Maternity and parental benefits
System of benefits which prescribes the right of parents and persons of equal status to time off and cash benefits can only be exercised by those persons who have a valid status of an insured person in mandatory health insurance regulated by the Croatian Health Insurance FundThe system of maternity and parental benefits is regulated by the Act on Maternity and Parental Benefits which prescribes the right of parents and persons of equal status raising a child to cash benefits and time off, requirements for and manner of its exercise and funding and the authorities competent to implement the Act, all with the aim of protecting motherhood, caring for newborns and their upbringing, as well as balancing family life and employment.
- The rights prescribed by the Act on Maternity and Parental Benefits can only be exercised by those persons who have a valid status of an insured person in mandatory health insurance regulated by the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (CHIF).
- “A month” is a unit of time equal to 30 calendar days which is used to calculate the duration of a right
- Employed and self-employed parents
- Unemployed parents, “other income” earners and farmers
- Parents outside the labour system—retirees, beneficiaries of the right to occupational rehabilitation, beneficiaries of the right to a disability pension due to occupational inability to work, persons unable to work, regular students and pupils... and all other persons insured with the CHIF who cannot exercise their right as employed or self-employed parents or unemployed parents, “other income” earners and farmers, etc.
- Maternity leave
- Parental leave
- Part-time work
- Part-time work if the child requires more care
- Breaks for breastfeeding
- Leave for employees who are pregnant, have given birth or are breastfeeding
- Days off for prenatal check-ups
- Leave or part-time work to care for a child with severe developmental disabilities.
Employed parents are also entitled to suspension of employment until the child turns 3 years of age.
Maternity leaveMaternity leave is used until the child turns 6 months, while parental leave may be used after the child has turned 6 months.
Employed and self-employed pregnant women have to take maternity leave 28 days prior to the expected date of birth and may take it (no earlier than) 45 days prior to the expected date of birth. Maternity leave lasts until the baby is 6 months old, with the mandatory part of it covering the period between 28 days prior to the expected date of birth until 70 days after the child’s birth (a total of 98 days without interruptions).
Additional maternity leave covers the period after the expiry of mandatory part of maternity leave (from the 71st day from the child’s birth) until the baby turns 6 months old.
While using maternity leave, the beneficiary is entitled to salary compensation equal to 100% of the salary compensation base determined pursuant to the regulations on mandatory health insurance (unlimited).
Paternity leaveTime-based support
Employed and self-employed fathers may take paternity leave in the period from the birth until the baby is 6 months old for, depending on the number of children born:
- Ten business days for one child
- 15 business days in the case of twins, triplets or a multiple birth
Furthermore, the father may exercise this right regardless of the employment and legal status of the mother and regardless of whether she is taking the parental leave. However, this right is non-transferable and it may only be exercised by the employed or self-employed father of the child.
During the exercise of the right to paternity leave, the salary compensation is equal to 100% of the salary compensation base, determined pursuant to the regulations on mandatory health insurance (unlimited), and it is paid out from the state budget.
Specificities and special conditions
The request for the acknowledgement of rights must be submitted with the salary certificate (filled out by the employer) which includes the salaries and salary compensations paid out by the employer in the relevant six-month period before the month of the start of the requested right and the current account number to which the payment will be made, as well as the name, surname and PIN (OIB) of the child for whom the exercise of paternity leave is being requested, along with the certificate issued by the employed on the regular schedule of working hours, considering that the subject-matter right is tied to the business days.
If the child is born before the entry into force of the Act on Maternity and Parental Benefits, this circumstance will have no effect on the decision on the recognition of rights, provided that said child is under 6 months old.
However, the request may be submitted no sooner than 1 August 2022, considering the transitional provisions of the Act on Maternity and Parental Benefits (Article 25, paragraph 1).
Written notice to the employer on the intent to exercise the right
The employed father who intends to exercise the right to paternity leave is required to submit a written notice of said intent to the employer at least 15 days before the expected date of birth if he intends to exercise the right from the day of the child’s birth.
The employer is not required to issue a written consent and they cannot prolong the exercise of the paternity leave, as opposed to the parental leave, i.e. a change in the manner of exercise of other rights from the system of maternity and parental benefits.
Parental leaveAn employed or self-employed parent has the right to parental leave after the child is six months old and can use it until the child turns eight years old.
The right to parental leave is a personal right of both employed or self-employed parents, which they may exercise for:
- 8 months (for the first and second child)
- 30 months (for twins, third and each subsequent child).
Employed or self-employed parents may take parental leave in its entirety or in separate parts, no more than twice a year and with a duration of at least 30 days per period.
Furthermore, the number of children born, on which the duration of the right to parental leave is dependent, includes stillborn and deceased children, adopted children, underage children placed in the care of the beneficiary of the right as their guardian, underage children who are provided accommodation by the beneficiary of the right as their foster parent, as well as children placed in the day-to-day care of the beneficiary of the right by the competent authority.
Unemployed parentsUnemployed parents, “other income” earners and farmers are entitled to maternity and parental exemption from work. The mother has to use maternity exemption from work from the child’s birth until the child is 70 days old and may use it, without interruptions, until the child turns 6 months of age.
Once the right to maternity exemption from work expires, the beneficiary is entitled to parental exemption from work until the first year of the child’s life for the first and second child; that is, until the third year of the child’s life for twins, third and each subsequent child. While they are exercising their right to maternity and parental exemption from work, beneficiaries are entitled to a cash benefit equal to 70% of the budget base per month ( (309.01EUR)HRK 2,328.20)).
Parents outside the labour systemParents outside the labour system are entitled to maternity and parental child care.
Maternity child care means the period from the child’s birth until it turns 6 months of age.
Parental child care means the period from 6 months until the child turns one year of age for the first and second child; that is, until the third year of the child’s life for twins, third and each subsequent child.
Mothers outside the labour system are entitled to a cash benefit equal to 70% of the budget base (309.01EUR(HRK 2,328.20)) in the course of maternity and parental child care.
One-time allowance for the birth of a childThe Croatian Health Insurance Fund gives one-time allowances for the birth of a child in the amount of 309.01EUR (HRK 2,328.20), and all persons who have health insurance and meet the prescribed requirements are entitled to it.
The Croatian Health Insurance Fund is competent for the implementation of rights under this Act. The rights from the Act are exercised pursuant to a decision of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund adopted based on a beneficiary’s application.
The implementation of the Act on Maternity and Parental Benefits is supervised by the Central State Office for Demography and Youth.
All additional information about the rights and how to exercise them can be found on the website of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund.
On this website, you can find the contact information of the Directorate of the Croatian Health Insurance Fund and a list of all of CHIF regional and branch offices in the Republic of Croatia.