Whereas maternity benefit and paternity benefit are individual rights of parents, shared parental benefit is a right shared between the parents, i.e., it is up to the parents to decide who will start receiving the benefit.
Shared parental benefit offers more flexibility to families – in particular, fathers now also have the right to use shared parental benefit from the time the child reaches 31 days of age. Under the previous system, fathers had the right to it when the child attained 71 days of age. This change is important as it allows fathers to take the leave earlier and be more involved in the child’s upbringing.
The use of shared parental benefit can also be planned by days. The recipient of shared parental benefit can be changed starting from the following month.
In addition, parents are also entitled to use shared parental benefit together for up to 60 calendar days.
It is permitted to work and earn income while receiving shared parental benefit. Shared parental benefit also includes state health and pension insurance.
In particular, shared parental benefit is provided to the parent who is on parental leave. If neither of the parents are on parental leave, it is up to them to decide who will receive the parental benefit.
FAQ about shared parental benefit
How do you apply for shared parental benefit?
After the birth of the child and the registration of the birth in the population register, we send the parents a family benefits offer with the types of family benefits they are entitled to in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board.
The family benefits offer includes exactly the types of family benefits the parents are entitled to, which may be as follows:
- maternity benefit
- paternity benefit
- shared parental benefit
- childbirth allowance
- child allowance
- single parent's child allowance
- allowance for a family with many children
- supplementary contributions to funded pension
- and other family benefits
It is up to the parents to decide who will receive which benefits. Moreover, the parent can notify us immediately if they do not wish to start using the days of shared parental benefit consecutively.
If a parent wants to leave the right to use family benefits to another parent, it is not necessary to notify the Social Insurance Board about it. It is sufficient if the other parent confirms the family benefits’ offers sent to him in the self-service. However, if the father still wants to notify that he wants to leave the shared parental benefit for the mother to use, the father must have used up the paternity benefit in full.
If a parent has not received an offer from us, but they find that they have a right to receive family benefits, we kindly ask them to contact us. If a parent is unable to use our self-service, portal they can contact us by e-mail or post or visit one of the client service offices of the Social Insurance Board.
How can the shared parental benefit be used?
Shared parental benefit be used either:
- consecutively, from the beginning of entitlement to benefit
- by planning on a day-by-day basis
This means that parental benefit can be used consecutively as one long period or as needed by choosing specific days on which it will be used. Using the parental benefit by days extends the period of use of benefit.
How can the recipient of parental benefit be changed?
If you wish to change the recipient of the parental benefit, please notify us in advance because only then can we ensure that the recipient of the parental benefit is changed on time. The parent who wants to start receiving the parental benefit can initiate the change of recipient in the self-service under the „My benefits and services“ menu.
As is already the case today, the recipient of shared parental benefit can be changed starting from the following calendar month. The recipient cannot be changed halfway through the month.
When changing the recipient of the parental benefit, it is important to bear in mind that the current recipient of the benefit must give their consent to the changing of the recipient.
NB! When second parent confirms the change of recipient, the new recipient must plan the period of shared parental benefit in self-service. If the period is not planned, the benefit would not be paid out!
If the current recipient of the parental benefit is on parental leave, they must end their leave. This is due to the fact that, if one of the parents is on child care leave (parental leave), that parent is entitled to receive parental benefit.
The new recipient of parental benefit may take parental leave, but they are not required to do so. This depends on whether the parent wishes to continue to work while receiving the benefit or not.
Parents have the right to various parental benefits; they can be used together at the same time for no more than 60 calendar days.
An exception is the adoption allowance, which can be used by both parents simultaneously for no more than 35 calendar days.
Parental benefits can be divided into two groups:
Individual parental benefits, applied separately to the mother or father:
1) Maternity benefit
2) Paternity benefit
Shared parental benefits, which can be shared between parents and, if necessary, the recipient of the benefit can be changed:
1) Shared parental benefit
2) Adoption allowance
All these types of benefits can be received by both parents at the same time, and it does not matter what types of parental benefits are paid to both parents at the same time. In any combination benefits can be received simultaneously for no more than 60 days (except for adoption allowance, which can be received simultaneously by both parents for no more than 35 calendar days) .
In other words, the limit of 60 calendar days applies not only to shared parental benefit, but to all types of parental benefits together and in various combinations.
