Improvements in Parental Leave Rights in Cyprus for Both Genders
On 2 December 2022, Cyprus’ House of Representatives voted the approval of a new law which allows people to take paternity leave, parental leave, and flexible working hours to balance their work and family lives.
Parental Leave:

Parental leave constitutes an important right for employees who are parents, since it allows both mothers and fathers to be absent from their work for the purpose of taking care of and participating in the raising of their child.

The main modification to parental leave brought about by the new legislation is that the Social Insurance Fund will now pay for 8 of the current 18 weeks of leave that are currently granted to every working parent for every child up to the age of 8 (eight) years.

Every working parent with children under the age of 8 (eight) is entitled, under the law, to an individual leave of absence for a maximum of 18 (eighteen) weeks for each child. This applies to every parent whether married or not, and all working parents with children under the age of 8 (eight) years who have finished 6 (six) months of continuous employment with the same employer are eligible for parental leave.

In the case of an adopted child, the modified law also governs that if the child has not yet turned 12 (twelve), the leave may be taken after the end of the maternity or paternity leave for a period of 8 (eight) years from the date of adoption. Parental leave permissible for children with disabilities is from the age of 8 (eight) to 18 (eighteen). In addition, the duration of parental leave is increased for widows and single parents from 18 to 23 weeks (in cases of loss of custody or non-recognition of a child by the other parent). Working parents have a minimum of one day and a maximum of one year to take parental leave.

Parental leave is available to working parents for a minimum of 1 (one) day and a maximum of 5 (five) weeks per year. Unless there is an emergency, in which case, with the employer’s consent, the notice may be less than 3 (three) weeks, all working fathers and working mothers who wish to use parental leave shall give the employer 3 (three) weeks’ notice prior to the starting date of the parental leave. Working parents have the right to take parental leave at their own request in flexible ways that meet both their needs and those of their employers, such as by reducing the number of days they work each week.

Employers may choose to refuse a flexible form request for parental leave after taking both their needs and the needs of the employees into account. Employers must give working parents written notice of their intention to reject a request before doing so and invite them to submit arguments within 1 week. No later than 2 (two) weeks prior to the date on which the employee had requested parental leave, employers must notify working parents of their decision in writing, justifying the reasons for doing so after taking into account their arguments. Working parents who take parental leave are entitled to a parental leave allowance, which helps to make up some of the lost wages.

Maternity Leave:

Pursuant to Cyprus Law, a pregnant employed woman is entitled to a maternity leave for up to 18 consecutive weeks.
On November 5th of 2021, a 12th amendment to the Law governing the Protection of Maternity was implemented. According to the amendment, maternity leave is extended from 18 weeks to 22 weeks for mothers in employment who give labor to a second child, and maternity leave is further extended to 26 weeks for a third child and any subsequent children.

It should be noted that nine of these weeks must be taken consecutively starting from the second week of pregnancy.
Female employees who wish to adopt a child under 12 years old and who have notified the Department of Social Welfare Services of the adoption are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. According to the newest amendment of the Law, the duration of the maternity leave extends to 20 weeks for any second adoption and to 24 weeks for any third and subsequent adopted children. Concurrently, six-week notice of the proposed adoption must be communicated to the employer.

Paternity Leave:

The father’s marital status is no longer relevant, as there used to be a restrictive requirement that a father must be in a civil relationship with or married to the mother of the child in order to be eligible for paternal leave. All new fathers whether married or not with the mother of the child, continue to be entitled to two weeks’ paternity leave provided that it is taken between the week of the birth or adoption, and up to two weeks after the end of maternity leave.

The father must give their employer at least two weeks’ written notice or, in the event of an early and unexpected birth as soon as but not later than after the birth of the child. Unwavering and unrelated to factors like seniority or length of employment, the employer’s obligation to provide such leave is a legal requirement. Furthermore, the Law has developed a new provision that increases the right to paternity leave and, the right to paternity allowance by the same number of weeks as any unspent or remaining maternity leave and maternity allowance that the mother may have been entitled to, in case the mother passed away prior to, during, or after the birth of the child or during maternity leave. The Law now also kindly permits a father to continue to be entitled to paternity leave in the event that a child is born dead as a result of childbirth.

The information provided by A.G. Paphitis & Co. LLC is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional or formal legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting based on any information provided above without obtaining legal or other professional advice.

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Updated article:

Parental leave in Cyprus