Estonian parents have access to seven different kinds of child-related leave and six kinds of benefits or allowances funded either from the state budget or via the Health Insurance Fund. The goal for the provision of different forms of parental leave is to facilitate the combination of the parent’s work and family life in such a manner that the family would not have to make significant changes in their life due to having a child and could focus more on the child.
The state is working on improving the system of parental leaves and benefits to facilitate the combination of work and family life and more equal distribution of the care-load between the parents.
Pregnancy and maternity leave
Both the mother and the father have the right for parental leave until the child turns three years old. Only one person can take the leave at a time. Parental leave can be taken all at once or in parts at any time by notifying the employer of taking the leave 14 calendar days in advance, unless agreed otherwise by the parties. Parental benefits or child care allowance can be paid during the parental leave in accordance with the Family Benefits Act. Read more about family benefits here.
Child care leave
Each year, the mother or father of a child has the right to take child care leave, compensated based on minimum wage. Child care leave can be taken for:
- three working days by the parent of one or two children under 14 years of age;
- six working days by the parent of at least three children under 14 years of age or at least one child under three years of age.
The mother or father of a disabled child has the right to take one additional working day of child care leave per month until the child turns 18. This additional day is also compensated based on the minimum wage established by the Government of the Republic.
Unpaid child care leave
A mother or father raising an up to 14-year old child or an up to 18-year old disabled child has the right to receive up to ten working days of unpaid child care leave per calendar year.