Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Shared parental benefit

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.

laps hoiab ema ja isa käest kinni

NB! Hereinafter, the term ‘shared parental benefit’ refers to what was previously called ‘parental benefit’. As of 1 April 2022, the names of other child-related benefits will also change: maternity benefit will be renamed in Estonian from ‘sünnitushüvitis’ to ‘ema vanemahüvitis’, but the name will remain unchanged in English; additional parental benefit for fathers will be renamed paternity benefit; and adoption benefit will be renamed adoptive parental benefit.

NB! From April 1, we will pay the maternity, father's and shared parental benefit on the basis of the daily rate. Until now, the calculation of parental benefit was on a monthly basis, the benefit was paid in exactly the same amount in each month. From 1 April, all types of parental benefits are granted at the daily rate. For the recipient of the benefit, the change means that the amount of parental benefit varies slightly from month to month, depending on the number of days in the month.

The parents will be able to use their parental benefits on a daily basis and plan on which days of the month they want to use the benefit.

FAQ about shared parental benefit

Planning and using 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 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.

Period of shared parental benefit

When does the right to use shared parental benefit start and expire?

As a general rule, parents can use shared parental benefit from the time the child reaches 31 days of age until the child turns 3 years old.

Exceptionally, fathers may already receive shared parental benefit from the birth of the child if they have used the paternity benefit before the birth of the child.

Mothers of premature babies (babies born 70 or more days before the estimated date of birth) are entitled to receive shared parental benefit after the end of maternity benefit, i.e. when then child reaches 101 days of age.

How many days can shared parental benefit be received for?

Parents have the right to receive shared parental benefit on a per-child basis. This means that parents (mother and father) are entitled to a period of shared parental benefit of the same length.

The length of the period of shared parental benefit depends on whether the mother was employed prior to the birth of the child or not.

NB! In this context, an employed mother is a mother who was in an employment relationship prior to the estimated date of birth and who is entitled to receive maternity benefit and maternity leave under the Health Insurance Act. An unemployed mother is a mother who was not in an employment relationship prior to the estimated date of birth and who is entitled to maternity benefit from the birth of the child.

If the mother of the child was employed prior to the birth of the child, the duration of shared parental benefit is generally 475 calendar days (the number of days may be higher if the mother used less days of maternity benefit – read more about maternity benefit).

If the mother did not have an employment relationship prior to the birth of the child, the duration of shared parental benefit to be divided between the parents is 515 calendar days.

Please note that while the duration of shared parental benefit in days is the same for both the mother and father, the period in which each parent is entitled to use shared parental benefit may be different. For example, if the father has used their paternity benefit prior to the birth of the child, they are already entitled to shared parental benefit from the birth of the child, whereas the mother will only have the right to shared parental benefit after the end of maternity benefit

Shared parental benefit and parental leave

Who has the right to receive parental leave?

Employed parents who are entitled to shared parental benefit have the right to take parental leave.

How do you notify the employer of taking shared parental benefit and parental leave?

The employee must submit the application for parental leave to the employer 30 calendar days before the start of the leave in accordance with the Employment Contracts Act. The employee’s employment relationship with the employer is suspended due to parental leave.

If one of the parents is on parental leave, which of the parents is able to use shared parental benefit?

Generally, it is up to the parents to decide which of them will start receiving shared parental benefit. However, if one of the parents is on parental leave, meaning their employment relationship with the employer is suspended due to childcare, then it is this parent who is entitled to shared parental benefit.

Planning of shared parental benefit by days

What does it mean to plan shared parental benefit by days?

Planning shared parental benefit by days is one of the additional flexible options added to the new parental benefit system on 1 April 2022. The new option can be used by both parents who are now already receiving parental benefit and the parents who will be receiving parental benefit from 1 April onwards.

The option to plan shared parental benefit by days offers parents more opportunities to work while caring for their child or use the benefit in parts over a longer period of time.

In the self-service portal of the Social Insurance Board the parent can view how many days of parental benefit they have already used, how many days they have planned, as well as how many parental benefit days are still unplanned or available to use. The parent can mark on which days they would like to use the benefit.

If a parent wishes to receive parental benefit for a certain part of the month and work for the other part of the month, they must take into account that working is regarded on a monthly basis. Therefore, if a parent works and receives parental benefit (even just for one day) in the same month, they must ensure that their monthly wage in 2022 is lower than 2021.54 euros. If their wage is higher, we must be notified thereof, because for this month the parental benefit must 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 – 2021.54 euros) : 2] = reduced parental benefit

If a parent whose wage exceeds the permitted wage rate does not want their parental benefit to be reduced due to working, they should not plan parental benefit days in the month they work.

.

Changing the recipient of shared parental benefit

How can the recipient of parental benefit be changed?

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.

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.

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.

If the current recipient of the parental benefit is on child care leave (as of 1 April 2022, renamed 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.

Use of shared parental benefit at the same time

 

What should be kept in mind if parents use the shared parental benefit at the same time?

The simultaneous use of shared parental benefit opens, for the first time, the possibility for parents to use parental benefit at the same time. Thanks to shared parental benefit, employed parents can take child leave at the same time for up to 60 calendar days.

Before 1 April, parental leave could be enjoyed by only one parent at a time, whereas the joint use of the shared parental benefit allows the parents to be on parental leave simultaneously for up to 60 calendar days.