Both parents can simultaneously receive parental benefits in four different ways:
1. The father receives paternity benefit, and the mother receives maternity benefit.
A mother goes on maternity leave and begins receiving maternity benefit 70 calendar days before the expected date of birth of the child. The father goes on paternity leave 30 calendar days before the expected date of birth of the child and begins to receive paternity benefit. The father and mother are on vacation together and receive benefits simultaneously for 30 calendar days. After the end of paternity benefit and paternity leave, parents have another 30 calendar days that they can use together to receive benefits simultaneously.
2. The father receives shared parental benefit, and the mother receives maternity benefit.
The father received paternity benefit in full (30 days) before the birth of the child. At the same time, the mother received maternity benefit, and a total of 30 days were used together. Parents still have the opportunity to receive parental benefits for another 30 days at the same time (example 1)
As soon as the child was born, the father began to receive shared parental benefit, and the child's mother received maternity benefit at the same time. In total, they can receive maternity and shared parental benefits for another 30 days. When this period ends, the parents can no longer receive parental benefits together because all 60 days of shared use have been used up.
3. The father receives paternity benefit, and the mother receives shared parental benefit.
The mother is on maternity leave and receives shared parental benefit and the parents decide to travel. The father has 30 calendar days of paternity leave and compensation remaining unused, of which he uses 15 calendar days to travel and begins to receive paternity benefit. Thus, both parents simultaneously receive parental benefits for 15 calendar days. At the end of the leave, parents will have another 45 calendar days that they can use together to receive benefits at the same time.
4. The father receives shared parental benefit, and the mother receives shared parental benefit.
The father did not want to quit his job and receive paternity benefit and paternity leave, and therefore waived paternity benefit. In this case, the father has the right to receive shared parental benefit immediately after the birth of the child. One day the father decides that he wants to receive a shared parental benefit, but the mother already receives it. In this case, the father and mother can apply for joint receipt of shared parental benefit for up to 60 calendar days.
But then we must remember that the entire period of payment of shared parental benefit is reduced by the number of days when the father and mother received shared parental benefit simultaneously, since the benefit was paid to two parents at the same time.
In this example, the main recipient of the shared parental benefit, which also includes state health insurance, is the mother. The secondary recipient of shared parental benefit is the father.
The overall period of the shared parental benefit for the mother is reduced by 60 calendar days during which the parents jointly received the shared parental benefit. For example, if the mother is assigned shared parental benefit until 31st December 2023, then the end of the payment of shared parental benefit will be moved 60 calendar days back, which means the period will be shortened until 2nd November 2023.
Options for receiving parental benefits simultaneously
Maximum number of days allowed for shared use (60 calendar days) “remaining” is reduced
The period for receiving shared parental benefit is reduced by the number of days of simultaneous use of parental benefits.
Shared parental benefit
Shared parental benefit
Shared parental benefit
Shared parental benefit
Shared parental benefit related to child’s premature birth
Shared parental benefit related to child’s premature birth
Yes, reduced but not more than 30 days
All options combined can be used in total for no more than 60 calendar days.
Exception: For parents of prematurely born children, as well as parents of triplets or twins, an exception is made: if the parents take the opportunity to receive parental benefits jointly within 60 days, the total period for receiving shared parental benefit will not be reduced by more than 30 days.
The table shows four possible combinations of how parents can receive parental benefits at the same time. It is possible to use various combinations, for example, for 30 days you can simultaneously receive maternity benefit and paternity benefit (Option 1), and later you can simultaneously receive shared parental benefit for another 30 days (Option 4), etc.
Regardless of which and how many different combinations parents decide to use together, this can be done for a maximum of 60 calendar days.
1) How can I find out how many more days parents can receive parental benefits at the same time?
As already mentioned, two parents can receive parental benefits at the same time for a maximum of 60 calendar days.
If you and your spouse received any parental benefits at the same time, these days must be subtracted from the total period.
For example, if you received paternity and maternity benefits simultaneously for 25 calendar days, you only have 35 days left that you can use together at the same time.
(60 days total – 25 days used = 35 days left)
2) Is health insurance included in shared parental benefit?
If two parents simultaneously receive shared parental benefit, health insurance applies only to one parent, who is the main recipient of the benefit.
3) How do I apply for simultaneous use of parental benefits?
If the father and mother wish to receive paternity and maternity benefits at the same time, they do not need to submit a separate application for simultaneous use, the system automatically counts these days as used together.
