The guide to optional motherhood, to know how it works and how long it lasts

The experience of becoming a mom (or dad) is something that changes your life: you always want to be with your little one, but this is not always possible or even a "healthy" behavior. some time for yourself and as a couple to find your balance. Watch in this video Nanny Simona's tips for overcoming the feelings of guilt that arise when you are a parent!

Compulsory maternity, optional maternity and parental leave

You are a working parent and you are inquiring about the possibility of extending your maternity period, but there is a lot of information circulating on the net and you want to clarify.
This guide is for you!

Since you got pregnant you will have heard of compulsory and optional maternity leave, but also of parental leave. What do these terms consist of?

Compulsory maternity: it is a period of compulsory leave from work for the mother. This period of time covers a period of 5 months between the birth, or two months before the dpp (presumed date of delivery) + three after. Variants are possible, as first 1 month and 4 months then or, new from 2019, no month of abstention before birth and all 5 months immediately after the birth.
This last option occurs as long as an authorized doctor certifies the state of good health of the pregnant woman and the baby.

Parental leave or optional maternity leave: the two terms are equivalent, so when you hear about parental leave or optional maternity leave, we always talk about the possibility of abstaining from work for periods that normally do not exceed 6 months, in addition to the 5 months of previously used with compulsory maternity leave.

Today we focus on the optional maternity leave event. Read on to understand how to request it, who it is for and lots of other useful information!

See also

Going to early motherhood: how it works and who it is for

Washable nappies: prices, opinions and everything there is to know about how it works

Surrogacy: when another woman gives birth to your baby

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How voluntary maternity leave works

Parental leave is a right that belongs to both mothers and fathers, parents of children under the age of 12.
With it it is possible to request days or months of abstention from work following the birth of the child, consequently, in order to benefit from it, it is necessary that the parent is working.

Therefore, in addition to the first months of maternity envisaged by law, it is possible to add others; this is a totally free choice and the propensity for this type of prolonged motherhood depends on various factors, which must be evaluated within the single family unit.
If you choose to take parental leave, remember that you can also take advantage of it after the first period of absence from work, as long as it is used within the first 12 years of the child's life.
This right also extends to adoptive parents or foster parents, who can choose to stay at home a few months longer than the mandatory situation, to better respond to the emotional needs of the child. It is possible that both parents can use it at the same time and also option it in a fractional way, or by hours.

What does it consist of in practice? Like the compulsory one, also for the optional leave there is an "allowance which is paid by the" INPS. Duration and amount are calculated based on the job category to which the requesting parent belongs.

Are you entitled to it? And if so, to what extent?

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Who is it for

As foreseen by the INPS, optional maternity leave is for the following categories of workers:

  • employees (including workers insured under IPSEMA), provided that the employment relationship is in place at the time the application is submitted. Specifically, for agricultural workers who have a fixed-term contract, it is necessary to have worked at least 51 days prior to the year of the request, if this is done in the first year of the child's age. If you fall into this category and want to send the request after the child's year of life, 51 days of work are required in the year preceding the event or in the same year;
  • registered in the Separate Account, who are holders of project contracts or professionals who are not entitled to pensions and who at the time of the application are not registered in other forms of social security support. For this category you must have contributed for at least 3 months in the 12 months taken into consideration for the payment of the allowance. In addition, as in the above category, it is necessary to have an employment relationship and then effectively abstain from working activity;
  • self-employed workers: (yes, in this specific case we are only talking about women) who have paid the contributions for the month preceding the one in which the optional maternity leave began and only in the event that there is a proven abstention from work.

Finally, therefore, this right does not belong to you if you are: a mother / father who is not a worker, unemployed or suspended; a father or mother who is a domestic or home worker.

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How long can it last based on my membership category?

Let's go back to the model above and divide the scheme into 3 parts, starting respectively with employees - enrolled in the Separate Management and ending with self-employed women:

  • if this is your job category you can request a maximum of 10 months of leave, between you and your partner. If the father abstains from work for a continuous or split period of at least 3 months, the paternity goes up to 11 months.
    The working and dependent mother can request up to 6 months of additional maternity leave (continuous or split); ditto the father, with the exception of 1 month more in the case seen above.
    If you are a single parent then the continuous or fractional situation remains within 10 months. The INPS means a parent only when the condition of death or serious infirmity of one of the parents occurs, the child is entrusted to only one of the parents, abandonment or non-recognition of the child.
    The conditions for adoptive parents remain unchanged;
  • for freelancers, the optional phase lasts a little less and has greater limits than an employee: it cannot exceed 3 months and must be used no later than the first year of the child's life. In cases of adoption and fostering the 3 months can be spent within the first year of entering the family, as long as it is a child under 12 years of age;
  • here too, the duration is a maximum of 3 months and the use must take place within the year of the child's life.

