Maternity Leave (Right)

Hebrew source: חופשת לידה
From All Rights (Kol-Zchut) (www.kolzchut.org.il)

Introduction:

An employee who has worked at least one year for an employer or in the same place of employment is entitled to a maternity leave of 26 weeks (only part of which is paid)
Employees who have worked less than 12 months for the same employer are entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave (some or all of which is paid, in accordance with the conditions for eligibility for a maternity allowance)
An employee's entitlement to receive a maternity allowance (maternity pay) during maternity leave is determined on the basis of the period in which she made National Insurance payments
An employer may not prevent an employee from taking maternity leave or fire an employee during the leave or for 60 days thereafter
Men are entitled to share maternity leave with their spouse and with the woman’s consent, to take paternity leave that overlaps the woman’s leave for a week
For further information see Maternity Leave on the Ministry of Economy and Industry's website, as well as Article 6 of the Women's Labor Law
Warning
This entry is about maternity leave and not maternity pay
This entry discusses the length of the maternity leave, during which the employee is permitted to be absent from work because of the birth (according to the Women's Labor Law).
A separate entry, Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay), discusses the part of the maternity leave during which the employee is paid a maternity allowance by the National Insurance Institute.

Employees who have worked at least 12 months for the same employer or at the same place of employment are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave (the period of birth and parental leave).

  • An employee who has worked less than 12 months for the same employer or at the same place of employment is entitled to 15 weeks of maternity leave (women who gave birth before January 1, 2017 are entitled to 14 weeks' leave).
  • Seven weeks of the leave can be taken before the anticipated date of the birth (or less, if the woman wishes) and the rest can be taken after the birth.
  • It is important to note that the National Insurance Institute pays for only part of the leave. For more information, see Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay).
  • The woman is entitled to divide the maternity leave with her spouse, as detailed below.
  • The employee continues to accrue social benefits that are given based on seniority during his/her maternity leave (see details [[#Social Benefits During Maternity Leave|below).
  • Any employee, regardless of seniority (ותק), is entitled to take Unpaid Leave Following Maternity Leave, during which, and for 60 days afterwards, she may not be fired.

Who is Eligible?

A salaried employee who has given birth

  • An employee who has worked at least 12 months for the same employer or in the same place of employment is entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave.
  • An employee who has worked for less than 12 months for the same employer or in the same place of employment is entitled to a 15-week maternity leave. (For a birth prior to January 1, 2017, she is entitled to a 14-week maternity leave.)
  • An employee is entitled to maternity leave even if the fetus/baby died after the birth.
  • Article 39 of the National Insurance Law defines "birth" as the birth of a live fetus (in any of the weeks of pregnancy) or a birth after 22 weeks of pregnancy
    • Accordingly, the accepted interpretation is that women who have had an abortion or termination of pregnancy after the 22nd week are considered to be women who have given birth, and they are entitled to the same rights and legal protections as women who gave birth to a live baby.
    • For information about an abortion before the 23rd week, see Employment Rights After an Abortion.

The spouse of a woman who gave birth

  • The spouse of a woman who gave birth may take maternity leave in the following situations:
    • If a mother entitled to maternity leave has chosen to cut it short, once 6 weeks after the birth have passed, her spouse may replace her and take the remaining period of the maternity leave.
    • A spouse of a woman giving birth who is entitled to maternity leave, is entitled to take a one-week paternity leave at the same time as the woman's maternity leave, as long as the woman forfeits, in writing, her maternity pay for the last week in which she was entitled to it.
    • A spouse of a woman who gave birth but the child is with him and he is its exclusive caregiver because the woman is disabled or ill, and a doctor provides written confirmation that because of her disability or illness, the woman is not able to care for the child.
  • For further information, see Spouse's Paternity Leave below.

