The National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia has adopted amendments to the Financial Support to Families with Children Act to expand the rights of parents to take leave from work to care for their children. This action is in line with the country’s population policy, which aims to boost population growth. This Newsletter sets out the new rules on paternity leave rights of employees.
Paternal childcare leave
Paid childcare leave starts immediately at the end of maternity leave. Paid maternity leave starts not earlier than 45 days and not later than 28 days before the due date and ends three months from the childbirth. Maternity and childcare leave together last 365 days (two years for third and each subsequent child).
An employed father has been so far entitled to use paid childcare leave instead of the mother of his child only if the mother is employed and chooses not to use childcare leave but to return to work. Consequently, fathers have so far not been entitled to use childcare leave instead of the mother of their child, if the mother is self-employed.
As a result of the latest amendments, an employed father will be entitled to take paid childcare leave instead of the mother of their child, subject to the agreement with the mother, also in case the mother is a self-employed entrepreneur or a self-employed registered owner of agricultural household. Such paid paternity childcare leave, if used, can commence not earlier than when the child turns three months old and may last until the child is one year old or, in case of second or third child, until the child is two years old.
Father using childcare leave in the aforementioned situation is entitled to a gross salary in lieu equal to 100% of the base, the base being equal to average gross monthly salary of the father over the reference period of 18 months preceding the month in which the mother commenced sick leave due to pregnancy complications, or the month in which the child was born, if the mother did not use sick leave. However, the salary in lieu is floored at the level of statutory minimum salary and is capped at five average salaries in the country according to the latest available official statistics.
Paternal special childcare leave
Paid special childcare leave can last up to the child’s fifth birthday if the child’s health is particularly severely impaired.
An employed father may now use paternity special childcare leave instead of the mother of the child, not only if the mother is employed but also if the mother is a self-employed entrepreneur or a self-employed registered owner of agricultural household. The right is subject to adequate medical certificate confirming that the child’s health condition justifies special childcare leave.
Salary in lieu during paternity special childcare leave is equal to 100% of the base, the base being equal to average gross monthly salary of the father over the reference period of 18 months preceding the commencement of paternal special child care lave.
Partner who is not father of the child is not entitled to paternity leave benefits
Serbian law does not extend paternity benefits to a partner of the mother if such partner is not the father of the child.