Extension of parental leave and maternity benefit


Taking advantage of all leaves related to parenthood, we can spend the whole year looking after our child. However, after some time it may turn out that the allowance does not cover all your needs. Then the employees decide to return to work. Is it possible at all? What does the extension of parental leave involve and how does it affect the maternity allowance you receive? The answer can be found below.

Who is entitled to parental leave?

Parental leave is granted to persons covered by sickness insurance. This means that it can be used not only by employees working under a contract of employment, but also by:

  • contractors,

  • persons running a business

- provided that they reported their willingness to pay a voluntary sickness contribution.


Parental leave cannot be used if it has not been preceded by maternity leave. This is the main and inherent condition.

It is also not stated that only the biological parents of the child are entitled to this leave. The following persons are also entitled to it:

  • adopting a child,

  • accepting a child as a foster family (but not as a professional foster family!)

The dimension of parental leave

From 2016, parental leave has a higher dimension. The extension of the parental leave resulted in the inclusion of additional maternity leave. Therefore, it is awarded in the following dimensions:

  • 32 weeks - in the case of birth, adoption, adoption for upbringing of one child,

  • 34 weeks - when more than one child was born, adopted or adopted for upbringing.

There is no obligation to use parental leave at one time, it is possible to divide it into 4 parts - none of which should be shorter than 8 weeks, but there are also exceptions to that. They are given in Art. 1821c § 4 of the Labor Code.

art. 1821c Labor Code:

§ 4. No part of the parental leave may be shorter than 8 weeks, with the exception of:

1) the first part of the parental leave, which in the case of:

a) the birth of one child in one delivery cannot be shorter than 6 weeks,

b) acceptance by an employee referred to in art. 183 § 1, for the upbringing of a child up to the age of 7, and in the case of a child who has been decided to postpone compulsory education, to the age of 10, it may not be less than 3 weeks;

2) a situation where the remaining leave to be taken is shorter than 8 weeks.

It is also important that both parents can take parental leave at the same time. Then, however, the total number of weeks may not exceed 32 or 34 weeks.So the parental leave is not extended, but its proportional division.

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Example 1.

Helena takes 34 weeks of parental leave. After 6 weeks, she and her husband agree to use the remainder (28 weeks) together at the same time. In this situation, after a proportional division of leave (28 weeks: 2 people), each spouse will be entitled to 14 weeks.

Extension of parental leave after starting work

There are no obstacles to combine taking parental leave with work. In such a case, the working time cannot exceed of a full-time job, which results in an extension of the parental leave.


It is possible to start work after submitting an appropriate application, which should be received by the employer no later than 21 days before the employee starts performing his / her duties.

Pursuant to the regulations, in the event of employment, parental leave may be extended up to a maximum of:

  • 64 weeks (birth, adoption, adoption for upbringing of one child),

  • 68 weeks (birth, adoption, adoption for upbringing of more than one child).

The period by which the parental leave is extended is the product of the number of weeks of combining the leave with work and the amount of working time taken by the employee.

Example 2.

Ms Marta takes 32 weeks of parental leave. After 16 weeks, she decided to return to work for her current employer on a quarter time basis. The employer accepted the application, which means that in 21 days (3 weeks), Marta will start working after 19 weeks of parental leave. How to determine extension of parental leave?

  • Extendable part of parental leave:

32 weeks - 19 weeks = 13 weeks

  • Determining the extension of parental leave:

19 weeks x ¼ full time job = 52 weeks

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Extension of parental leave and maternity benefit

It is known that for the time of leave related to parenthood, you are entitled to a maternity allowance. If parental leave is combined with work, is the employee deprived of such a benefit? Not! If the employee decides to do so, the benefit he or she will receive will be reduced proportionally to the amount of working time taken. So the extension of the parental leave will also extend the right to receive the benefit.


The person running the activity does not have to stop it in connection with receiving the maternity allowance - he may continue to perform it. The right to this benefit will also not be lost by the person who takes up employment under a civil law contract (mandate contract or contract for specific specific work).

Example 3.

Ms Magdalena started working for her current employer half-time, still on parental leave. She has already taken 20 out of 32 weeks of her leave. In this case, it will be extended to 24 weeks (the remaining 12 weeks: ½ full-time employment). For the entire period of leaves related to parenthood, Magdalena receives a maternity allowance in the amount of 80% of its calculation basis. This means that when you start working part-time, the benefit will be 40% of the calculation basis.