Others

Payment of maternity allowance during maternity leave

  • While an employee is on maternity leave she is not entitled to be paid a salary, but for some of the period, she is entitled to be paid a Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay) by the National Insurance Institute, based on the period for which national insurance taxes were paid for her.
    • An employee who paid national insurance taxes for 10 out of the 14 months preceding her maternity leave, or 15 out of the 22 months preceding her maternity leave is entitled to a maternity allowance for 15 weeks of the maternity leave. (For births before January 1, 2017, she is entitled to a maternity allowance for 14 weeks.)
    • An employee who paid national insurance taxes for 6 out of the 14 months preceding her maternity leave is entitled to a maternity allowance for 8 weeks of the maternity leave. (For births before January 1, 2017, she is entitled to a maternity allowance for 7 weeks.)
  • The employee is not entitled to any payment or maternity allowance for the remaining weeks of the maternity leave, but she continues to accrue benefits based on her seniority (ותק) in her place of employment during those weeks.
Example
  • A worker who worked one year and 3 months in her place of work is entitled to a maternity leave of 26 weeks.
  • The worker paid national insurance for at least 15 of the 22 months preceding the time she went on maternity leave.
  • She will be paid a Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay) for 15 out of the 26 weeks of her maternity leave. The remaining 11 weeks are unpaid.
Example
  • A woman who worked 6 months in her place of work is entitled to a maternity leave of 15 weeks.
  • The worker paid national insurance for at least 6 of the 14 months preceding the time she went on maternity leave.
  • She will be paid a Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay) for 8 out of the 15 weeks of her maternity leave. The remaining 7 weeks are unpaid.
Example
  • A woman who worked 10 months in her place of work is entitled to a maternity leave of 15 weeks.
  • The worker paid national insurance for at least 10 of the 14 months preceding the time she went on maternity leave.
  • She will be paid a Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay) for all 15 weeks of her maternity leave.
  • For more information on eligibility and benefit amount calculation see Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay).
  • Shortening Maternity Leave

    • An employee who worked at least 12 months, is entitled to shorten her maternity leave provided that the maternity leave is not less than 15 weeks.
    • An employee whose spouse took maternity leave during the last week in which the woman is entitled to a maternity allowance is entitled to return to her work during that week provided that she waived the maternity allowance for that week.
      • If the employee is entitled to a 15-week maternity allowance, she may return to work after 14 weeks.
      • If the employee is entitled to a maternity allowance for 8 weeks, she may return to work after 7 weeks.
      • The mother may remain on maternity leave during this week in parallel to her spouse (but will not be entitled be paid maternity allowance for that week.) For further information, see Maternity Leave for a Spouse.
    • If an employee informs her employer that she would like to return to work early from maternity leave, the employer may not delay her return more than 3 weeks (meaning if an employee wishes to return to work at the end of the 15 week paid maternity leave period, she should inform her employer of this in the 12th week of maternity leave in order that her return not be delayed more than 3 weeks).
    • If an employee has decided to shorten her maternity leave and return to work, her spouse may utilize the remaining maternity leave instead of her starting from the seventh week following birth. (In order for the spouse to be entitled to a maternity allowance during this period, he must stay on maternity leave for at least 7 days - for more information, see Maternity Allowance for the Spouse of a Woman Giving Birth).
    • Additionally, maternity leave may be shortened in the following cases, provided that there is the consent of the employee and written approval from a physician, and provided that the period of leave will be at least three weeks after birth:
      • The fetus dies.
      • A woman who gave birth and put her baby up for adoption, or is a surrogate mother provided that within 14 days from birth the employee gives the employer a written notice regarding their agreement to shorten maternity leave, and notes the date on which they intend to conclude their maternity leave.

    Extending Paid Maternity Leave

    Multiple births

    • A woman who gave birth to more than one baby in the same labor is entitled to extend the maternity leave by 3 weeks for each additional child born and receive a maternity allowance for this period:
      • A mother entitled to a maternity allowance for a 15 weeks is entitled to extend it by 3 weeks for each additional child born and receive maternity allowance for this period (someone who gives birth to twins is entitled to maternity leave and a maternity allowance for 18 weeks, while someone who gives birth to triplets is entitled to maternity leave and a maternity allowance for 21 weeks, etc.).
      • A mother entitled to a maternity allowance for a 8 weeks, is entitled to extend it by 3 weeks for each additional child born and receive maternity allowance pay for 2 of the 3 week extension (someone who gives birth to twins is entitled to maternity leave and a maternity allowance for 10 weeks, while someone who gives birth to triplets is entitled to maternity leave and a maternity allowance for 12 weeks, etc.).

    Hospitalization of the mother or the newborn


    How to Claim It?

