Special maternity leave: from 6 to 9 months

Thursday, 12 January 2023

At the end of November, Law 4997/2022 (Government Gazette A' 219/25-11-2022) was passed and published, providing for, among other things, the extension of the Special Maternity Leave from six (6) to nine (9) months and the possibility for the mother to transfer up to seven (7) months of such leave to the child’s father.

In particular, pursuant to article 43 of Law 4997/2022 which amended article 142 of Law 3655/2008, as introduced in Article 228 of Presidential Decree 80/2022, which consolidated the Greek Labour Legislation, the period of Special Maternity Leave has been increased from six (6) to nine (9) months for mothers working in the private sector, with a fixed-term or indefinite employment contract. During the Special Maternity Leave, OAED (the Hellenic Manpower Employment Organization) will continue to pay the mother a monthly amount equal to the minimum wage, plus a proportion of holiday allowance, as it happens now. The Special Maternity Leave will also continue to be granted to surrogate and adoptive mothers, from the time the child joins the family until the age of 8 years. As explained above, mothers are allowed to transfer up to 7 months of their Special Maternity Leave to the child's father, provided that the latter is either a part-time or full-time employee in the private sector. Once the father receives any part of the mother's Special Maternity Leave (from 1 to 7 months), he is entitled to all rights this entitlement allows for.

Quite recently, the Ministry of Labour issued a decision on the application of the new duration of the Special Maternity Leave for mothers who already take their Special Maternity Leave and for those who have just done so. More specifically, the Ministry explained that mothers who are currently on their Special Maternity Leave or were at the end of their 6-month Special Maternity Leave on 25/11/2022 (day L. 4997/2022 entered into force) are allowed to apply for extra three (3) months of Special Maternity Leave. Moreover, in case these mothers have a remaining balance of annual leave for 2022 which cannot be granted on time before 31/03/2022, if they took the 3-month extension, or in case their annual leave was already scheduled to be granted after the 6-month Special Maternity Leave, then the annual leave should immediately be taken after the 6th month of the Special Maternity Leave. Once the annual leave balance elapses, then the mother can take the remaining 3 months of her Special Maternity Leave.  Finally, mothers that were on their Special Maternity Leave on 25/11/2022, but they returned to work, because they were not informed about the 9-month extension, are, also, allowed to apply for the extra 3 months without any hindrance from the competent Services or from their employer.

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