Maternity leave


Maternity leave is compulsory for every employee who has given birth to a child, regardless of the type of their employment contract.

The length of maternity leave depends on the number of born children:

  • 20 weeks in case of giving birth to one child
  • 31 weeks in case of giving birth to two children
  • 33 weeks – in case of giving birth to three children
  • 35 weeks in case of giving birth to four children
  • 37 weeks – in the case of the birth of five and more children

The employee may take up to 6 weeks of maternity leave before the planned date of childbirth, but this time will be deducted proportionally from the leave entitlement. If you do not take maternity leave before childbirth, then maternity leave begins on the day of it. A week of maternity leave is every seven days from the first day of maternity leave.

After childbirth, you must take 14 weeks of leave. You may resign from the remaining six weeks of leave and return to work, provided that the rest of maternity leave is used by the father or the father will resign from the job and take care of the child. In this case, the employee requests the employer to resign from using part of the maternity leave at least 7 days before the planned commencement of work. The employer must agree to the application.

Maternity leave – how much is paid?

If a worker declares that she wishes to take parental leave after maternity leave, she may continue to receive 80 per cent of her salary. The second option is 100 per cent of the pay for 20 weeks and 60 per cent during the period of parental leave that follows.

Maternity leave – do you get it if you work on a contract of mandate?

If you work on a civil law contract, you can start paying sickness insurance contributions voluntarily. That gives you the right to paid maternity leave, regardless of the duration of the contract.

If you don’t pay sickness insurance, you are unemployed, or a student can get the so-called kosiniakowe. It is a benefit for young mothers – a 1000 PLN that you get for 12 months after childbirth. All mothers who do not have the right to maternity leave qualify for kosiniakowe.

Can I work on maternity leave?

In many cases, maternity and parental leave mean a reduction in the household budget, which is why there is the possibility of working during parental leave. There are no clear guidelines for working on maternity leave. However, it is worth knowing a few rules that allow you to earn money at the time.

If you are on maternity leave, you can’t be employed with the employer by whom you applied for this leave – you can’t get another employment contract at the same workplace (but it is possible on parental leave).

During maternity leave, you can work on an employment contract by another employer, even full-time, without losing the maternity benefit.

An employee, even immediately after childbirth, can work on civil law contract with both her employer and any other entity. It will not affect the maternity benefit.

During maternity leave, you can start your own business. That is an excellent solution for many people because they regulate their working time, allowing for combining paid work with childcare. There is no risk of loss or reduction of benefit in this case. A woman must pay compulsory contributions and pay business tax.

The above-mentioned solution enables to suspend or close down the business after the end of maternity leave and return to full-time employment. But you can also switch exclusively to self-employment or combine both forms of work.

Special situations related to maternity leave

The Labour Code also regulates specific cases such as the mother or child being in a hospital or other medical facility, the death of the mother or child, etc. In these cases, it is possible to use part of the maternity leave by the child’s father or another member of the immediate family if they are employed or insured.

Hospitalisation – in a situation where the child is in hospital and requires hospital care, an employee who’s been on maternity leave for at least eight weeks after childbirth can suspend it and use the remaining part after the child leaves the hospital.The employee may discontinue the use of maternity leave for the period of stay in the hospital or medical facility, after using eight weeks of this leave after childbirth. The rest of the maternity leave for this period must be used by the father or another family member.

Death of a child – if a child dies before eight weeks old, the employee is entitled to maternity leave for eight weeks after childbirth, not shorter than a week from the date of the child’s death.If a child dies after 

weeks, the employee retains the right to maternity leave for a week after the death.

Death of a mother – if the mother dies during maternity leave, an employee – a father raising a child or an employee – another immediate family member, is entitled to the part of maternity leave falling after the mother’s death.

Transfer of the right happens even if the mother was not covered or had no right to be covered by social insurance in the event of illness and maternity. A father or an employee – another immediate family member then submits a written application for a part of maternity leave. The employer must agree to it.

Protection of workers on maternity leave

Workers on maternity leave shall enjoy special protection. During maternity leave, the employer can’t terminate the employment contract. A mother on the leave can be fired only due to her fault, and when the trade union representing the employee has agreed to it (the situation does not apply to the employee during a probationary period below one month).

In the case of an employment contract concluded for a definite period or for a probationary period exceeding one month, which would terminate after the third month of pregnancy, it shall extend until the date of childbirth. However, this does not apply to a fixed-term employment contract concluded to replace the employee during a justified absence from work. Only in the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the employer, the employer may terminate the employment contract by notice during maternity leave. The employer must come to terms with the termination date with the trade union representing the employee. If it is impossible to provide another employment during this period, the workers are entitled to benefits specified in separate regulations (benefit in the amount of maternity benefit). The period when they receive these benefits shall include in the period of employment on which the employee’s entitlement depends.

After the end of maternity leave, the employer shall admit the employee to work in a previous position. If this is not possible, the work must be equivalent to that occupied before the leave or correspond to the professional qualifications. The remuneration must equal the money she would have received had she not taken the leave.

Legal basis

The Act of 26 June 1974, the Labor Code (Journal of Laws of 2020, item 1320, as amended);

Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 8 December 2015 on applications regarding the rights of employees related to parenthood and documents attached to such applications (Journal of Laws of 2015, item 2243

The Act of 25 June 1999 on cash benefits from social insurance in case of illness and maternity of Laws of 2021, item 1133).