Pregnancy Leave and Special Pregnancy Leave
A pregnant parent is entitled to pregnancy leave, which is an uninterrupted leave starting before the birth of the child. During the period of pregnancy leave, a pregnancy allowance of 40 working days is paid. Pregnancy leave starts at the earliest 30 working days before the due date, i.e. about one month before the due date, or, by mutual agreement with the employer, at the latest 14 working days before the due date, i.e. approximately two weeks before the due date. If the child is born prematurely more than 30 working days before the due date, the right to pregnancy allowance and leave starts immediately. However, the pregnancy allowance leave always starts at the latest on the working day following the end of the pregnancy.
A pregnant employee is entitled to special pregnancy leave if they must be absent from work before the start of their leave because of exposure to a chemical substance, radiation or infectious disease related to their duties or working conditions, or because of any other similar risk to their health or that of the fetus. An assessment of the health of the working conditions is made by the occupational health service.
As a priority, the employer should arrange the working conditions so that the employee is able to work until the start of the pregnancy leave. The employer should endeavor to remove the hazards at the workplace or, if removal is not possible, to transfer the employee to safe work. However, if this is not possible, the employee is entitled to a special pregnancy leave. Special pregnancy leave may start from the beginning of the pregnancy, once it has been declared necessary, and continue up to the beginning of the pregnancy leave.
Working during special pregnancy leave is not allowed. During the 14 weeks from the start of the pregnancy leave, the employee may, with the agreement of the employer, only do work which does not endanger their safety or that of the fetus or the child born. Both the employer and the employee have the right to discontinue the employee’s work at any time during this period. However, the employee may not work at all during the two weeks before the due date and for two weeks after the labour.
The employee's entitlement to be paid for the period of the pregnancy leave depends on the provisions of the collective agreement, as there are no provisions in the Finnish Employment Contracts Act entitling the employer to pay. However, collective agreements in many sectors provide for payment of wages during pregnancy leave. The length of the pay period varies from sector to sector. For the period during which the employer pays the employee, the employer is entitled to receive from Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) the daily allowances that would otherwise be paid to the employee for the same period. The employer's costs are therefore the difference between the employee's salary and the daily allowance, plus the salary's indirect expenses.
If the employer is not obliged to pay the employee's salary during the period of parental leave, the employee receives an allowance from Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), which is based on the employee's income.
It is recommended to check the provisions on parental leaves in the applicable collective agreement.