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Amount of the allowance

As for the duration, the sum of the remuneration is also variable. In this case it depends on the job category, the time of submission of the application and the age of the child. Let's try to simplify the calculations.

For an employed mother or father, the INPS recognizes 30% of the average daily wage, but up to the child's 6 years of age. Calculate it starting from the wage of the month preceding the start of the leave, for a maximum total period between both 6-month-old parents Analogous situation for foster care.
From the 6 years of the child up to 8 years and one day, if the parents have not yet benefited from it or only partially, the optional is paid at 30% only if the individual income of the applicant is less than 2.5 times the amount annual minimum pension.
From 8 to 12 you can stay at home with your child, but there is no compensation.

For those enrolled in the Separate Account, the sum is equal to 30% of the earned income. It always amounts to 30%, but relative to the conventional salary, the compensation for the self-employed.

By whom is the indemnity paid? For the first category, it is usually the employer who advances the sum on behalf of the intended body, or the INPS. F24. Exceptions are those workers in the agricultural sector, entertainment or seasonal workers, because in these cases it is directly the INPS to pay the salary.
The same thing happens for those enrolled in the Separate Account or for self-employed women: the INPS will always make the payment.

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How to apply to the INPS

Now that you have read the details of parental leave and understand if you are entitled to this allowance, you can proceed with submitting the application. As a mother or father, request these periods of absence from work in 3 ways:

  • electronically: with device PIN on the INPS website;
  • via the INPS Contact Center, dial 803164 from a landline (free of charge) or 06164 164 from a mobile phone (costs depend on your tariff plan). You can contact the agency for the service in question by telephone from Monday to Friday, from 8:00 to 20:00 and on Saturdays from 8:00 to 14:00;
  • by contacting the Patronati

Timing for submitting the application
Fundamental is the "forwarding of the application before the start of the leave period you are going to request.
The risk is that you will be paid only the days following the date of submission of the application. Better write it down in your diary!
For each optional maternity leave (so in cases where you want to use it in a split way) you must send a new request.
Finally, remember that you must give appropriate notice to your boss: usually it is never less than 5 days if you opt for monthly and daily leave and 2 days if you use the hourly mode.

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Alternatives to optional motherhood - rest

Parental leave is not the only solution you can adopt if you are a worker and you need, for various reasons, to stay close to your baby. In fact, there are rest periods for breastfeeding, which have been designed as an alternative to parental leave, which we remember for the last time, it is not maternity leave, but a "further addition to" the mother / father's initial absenteeism in the workplace.

Eventually, if the working conditions are favorable and the company is in a stable situation, you can request the transformation of the employment relationship into a part-time contract only once, as long as there is a reduction in working hours of no more than 50 percent.

The choice is yours: part time you already know what it entails, ie reduced salary and fewer hours to spend at work; usually the contract remains in place for several years unless you want to change company and in that case the advantage in terms of home-work relationship would be lost.
But what are breastfeeding permits and how long do they last? Read the last paragraph to keep this possibility open to you too.

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The daily rests

New mothers can be granted daily rests to breastfeed. Cannot be combined with parental leave. This alternative is up to employees only (therefore housekeepers / carers and home workers, self-employed workers must be excluded), as long as there is an ongoing employment relationship for the time of use of the service.

They are essentially hourly permits ranging from 2 to 1 hour, depending on the mother's working hours.
For example, if you work 6 hours a day then your leave hours are 2, while if you work less than 6 hours a day you are entitled to 1 hour for breastfeeding.
In the case of several children (twins) the duration doubles and goes from 2 to 4 hours and from 1 to 2 hours.

When to use them
These permits can be used within the child's year of life and are paid 100%.
This way you will have time to enjoy your little one until he is literally walking on his own legs, and this can give you time to organize yourself with a specialized facility for the future or to look for an occupation that is better suited to your new condition. mom's.

How to submit the application
There is no application to submit to INPS, just communicate it to your employer. Also for breastfeeding rest periods, keep in mind that you must submit the request before the rest period begins.
If you are a new working father you can still adopt these special permits, in your case contact both the INPS office you belong to and your employer.

+ Show Sources - Hide Sources If you are interested in learning more about the terms of the law that deal with these issues of 'justified' abstention from work, you can search for the Legislative Decree of March 26, 2001, n.151. The Consolidated Law issued discipline "leave, rest, permits and the protection of male and female workers connected with the maternity and paternity of all children (natural, adoptive and in foster care)'.
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