Maternity and paternity rights

All parents in the labour market have the rights to maternity/paternity and parental leave. This applies equally to employed and self-employed parents. Parent outside the labour market and fulltime students have the rights to maternity/paternity grants according to Act on Maternity/paternity Leave and Parental Leave, No. 95/2000.

The main aim of the act is to ensure a child’s access to both parents and to enable both women and men to balance and manage family and work life.

The maternity/paternity leave fund takes care of the payments to parents that have the rights to payment during the parental leave.

Further informationcan be found here. 

Maternity and paternity leave

  • The right to maternity/paternity leave and arrangements

    According to the act on Maternity/paternity Leave and Parental Leave, No. 95/2000 it is a leave from salaried employment that is instigated by giving birth, by a primary adoption of a child under the age of eight years, or permanent foster care of a child under the age of eight.

    The length of the leave for parent depends on the year the child is born. If the child is born in 2021 the leave is 12 months, six months for each parent, where six weeks of them can be divided between the parents. Therefore, one of the parents can take seven months and two weeks while the other takes four months and two weeks. For children born in 2020 the rights are ten months, each parent is entitled four months and two months can be divided between them. For children born in 2019 or earlier the rights are three months for each parent and three months divided between them, nine months altogether. Maternity/paternity leave can be taken for the first two years or 24 months after birth of a child. The rights for parents that adopt or take a child into permanent foster care are valid for 24 months after the child enters the home.

    When a parent enters maternity/paternity leave it is no longer on the payroll of its employer and gets paid from the maternity/paternity leave fund after fulfilling certain requirements. The monthly pay from the fund is 80% of average gross pay, with limitations though, the maximum payment is 600.000 ISK.

  • Notification of maternity/paternity leave

    An employee that going to take leave should inform their employer as soon as possible and no later than 8 weeks prior to the estimated date of birth.

  • Protection against termination and the right to return to employment

    The employment relations are unchanged during maternity/paternity leave and parental leave. The employee shall have the right to return to their former job after the leave. If that is not possible, they shall be entitled to a similar position/employment according to employment contract.

    It is prohibited to dismiss an employee who has notified its employer intended maternity/paternity or parental leave without reasonable grounds. A written statement shall follow the dismissal, the same applies to dismissal of a pregnant women and women that have recently given birth.

  • Parental leave

    Parental leave is every parent’s right after, given birth, adoption, or long-term fostering for unpaid leave. The leave is for four months for each child, so the parent can stay at home and take care of the child. The leave can be taken until a child is eight years old and can be expanded by a year in certain circumstances. If a child has a difficult disease or long term or a serious disability the rights extends to the age of 18. The parental leave is an independent right and is non-transferable.

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