If parents want to receive shared parental benefit at the same time, then an application must be submitted. A parent who does not receive shared parental benefit but wants to do so at the same time as the other parent, must submit an application to the Social Insurance Board through the self-service system. The application can also be submitted to our customer service offices all around Estonia or by writing to our email address.
You can watch the video below for detailed instructions on how to submit a self-service application. (In Estonian)
4) Is it possible to plan the period of simultaneous receipt of parental benefits for short periods?
Yes, it is not necessary to receive parental benefits simultaneously for one long period and, if necessary, they can be planned for shorter periods.
5) Do parental benefits also include parental leave?
If you receive paternity and maternity benefits, leave is included automatically, since it is prohibited to work while receiving these two benefits.
Receipt of divisible parental benefit also includes the right to parental leave, but is not an obligation. The Social Insurance Board informs the employer that the employee will receive divisible parental benefit, and therefore the employee has the right to request parental leave from the employer.
6) How to apply for parental leave and who provides information to the employer?
The employee must submit an application for parental leave to the employer 30 calendar days before the start of the leave in accordance with the Employment Contract Law. The employee’s work with the employer is suspended due to parental leave.
In what amount is the shared parental benefit paid?
The amount of parental benefit is calculated for each recipient on the basis of their previous income subject to social tax. To get the base period, we will always first subtract the nine full calendar months (i.e. the average length of pregnancy, regardless of whether the child was premature, full-term or post-term) from the month of birth of the child, and base the calculation of parental benefit on the income of the preceding 12 calendar months.
If the parent did not receive income subject to social tax within these 12 calendar months, they will receive parental benefit at the rate of parental benefit, which is 654 euros in 2023, with a daily rate of 21,80 euros.
If the parent’s income was equal to or lower than minimum wage, they will receive parental benefit in the amount of the minimum wage, which is 725 euros in 2023, with a daily rate of 24,17 euros.
In 2023, the maximum amount of parental benefit is 4291,29 euros, with a maximum daily rate of 143,04 euros (in 2024 it will be 4733,53 euros, the daily rate 157,78 euros). If the parent’s income subject to social tax is equal to or exceeds 4291,29 euros, the parent will receive parental benefit at the maximum rate.
NB! All amounts of parental benefit are gross as all types of parental benefits are subject to income tax.
How is shared benefit calculated when several children are born in close succession?
If several children are born in close succession and the age gap between children is less than three years, we look at the parental benefit paid for the previous child – if it exceeds the new planned parental benefit, the mother will receive parental benefit in the same amount as before.
What does it mean that benefits are calculated according to the daily rate?
The daily rate of parental benefit is a new and significant change which does not exist in the current system. The calculation of daily rate of benefit is important because parents will be able to plan on which days of the month they wish to use the benefit.
NB! In the case of an employed mother, there is an exception: the maternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the estimated date of birth of the child. For an employed mother, this may mean that they receive maternity benefit in one amount and shared parental benefit in another. This is due to the fact that maternity benefit is calculated on the basis of the estimated date of birth of the child, while the shared parental benefit is calculated on the basis of the actual date of birth of the child.
If the benefit is calculated according to the daily rate, does it mean that the parent no longer receives the same amount of benefit each month?
Yes, it could mean that. As of 1 April 2022, the benefit will no longer be paid in the same amount each month for the following two reasons:
- The parent has wanted and planned to use the benefit in different ways in different months. For instance, the parent wishes to receive benefit for 20 days in May and for 30 days in June.
- Calendar months have a different number of days: if there are 31 days in a month, the benefit is higher by one day compared to a 30-day month.
When is the shared parental benefit paid?
Parental benefits are paid on a monthly basis for the previous calendar month.
This means that shared parental benefit for the previous month is paid on the 8th day of the following month. If the 8th day of the month falls on a weekend or public holiday, the parental benefit will be paid on the preceding working day. For example, if the 8th day of the month is a Sunday, the benefit will be paid on the 6th day of the month, i.e. on Friday.
For example, if the parent has been granted the right to 475 days of shared parental benefit, as the parent has previously expressed their wish to use the benefit consecutively from 15 September 2022 to 2 January 2024. In this case, we pay the shared parental benefit to the parent on a monthly basis for the previous month as follows:
- payment for the period 15–30 September 2022 on 7 October 2022;
- payment for the period 1–31 October 2022 on 8 November 2022;
- payment for the period 1–30 November 2022 on 8 December 2022, and so on.
Is the shared parental benefit subject to income tax?
