According to the Parental Leave and Leave on Grounds of Force Majeure Law of 2012, working men and women have the right to take unpaid paternal leave in order to take care of their children less than 8 years old or adopted children less than 12 years old. The claimant must have worked at least six continuous months for the same employer in order to be entitled to paternal leave.
Each parent is entitled to 18 weeks parental leave for each of their newborn or adopted child provided that they meet the above requirement. In case of parents of more children born on the same day (twins, triplets, etc), the parental leave is 18 weeks for each child. Widow mothers are entitled to 23 weeks paternal leave for each child.
One parent is allowed to transfer two weeks of their remaining parental leave to the other parent, provided that she / he took at least 2 weeks parental leave.
If both parents work for the same employer, they have the right to decide between them who will take parental leave, on which periods and for how long. They can also take paternal leave simultaneously upon their employer approval.
When Can Somebody Take Paternal Leave?
In case of natural parents the paternal leave can be claimed:
- after the maternity leave finishes and before the child`s 8th birthday, by the mothers;
- after the child is born and until the child turns 8 years old, by the fathers.
In case of adopted children under 12 years old, the adoptive mothers are entitled to paternal leave within a period of 8 years after the maternity period finishes or starting from the date of the adoption.
In case of children with disabilities, the paternal leave can be claimed anytime before the children turn 18.
Employed parents of one or two children are allowed to take parental leave for a minimum period of one week up to 5 weeks for each calendar year. In case of employed parents with at least three children the paternal leave can be claimed for minimum period of 1 week up to 7 weeks maximum for each calendar year.
How the Paternal Leave Can Be Taken?
The employee must notify their employer in writing about the exact period she / he intends to take parental leave at least three weeks in advanced. Only in case of serious illness or other limited conditions the notification period can be one week. In case of rejection, the employer must notify the employee in writing and mention the reason of such decision. The employer may request the employee in writing to present within 7 days the reasons of applying for paternal leave. The employer must respond to the employee’s application for paternal leave within two weeks from the date of the application.
The employer can decide to postpone the paternal leave period after consulting the employee, for justifiable reasons related to the business operation. Such reasons may include:
- seasonal businesses;
- situations when it is impossible to find a replacement for the period requested;
- a significant increased amount of the workforce is needed especially during the required period and the employee’s duties are of strategic importance to the company.
The period of postponement cannot exceed six months from the date the employer gives the employee written notice.
The employer is allowed to terminate the parental leave if there are enough reasons to believe that the leave is being used for a different purpose than that of taking care of a child. In this case the employer must notify in writing the employee and request to present her / his arguments within 7 days. The employee must respond in writing and the employer must consider these arguments before the final decision. If the final decision is to terminate the paternal leave the employee must be notified in writing at least 7 days before. In this case the employee is obliged to return to work. The period which follows the employee’s return cannot be considered as parental leave.
Rights and Obligations of the Employee
The paternal leave is considered as normal employment period for the purpose of determining the entitlement to annual leave with pay, salary rise, seniority and other employment rights except the right to remuneration. Upon termination of paternal leave the employee has the right to return to the same job or to an equivalent position within the company.
During the paternal leave the employees’ contributions are paid by the Social Insurance Department. Following the expiration of any parental leave period, the employee must notify the nearest Social Insurance Services Office within 3 months by completing the relevant paternal leave form. The employees, who can prove that due to a serious cause they couldn’t notify the Social Insurance Department in time, can get an extension for as long as the cause stands up to 12 months upon approval from the Director of the Department.
An employer cannot fire an employee or give any notice of termination, starting from the date of the employee’s application for paternal leave until the expiration of such period. The employer cannot terminate the employment contract due to any reasons that concern the employees’ paternal leave.