Maternity leave in Poland is a beautiful thing that they do very well and America is really lacking. I had a baby last year, so I enjoyed the one year of receiving maternity benefits (mine just ended… *tear*). It’s a beautiful thing for women to have the comfort of staying home with their babies to care for and nurture them for the first 6 months – 1 year of life, especially if they’re breastfeeding. I can’t tell you how fortunate I felt to spend 4 months at home with my son and then return to work part-time as the maternity leave pay gave me the freedom to do so. I know that living in the States, it would have been more of a struggle and I’d have had to return to work earlier. Having a baby in Poland? Read on to find out what Poland has to offer your in your first year of maternity.
How it looks in America
Maternity leave benefits are something that Poland does much better America, giving mothers the opportunity to really enjoy their first year of maternity without having to worry as much about making a living. The way it works in America is that your employer has to give you 2 weeks unpaid leave. Yikes. So then, what, you have to go back to work or just suffer? Some companies are more generous and provide 10 weeks of paid leave or maybe 20 if you work for Facebook or Google or some other modern corporation. But the average mother doesn’t have anything close to that.
How it looks in Poland
Compare that to Poland where women with full-time work contracts can take a year of maternity leave and receive 80% of their salary or 6 months at 100%. So I’m a business owner and that means things are little different for me. It’s a little more complicated in that case. Essentially, I also receive a year off, and of course I can also work at the same time, but I obviously don’t receive benefits which are close to my actual salary. It’s calculated based on the average of your ZUS (Polish social security) payments for the 12 months prior to having the baby.
The idea is pretty simple – the more you pay, the higher your benefits will be for the next 12 months, so it’s common for women business owners to pay more than the minimum so that they can increase their monthly leave benefits. Currently, the maximum you can pay is around 4000 zł per month and I believe the max you can receive is around 7000 zł (not totally sure about that because they won’t really tell you), if you can afford to pay that 4000 zł for 12 months. Even if not, it’s worth putting what you can toward it as it will at least increase the amount a little bit. It’s definitely worth the investment as far as I can see.
Who can receive maternity benefits?
Not only that, if you’re unemployed, work on umowa o dzieło or zlecenie (so contract work or part-time work, or are a student, then you can also receive 1000 zł per month for your maternity leave for one year. That means even if you don’t pay ZUS (social security), you can receive benefits – a great thing for moms who don’t work or don’t earn much.
What an incredible thing right? As a person who doesn’t really believe in many social benefits, this is one that I think makes a real difference in people’s lives. Imagine the difference it makes if you can return to work after 1 year instead of a couple weeks. It’s lovely that moms in Poland can take this time to be with their babies. I’m so grateful I had that opportunity. Go Poland!
Have you or someone you know enjoyed the benefits of maternity leave? I’m sure it’s even better in some country, but comparing it to America, Poland’s benefits are very impressive! America needs to step it up! What do you think?