On the 02.12.2022, the Leave (Paternity, Parental, Caring, Force Majeure) and flexible work arrangements for work-life balance Law of 2022 (the ‘Law’) was passed.
The Law was adopted with the aim of harmonising local law with the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU.
Amongst other matters, the Law provides for parental leave allowance, the right to carers’ leave, the right to time off from work on the grounds of force majeure and the right of working parents and carers to request flexible working arrangements.
The Law repealed and replaced previous legislation dealing with paternity leave (Paternity Protection Laws of 2017-2022) and legislation dealing with leave due to force majeure reasons (Parental Leave and Force Majeure Leave Law of 2012).
A summary of the main provisions of the Law are set out below.
(a) Paternity Leave
Paternity leave entitlement is for a maximum period of 2 weeks. The leave can be taken within the period starting from the week of birth or adoption and ending 2 weeks after the end of the maternity leave period, as stipulated by the Maternity Protection Law.
This right to paternity leave is applicable without regard to an employee’s length of service with their employer and extends to situations where the child does not survive the birth.
In the unfortunate event of the mother’s passing either during childbirth or at any time during the maternity leave period, the entitlement to paternity leave increases by the same number of weeks as the remaining portion of maternity leave the mother would have been entitled to had she not passed away.
The paternity allowance is paid by the Social Insurance in accordance with the terms and provisions of the Social Insurance Law. Employees are required to provide prior notification to their employer at least two weeks in advance of taking their paternity leave.
(b) Parental Leave
All working parents with children up to the age of 8, who have completed six 6 months of continuous employment with the same employer are eligible for parental leave.
Each working parent with children up to the age of 8 is granted an individual entitlement to parental leave, totalling 18 weeks for each child.
In cases of adoption, this leave can be taken following the conclusion of maternity or paternity leave and is applicable for up to 8 years from the date of adoption, provided that the child has not yet reached the age of 12. Additionally, for parents of disabled children, the right to utilize parental leave extends from children aged 8 to 18.
For widows or single parents, the duration of parental leave is extended from 18 to 23 weeks.
While on parental leave, working parents are eligible for a parental leave allowance from the Social Insurance Services, which partially compensates them for their loss of salary.
Parents can take parental leave for a minimum duration of 1 day and a maximum of 5 weeks per calendar year.
(c) Carers’ Leave
Employees who provide personal care or support to either (a) a relative or (b) an individual residing in the same household as the employee, and who require substantial care or support due to a serious medical condition, are granted the right to take carers’ leave for up to 5 working days per year, which is unpaid.
In the context of the Law, “relative” relates to a child, mother, father, spouse, and also includes a civil partner with whom the employee has entered into a civil partnership.
Carers’ leave can be utilized as a continuous block of time or in separate segments as needed.
(d) Force Majeure Absence
Every employee is entitled to take up to 7 working days of unpaid leave per year for force majeure situations arising from urgent family matters, such as illness or accidents.
Days of absence for reasons of force majeure can be taken all at once or in parts.
(e) Flexible working arrangements for working parents or carers.
Every employed parent with a child up to the age of 8, as well as every carer, has the right to request flexible working arrangements for caregiving purposes. In order to be eligible, the employee must have completed 6 months of continuous employment with the same employer. The employer has the right to postpone or reject such a request.
When it comes to parental leave, both working fathers and working mothers who intend to utilize it must furnish their employer with a notice period of 3 weeks before the intended start date of the parental leave. An exception to this notice period is in cases of emergency where, with the employer’s consent, the notice may be reduced to less than 3 weeks.
Upon their own request, working parents have the entitlement to take parental leave in a flexible manner that accommodates both their personal and their employer’s requirements. This flexibility may include options such as reducing their weekly working days, with the minimum parental leave period set at 1 day.
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Theodorou Law is a Cyprus law firm with Cyprus lawyers and other legal experts on legal matters involving Cyprus law, EU law and international law. The above should be used as a source of general information only. It is not intended to give a definitive statement of the law.
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