The maternity benefit (known as ‘Επίδομα Μητρότητας’ in Greek) is payable monthly during the maternity leave period to pregnant women, newborn mothers and stepmothers of children under 12 years old if they are legally employed, voluntary contributors working abroad for a Cypriot employer or insured self-employed women.
To be eligible for maternity benefit a woman must:
- be on maternity leave and not be receiving the full salary or wage from her employer. If during this period she receives reduced wages, the amount of such wages and the payable maternity benefit should not exceed the full wage;
- have paid and / or accumulated social insurance contributions for at least 26 weeks before the week in which her maternity leave begins,
- have paid and / or accumulated contributions up to the date of her maternity allowance of at least 26 times the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings* (0.50 insurance points);
- have paid and / or assimilated contributions of at least 20 times the weekly amount of basic insurable earnings* (0.39 insurance points) in the previous contribution year.
Additionally, a maternity grant is payable after the birth of each child if the mother, or her spouse, satisfies the related insurance conditions.
The maternity benefit consists of a basic benefit and a supplementary benefit calculated on a weekly basis:
- the weekly rate of the basic benefit is equal to 75% of the weekly basic covered earnings* of the last year, increased to 80%, 90% and 100% for one, two or three dependants respectively (maximum three dependants). A spouse is considered dependant if he / she is neither working nor receiving any other benefit from the Social Insurance Fund;
- the weekly rate of the supplementary benefit is equal to 75% of average weekly covered earnings which are exceeding the basic covered earnings of the last year, up to the maximum amount of covered earnings**.
*The weekly amount of basic insurable earnings is €174.38. This amount is adjusted once a year according to the changes in wages.
**The maximum amount of weekly covered earnings is €1,046.
The maternity benefit is payable monthly for a period of 18 consecutive weeks starting from 2 to 9 weeks before the week of the expected birth, or the actual birth date in case the application is submitted after the child was born. The maternity benefit is paid for 16 weeks to stepmothers of adopted children under 12 years old.
The claimant must apply at the nearest Social Insurance Office within 21 days before the date when the maternity leave starts. The application must contain the form for maternity leave benefit signed by the applicant, her employer and her doctor, together with the following documents:
- a medical certificate from the doctor that proves the stage of the pregnancy;
- a medical certificate from the hospital or medical centre, in case the child was born premature, which proves the child is under medical supervision for over 21 days;
- birth certificate in case of an adopted child;
- an adoption certificate from the responsible authority (if applicable);
- a statement of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) signed and stamped by the applicant’s bank with the full details of the bank account where the transfer will be made.
The application can be submitted from the 7th month of pregnancy. If the application is submitted after the childbirth, then the payment period is defined based on the birth date and not the expected date of birth.
During the 1st trimester of their pregnancy all women must take a blood test to calculate the risk of Down's Syndrome (the most common cause of severe mental disability). The test can be done free of charge or at reduced fees if the mother owns a Cyprus medical card or at any private hospitals or medical centres in Cyprus.
For more information on maternity benefit contact the Department of Social Insurance of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance.
It is also important to know the legal rights of the pregnant and newborn employed mothers as regards to their employment.