Maternity leave for employees
Austria offers an extremely generous compulsory maternity protection period for employees who become parents during their employment. Both maternity (mothers) and paternity (fathers) benefits are available at different stages of early parenthood.
Mutterschutz (Mothers’ protection)
This benefit specifically covers the mother for the 8 weeks before the baby’s due date and continues for 8-12 weeks after the birth depending on the situation (e.g. premature birth, c-section). Women are not supposed to work during this period. During this time, mothers receive full pay, known as Wochengeld (weekly payment), plus an additional amount to cover holidays and Christmas.
Karenz (Parental Leave)
This benefit begins at the end of Mutterschutz. During Karenz, parents who live with their child receive Kinderbetreungsgeld (childcare payments) from their health insurance (e.g. WGKK). It is not uncommon for fathers to share the maternity leave, taking Väterkarenz (paternity leave). Fathers can take some or all of the parental leave in place of the mother to allow her to resume her career more quickly after the child’s birth. Parents can exchange leave up to 2 times during your chosen leave period, but cannot both be on leave at the same time. Switches must be at least 2 months apart.
Parents need to choose one of two different payment schemes (flat-rate or income-based) for their leave depending on how long they want the leave to last, and this scheme cannot be changed once selected. Essentially, the longer the leave, the lower the monthly rate. If both parents share the leave, then the length of time allowed under each scheme is extended by approximately 20%.
Example of maternity types (only for working people):
- A parent alone can only receive child benefit for 30 months:
30 months – EUR 14,53 a day (approximately EUR 13.077,00)
- A parent alone can only receive a child benefit for 20 months:
20 months – EUR 20,80 a day (approximately EUR 12.480,00)
- A parent alone can only receive a child benefit for 15 months:
15 months – EUR 26,60 a day (approximately EUR 11.970,00)
- A parent alone can only receive a child benefit for 12 months:
12 months – EUR 33,00 a day (approximately EUR 11.880,00)
- A parent alone can only receive a child benefit for 12 months (Income-dependent child benefit): 12 months – if your net salary is more than 2000 EUR you will get approximately EUR 19.200,00 (2.000,00 x 80% x 12 months). 12 months – if your net salary is less than 2000 EUR you will get approximately at least EUR 9.600,00 (at least 1.000,00 x 80% x 12 months)*
*All given numbers are estimated based on 2018 rates and a gross salary of € 60,000. Real amounts are calculated for each individual based upon the rates of the moment and that individual’s official salary.