Yes, shared parental benefit, like other types of parental benefits, is subject to income tax, however, you are entitled to exemption from income tax.
You can notify us of your wish to use the exemption from income tax when you approve the family benefits offer or at a later date upon request in the self-service portal.
You are allowed to work and earn income while receiving shared parental benefit. If your gross income per month is less than half the maximum amount of the benefit, which in 2023 is 2145,65 euros (in 2024 2366,76 euros), then the parental benefit payable to you will not be reduced. If your income is higher, please let us know in the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board, because in this case the amount of the benefit will be reduced.
In the case of earning income subject to social tax, the parental benefit is reduced according to the following formula:
Parental benefit - [(gross income – 2145,65 euros) : 2] = reduced parental benefit
We deduct half the maximum amount of parental benefit from the gross monthly income and divide the difference by two. Next, we subtract this number from the amount of parental benefit granted. The result is the new amount of reduced parental benefit.
For example, the parental benefit granted to the parent is 1,500 euros and, in the current month, the parent receives gross income of 2,000 euros. The formula for reduced parental benefit is thus as follows: 1500 – [(2200 – 2145,65) : 2] = 1500 – 27,18 = 1472,83 euros.
If the gross income received in a month is less than half the maximum amount of the benefit, which is 2145,65 euros in 2023, then the parental benefit paid will not be reduced.
Please note that if the reduced parental benefit is less than the rate of benefit, we pay the benefit at the rate of parental benefit. In 2023, the benefit rate is 654 euros.
Bear in mind!
- During the period of receiving shared parental benefit, we take into account the income received in your bank account in the same calendar month as the parental benefit!
- Shared parental benefit is a benefit subject to income tax.
- As with receiving a salary, shared parental benefit is paid for the previous month.
In what cases is the amount of shared parental benefit reduced, and in what cases an exception is made?
The amount of shared parental benefit is reduced if in the same calendar month the recipient of the benefit gets income on the bank account that is subject to social tax that exceeds half of the upper limit of the shared parental benefit - 2366.76 euros per month gross (including income received from the European Union, another European Economic Area country or Switzerland)
Note! When paying shared parental benefit we take into account the income that is credited to your bank account in the same calendar month as the shared parental benefit!
Example: Mati receives shared parental benefit and works at the same time. It is now June, and on June 10, Mati will be paid the salary of 3,000 euros gross that he earned in May. But two days earlier, Mati also received a shared parental benefit in the amount of 2,500 euros. Since Mati's salary exceeds the allowed limit (half the upper limit of the shared parental benefit, which in 2024 is 2366.76 euros per month), Mati's shared parental benefit is subject to reduction.
In exceptional cases, shared parental benefit is not subject to reduction, which is provided for in paragraph 5 of Article 44 of the Family Benefits Act.
If a person begins to receive shared parental benefit for the first time, then in the first calendar month of accrual of compensation its amount does not decrease. If the parents repeatedly change the recipient of the benefit, then in subsequent times this exception will no longer apply and the compensation will be reduced if the parent’s income was above the set limit.
In other words, exception is made only once when the person receives shared parental benefit for the first time and only for the first month.
This exception applies only to income the person earned before they began receiving shared parental benefits.
Example: A mother began receiving shared parental benefit immediately after the end of the maternity benefit payment period. The father was on paternity leave for 30 days and therefore received paternity benefit, after which he returned to work, where his salary is 3,000 euros per month. In June, the parents decide that the father will receive shared parental benefit from July. Since the salary for June is paid to the father in July, the compensation for July is subject to reduction, since the father’s salary exceeds 2366.76 euros. However, this is the first time that the father will receive shared parental benefit, therefore an exception is made and for the first month (July) the amount of compensation is not reduced. If the father continues to work and receives 3,000 euros per month, then the compensation for August will be reduced.
Am I entitled to shared parental benefit if my child dies early?
If a child dies before reaching the age of three, but later than 70 days after birth, both parents of the child are entitled to shared parental benefit for 30 consecutive calendar days from the day following the child’s death. It does not matter whether the family has already used up the shared parental benefit in full.
In order to receive the shared parental benefit, you generally do not need to contact us and submit relevant applications. The Social Insurance Board automatically receives information about the death of a child through the data exchange between the health care information system and the social protection information system in order to enable a proactive offer through the Social Insurance Board’s self-service of family benefits to parents who have lost a child. If you have not received an offer within 14 working days, please contact us via self-service.
Last updated: 23.11.2023