    Social Benefits During Maternity Leave

    • Maternity leave does not negatively impact employees' seniority (ותק) at their place of employment.
    • During maternity leave, employees continue to accrue seniority with regard to social benefits, such as convalescence pay (דמי הבראה), annual vacation time, sick days, and severance pay (פיצויי פיטורים). An employees accumulation of seniority does not stop due to maternity leave, and the legal relationship between an employer and an employee does not stop (you can find reference to the laws and extension orders relevant to the specific rights.)
    • However, the number of annual vacation days that the employee is entitled to during the year of the maternity leave is determined by the number of days that he/she actually worked during that year. For information regarding the calculation of the number of vacation days see here.
    Example
    • A woman who works full-time, 5 days a week and began working on 01.01.2015.
    • In 2017 (her third year of work) she went on maternity leave and worked only 100 days total that year.
    • Her legal relationship with her employer did not stop and she continues to accrue seniority. She is entitled to a gross number of 16 vacation days as if she worked that entire year.
    • Because she worked less than 200 days that year she is entitled to a relative number of the gross number of vacation days she is entitled to vacation days based on the number of days she actually worked relative to 200.
    • חישוב חופשה שנתית 200.jpg
    • The employee is entitled to 8 days gross (6 days in practice) in 2017 according to the following calculation: 100 divide buy 200 multiplied by 16 (gross number of days) - this is 8 days (gross, including Friday and Saturday), so she is entitled to 6 days net of vacation.

    Tax Benefits for an Employee on Maternity Leave

    • An employee on maternity leave is entitled to income tax benefits in the tax year in which the baby is born.
    Example
    An employee who went on maternity leave and received Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay) should be eligible for income tax refund, as the income tax deducted from his/her salary before leaving for maternity leave is calculated based on salary level and not on amount of maternity pay, which tends to be less. For example, see the income tax refund page.
    • When a child is born, both parents are entitled to income tax credit points (retroactive from the beginning of that year) even if they did not take maternity leave.
      • If the employee returned to work before the end of the tax year (that the child was born in) he/she should updated form 101 right away, before the end of the tax year. Updating before the end of the year enables the employer to grant the employee the benefit on his/her pay slip retroactively for the entire year.
      • If the employee returns to work after the end of the tax year (ie the maternity leave started in one year but the employee went back to work in the following year), a request for a tax refund for the year that the child was born should be submitted.
    Example
    A woman who went on maternity leave in October 2017 and returned to work in January 2018.
    • As a result of the birth, the woman is entitled to tax exemption points for all of 2017.
    • Because 2017 has ended she can not get the benefit through her salary and instead she has to submit a tax refund request for 2017.
    • Please note: Filling out form 101 at the beginning of 2018 does not cause a retroactive credit for 2017. If the employee did not receive the credit in 2017, he/she can submit a tax refund request to the tax assessor in 2018.

    For information on tax credit points granted to employees that become parents see:

    Please Note

    • It is prohibited to fire an employee while on maternity leave.
    • Maternity Leave is for a continuous period of time, except in cases where it is split due to hospitalization of the mother or infant. Festivals or days of mourning do not stop maternity leave. The mother or her spouse is not entitled to extended vacation due to these events.
    • Mothers on maternity leave are entitled to assistance in paying for childcare.
    • Travel abroad during maternity leave:
      • Regarding the mother- there is nothing in the law preventing overseas travel during maternity leave, and it does not impair the entitlement to Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay).
      • Regarding the mother's spouse - Travel abroad stops the period of parental leave that the spouse is eligible for maternity pay, both in situations where the spouse takes the leave simultaneously to the mother and if he takes the maternity in place of the mother. (If the spouse travels abroad before completing 7 consecutive days of leave, he also looses the right to receive maternity pay for the days of leave he took before he left the country.)
    • Monthly maternity pension for those who have 3 or more children at a time:
      • Someone who has become a parent to 3 or more children at the same time (a woman who gave birth to 3 or more babies in one birth, someone who adopted 3 or more children at the same time and someone who became a parent to 3 or more children through surrogacy) are eligible for a special monthly pension from the National Insurance Institute for a period of 20 months, in addition to the regular Child Allowance and Maternity Allowance (Maternity Pay).
    • For more information see Childbirth Allowance.

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