Parents have the opportunity to use the parental benefit of up to 60 days together in three different ways:

  1. both parents are on parental leave from work and receive shared parental benefit;
  2. neither of the parents is on parental leave from work, but both receive shared parental benefit;
  3. one parent is on parental leave from work and both parents receive shared parental benefit.

As already mentioned above, shared parental benefit includes state health and pension insurance. If parents use shared parental benefit together, the parent who wishes to use the benefit with the current recipient can do so within 60 calendar days and also take parental leave from work. However, please keep in mind that state health and pension insurance is not extended to that parent. The state still only provides health and pension insurance to one parent of a child under the age of three. Insurance is provided to the parent who has received shared parental benefit so far.

If parents use the shared parental benefit at the same time, is the benefit period reduced and, if so, by how much?

The initial period of shared parental benefit is reduced only if the parents together use the shared parental benefit, in particular.

If parents use other types of benefits at the same time – maternity and paternity benefit or a combination of paternity benefit and shared parental benefit – only the 60 calendar days allocated for simultaneous use will be reduced.

However, if parents use the shared parental benefit together at the same time, the period of parental benefit is reduced faster.

For example, the parents decide to travel together and wish to use shared parental benefit at the same time during the holiday. The mother is the current recipient of shared parental benefit and is on parental leave from work. The father now also takes parental leave from work for 60 calendar days and submits an application to the employer. On the basis of the father’s parental leave application, the employer enters the parental leave in the employment register. In the self-service portal, the father plans 60 days of shared parental benefit to be used on the same time with the mother. The parents both receive the benefit and go on vacation. As both parents receive shared parental benefit at the same time in the same month, the entire period of shared parental benefit is reduced twofold for one month (it is reduced twofold because there are two recipients of parental benefit). Therefore, if initially the shared parental benefit was set to end on 27 October 2023 (child was born on 10 June 2022), now it will end 60 days earlier on 28 August 2023.

Are there any exceptions for parents of premature babies or parents of multiples with regard to the use of parental benefit at the same time?

Yes, there is an exception for parents of premature babies and parents of triplets and beyond: if parents use the opportunity of receiving shared parental benefit together for 60 days, the total period of their parental leave is not reduced by more than 30 days.

Amount and calculation of shared parental benefit

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 584 euros in 2022, with a daily rate of 19.47 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 654 euros in 2022, with a daily rate of 21.8 euros.

In 2022, the maximum amount of parental benefit is 4043.07 euros, with a maximum daily rate of 134.77 euros. If the parent’s income subject to social tax is equal to or exceeds 4043.07 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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. payment for the period 15–30 September 2022 on 7 October 2022;
  2. payment for the period 1–31 October 2022 on 8 November 2022;
  3. 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.

Working while receiving shared parental benefit

Am I allowed to work while receiving shared parental benefit?

Yes, 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 2022 is 2021.54 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 – 2021.54 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: 1,500 - [(2,000 – 1,910.77) : 2] = 1,500 – 44.615 = 1,455.385 euros.

If the gross income received in a month is less than half the maximum amount of the benefit, which is 2021.54 euros in 2022, 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 2022, the benefit rate is 584 euros.

Shared parental benefit and the 2022 transitional period

How will the changes of 1 April affect parents who are already receiving parental benefit?

All parents who have received their parental benefit under the old regulations but have not fully exhausted their period of entitlement to parental benefit can make use of the new possibilities offered by the parental benefit system that enters into force on 1 April. For instance, parents can use their parental benefit on a daily basis, or simultaneously for up to 60 calendar days. The current option of earning income whilst receiving the parental benefit will continue to apply so that parents could adjust their workload while raising their child. As before, parents can switch their beneficiary status from the following month.

NB! The amounts of the parental benefit will be recalculated for all parents as of 1 April. The reason behind this is that as from 1 April 2022 we will calculate the parental benefit for all beneficiaries according to the daily rate, including for parents who received the benefit prior to 1 April.

Previously, the amount of the parental benefit remained the same each month whereas from 1 April the monthly amount could vary.

What will change for parents whose child’s estimated date of birth is between 1 April and 9 June 2022?

If the estimated date of birth of the child is between 1 April and 9 June 2022, the previous system of parental benefits applies, under which the mother receives pregnancy and maternity leave and maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘sünnitushüvitis’). However, after the end of pregnancy and maternity leave, parents will be entitled to receive parental benefit under the new system. These parents have the right to use all the opportunities available to parents who receive maternity benefit (in Estonian ‘ema vanemahüvitis’) and shared parental benefit.

Shared parental benefit and health and pension insurance

What should be kept in mind regarding shared parental benefit and health insurance?

Since the shared parental benefit also includes state health and pension insurance, parents must definitely keep this in mind when changing the recipient of the parental benefit. That is because the parent who receives parental benefit is the one who is insured.

If and how is it possible to change the receipt of health and pension insurance between the parents?

The parent who has been granted shared parental benefit is insured with the state health and pension insurance intended for a parent of a child under three years of age. 

The recipient of state health insurance can be changed by parents upon request when all the days of shared parental benefit have been used, neither of the parents is on parental leave, and the child is under three years of age. In this case, the parents can submit an application to us in the self-service portal and ask for the state health and pension insurance payments of the current recipient to be terminated and transferred in favour of the other parent instead.

If the parents do not wish to change the recipient of the health and pension insurance after the end of the shared parental benefit, the state will continue to pay for the health and pension insurance of the parent who was the last recipient of shared benefit.

In the case of parents of a child under the age of three, the state will pay health and pension insurance payments for one parent who may work or not. The payments will end when the child attains three years of age.