Italy’s maternity leave benefits, according to Italy’s Social Security program, allows an employee on maternity leave to receive 80% of their remuneration for a period of 8 weeks before, and 12 weeks after childbirth. Citizens of Italy and citizens of other European Union Member States can receive sickness and maternity benefits, if they live in Italy and are registered with their local Italian health unit (USL). Almost all collective agreements require employers to make up for any gap in salary so the worker ultimately receives 100% of their average daily salary.
Italian Maternity Benefit Norms
To better understand Italian maternity benefit norms it is important to keep the following in mind:
- All Italian nationals and foreigners (including dependents) in Italy receive health benefits. This includes pediatric and OB/GYN medical care.
- Maternity benefits are made up of medical care and cash benefits. General obstetric care is provided directly and free of charge at outpatient departments of local health units.
- Cash benefits for maternity leave are given to women legally employed in the private sector. Unemployed women are also entitled to these benefits, but only while they receive unemployment benefits.
- For an employee to receive cash benefits while on maternity leave, the employer must send the INPS (National Social Security Institute) the medical certificate confirming pregnancy, and a statement from the company certifying that the employee ceased work because of pregnancy.
- If a newborn is hospitalized during the period of compulsory maternity leave, the mother can suspend her maternity leave for the corresponding period, and recover it, in whole or in part, starting from the date of discharge or even from an earlier date. This also applies to cases of adoption and custody.
Unpaid Parental Leave
Italy also has parental leave policies that are important to understand. To use Parental Leave in Italy a worker cannot be on leave for more than 10 months. In addition these rights are due to:
- The working mother, after the period of compulsory maternity leave, for a continuous or fractioned period of no more than 6 months.
- The working father, from the birth of the child, for a period, even split, not exceeding 6 months or 7 months if he / she takes advantage of the optional abstention for a continuous period of not less than 3 months. In the latter case, the maximum period that can be used by both parents is raised to 11 months.
- A single parent, for a continuous or split period of not more than 10 months
- If the mother does not choose to take parental leave, she is entitled to work 6 hours only until the newborn is 12 months old.