Since April 2017, salaried and self-employed women are equally eligible for maternity leave, maternity benefits and access to childcare. Before that date, only salaried workers could take maternity leave and received maternity benefits.
Access to maternity leave, maternity benefits and childcare was extended to self-employed women to address the low employment rates for mothers and the high-level of family care for children (79.8% of children under the age of three are cared for by parents, above the EU average of 47.3%). The changes aim to equalise the situation for all working women and provide an incentive for more women to enter the labour market, especially as self-employed workers.
Through the Social Insurance Act, self-employed women are eligible for both maternity leave and benefits (Materské) if they have been covered with a sickness insurance scheme for at least 270 days in the two years before childbirth1. Eligible self-employed women are entitled to a maternity leave of up to 34 weeks (6-8 weeks pre-natal and 26-28 weeks post-natal). They receive a maternity benefit equal to 75% of their precedent working year daily earnings (capped at twice the national average monthly wage) and are exempted from social insurance contributions during their maternity leave. The maternity benefit is provided by the Social Insurance Agency as a contributory benefit (replacing or supporting earnings).
Since April 2017, self-employed women with children under the age of three also qualify for placement in childcare services provided by the state, or receive reimbursements for such services provided by other facilities.
Over 2014-20, EUR 17.5 million have been allocated to modernise the benefit agendas (which includes the Materské) as part of the Social Insurance Agency’s initiative for Effective Public Administration. Monitoring data show that usage of these maternity benefits is high as maternity leave as it is obligatory but a formal evaluation of the impact of these reforms is not available as their introduction is fairly recent.
- Social Insurance Agency, ‘Maternity Benefits’
- Act No. 311/2001 – Labour Code (as amended), available in English
- Daniel Gerbery, ‘Leave Network Report: Slovak Republic’
- Act No. 461/2003 on Social Insurance, part VI, available in English
- OECD, ‘Inclusive Entrepreneurship Policies, Country Assessment Notes: Slovak Republic, 2020’
- Efektívne služby SP v oblasti sociálneho poistenia, available only in Slovak
- Daniel Gerbery, ‘ESPN Flash Report 2018/60: Improving access to formal childcare for children under three in Slovakia’ (July 2018)