still entitled to fourteen weeks of a maternity leave.

Am I eligible?

Even though unemployed on the day when your maternity leave officially starts, depending on how long you were contributing towards your sickness insurance in the previous 24 months, you might still be eligible for maternity benefit.

If – while previously employed – you were participating in the sickness insurance plan for at least 270 calendar days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, you are entitled to maternity benefit even after leaving work11.

If you start your maternity leave after your employment (= insurance) finishes but you were working (= insured) for 180 calendar days immediately before the date of termination of your insurance, you enter a 180-day long protection period and are entitled to a full maternity benefit. In case you were working (= insured) for fewer days, your protection period will be shortened to this number of days as well12.

If previously self-employed, you meet the conditions if you

  1. were paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 270 days during the past two years (= twenty-four months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts, or if you
  2. were paying the sickness insurance yourself for at least 180 days during the past year (=twelve months) before the day when your maternity leave officially starts.

If they fulfil the conditions mentioned above, the possibility of a protection period applies to self-employed mothers as well13.

11. Note that this only concerns cases when you are dismissed (for example because of some structural changes). In case you are made redundant during your probation period, by a mutual agreement or because your contract is for a definite period, the protection period does not apply.

12. In case your employment / insurance finished before you got pregnant, your protection period will only be seven days if your insurance – while still employed – lasted for at least this amount of time. Also, note that the protection period does not concern certain types of contracts such as contract for work (dohoda o provedení práce), for example.

13. This concerns the case when, for some reason, they stop paying their sickness insurance 180 or less days before the start of their maternity leave.

What amount am I entitled to?

The sum of money you are entitled to as your maternity benefit is always based on your prior earnings.

If, before becoming unemployed, the period of time you were contributing towards your sickness insurance in the previous 24 months qualifies you for a regular maternity benefit, you can read more about the actual calculation of the amount in the relevant section based on your previous occupation – employed or self-employed.

If you are a student (secondary school, vocational college and university) or qualify for a protection period, sickness or compensatory benefits, you should contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) and ask them to do the calculation of the amount you are entitled to based on your specific life / work situation.

How do I apply?

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) which will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Maternity benefit for students and fathers, sickness and compensatory benefits - what alternatives are there?

The eligibility for maternity benefit concerns secondary school, vocational college and university students as well in case they meet a set of requirements21 .

Also, men can receive maternity benefit. If a man is employed or, being self-employed, he has been insured for a sufficient period of time, and he is the father of the child or a husband of the mother of this child included in the child´s birth certificate, he can go on maternity leave apply for the allowance. He needs to provide the office with a written legal agreement signed by the mother stating that he will be taking care of the baby22 and this agreement can only come into force at the beginning of the seventh week after the child was born.

Those not entitled to maternity benefit – both employed and self-employed – are under certain conditions23 and can be eligible for a sickness benefit (nemocenská). In this case, the pregnant woman’s temporary work inability begins six weeks before the child is due and is finished by the doctor six weeks after the baby is born. In case of a risky pregnancy, the mother finishes her sick leave and starts her maternity leave about eight to six weeks before the childbirth. In case the mother is not entitled to maternity benefit, she will stay on a sick leave for the period of six weeks after the birth.

Another possibility for employed mothers is compensatory benefit in pregnancy and maternity (vyrovnávací příspěvek v těhotenství a mateřství) which is granted to women who were transferred to a different and lower-paid position due to their pregnancy24. If a woman is not eligible for maternity benefit she can apply for a parental benefit right after her baby is born.

As for the calculation of the amount you are entitled to, please, contact the Social insurance office (Gajdošova 7) who will assess the amount you are entitled to according to your specific life / work situation and provide further guidance concerning the application procedure.

Please, note that in case of multiple children, the parent is eligible for only one but longer maternity benefit: thirty-seven weeks (mothers) or thirty-one weeks (fathers or officially assigned guardians).

21. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the third paragraph of the point two at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

22. A similar rule applies to a person who assumes the care of the baby due to the death of the mother or her serious and / or lengthy illness. The support period in this case is twenty-two or thirty-one weeks for one or multiple children respectively.

23. This applies to those mothers who have only been working / doing business for a short period of time and thus do not fulfil the condition of being employed / insured (sickness insurance) for 270 days / last two calendar years and do not qualify for a protection period either.

24. In order to learn more about eligibility to maternity benefit in this case check the point four at the Czech Social Security Administration official website.

General info

You’ll find all your answers in the FAQs above.