Maternity leave in Spain is a legally recognized period of work rest, which is accompanied by a maternity benefit provided that the requirements required by Social Security legislation are accredited, in order to guarantee a subsidy from the day that the maternity leave begins.

Beneficiaries of maternity leave will be all employed and self-employed workers (the maternity leave of the self-employed person is equivalent to that of the employed worker) who are in the following cases that are going to be studied.

Maternity leave in Spain: Requirements and duration

In accordance with article 48 of the Workers’ Statute, the duration of maternity leave shall be 16 consecutive weeks in the case of childbirth. In addition, this period will be extended in the case of multiple births with 2 more weeks for each child from the second.

The mother will be able to choose the dates as long as at least 6 weeks are immediately after delivery. For the remainder of maternity leave and in the event that both parents work, at the beginning of the rest period the mother may choose to have the other parent take part of her maternity leave simultaneously or successively with her own.

As far as the mother is concerned, for the cases of adoption,custody for the purpose of adoption or foster care also the same maternity leave is recognized,with the particularity that the moment of enjoyment of the leave may be chosen from the judicial decision that formalizes the adoption, the administrative decision that gives rise to the custody for the purpose of adoption or fostering.

Maternity leave in cases of international adoption that require the prior transfer of the parents allows the suspension period to begin up to 4 weeks before the resolution formalizing the adoption.

A special assumption that should also be mentioned is that of hospitalization of the newborn after delivery. In these cases, the calculation of the suspension period is recognized from the date of the medical discharge if requested by the interested parties.

If the period of hospitalization of the child lasts more than 7 days, the maternity leave will be extended as many days as the child remains hospitalized, up to a maximum of 13 additional weeks.

What are the requirements to collect maternity leave in our country?

As far as the requirements to access the maternity benefit of the Social Security,it is necessary be in a situation of high or assimilatable and have contributed 360 days in total or 180 in the previous 7 years (180 or 90 for children under 26 years and no minimum period for children under 21).

In the case of maternity leave of the self-employed,

it is also necessary to be up to date in the payment of monthly Social Security contributions.

Maternity leave before childbirth

In accordance with the Law on the Prevention of Occupational Risks, if it exists risk during pregnancy the company must adapt the working conditions so that the risk disappears,and in case it is not possible to transfer the pregnant woman to a different position compatible with her condition.

In case it is not possible, the leave must be accessed due to risk during pregnancy, with 100% of the regulatory base for professional contingencies (usually 100% of the salary).

In addition, as noted above, in addition to the 6 weeks of recovery of the mother that must take place immediately after childbirth, the remaining 10 weeks can be freely enjoyed before or after childbirth.

Procedures to request maternity leave benefits to the Social Security

In accordance with Social Security regulations, The
request for maternity leave is made at the offices of the INSS or the INS
by filling in the standardized form for this purpose and attaching the DNI, the family book and the maternity leave certificate delivered by the health center.

The financial benefit consists of a subsidy equivalent to 100% of the corresponding regulatory base,with a special subsidy for multiple births.

In the case of mothers who meet all the requirements except that of the contribution period, a subsidy of 42 days equivalent to 100% of the IPREM (Public Indicator of The Income of Multiple Effects) is recognized.

Based on the data set out above, it can be concluded that maternity leave in Spain,with 16 weeks, is at the tail end of maternity leave in Europe,being only higher than in Belgium (15) and Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and Sweden (14).

With regard to maternity benefit,the most common thing in Europe is that 100% is also charged. That is, Spain recognizes the right of mothers to recover from childbirth and be in the care of their children in the first months, but the regulation could still be greatly improved if you want to be at the level of other European countries such as Bulgaria (58 weeks) or Poland and the United Kingdom (52).