Maternity Rights and Benefits

Find out about the leave and benefit entitlements for parents in Malta…

In Malta, a pregnant woman has the right to work until her due date if she wants to. Many, however, finish work when they become entitled for maternity leave, which is two weeks before their baby is due.

Since policies and benefits vary from company to company, it is advisable for women who know they are pregnant to inform their employer as soon as is conveniently possible, especially if they work in an environment that could be potentially harmful to mother and baby.

Information on policy regarding pregnancy and maternity leave is generally available through the company's HR department. Women should also confirm in writing any discussions and agreements on working throughout pregnancy, to avoid any misunderstandings or confusion.

A pregnant woman is entitled to time off work as necessary to attend pre-natal appointments.

If there are pregnancy complications, such as pre-eclampsia or pregnancy diabetes, which prevents the pregnant woman from working, disability support can be claimed until maternity leave rights begin, two weeks before the due date.

Maternity Leave Benefit

Employed women are entitled to 14 weeks’ paid maternity leave (paid by the employer) after giving birth. The mother may take an additional four weeks maternity leave, which is unpaid. Both employed and self-employed women are entitled to Maternity Leave Benefit, paid for by the government, for a period of four weeks.

To qualify for Maternity Leave Benefit, the claimant must be employed or self-employed and:

  • Be a citizen of Malta or married to a citizen of Malta, a citizen of a European Union Member State, a citizen of a member country of the European Social Charter, have a refugee status and be ordinarily resident in Malta or Gozo

The application form for maternity leave benefit must be counter-signed by the mother's employer and submitted to the Department of Social Security before the 14th week of maternity leave, but no later than six months after this date. Once approved, the amount due is paid in one lump sum.

Maternity Benefit

Maternity Benefit is available for women who are not in employment or who have not taken maternity leave.

To be eligible for Maternity Benefit, the woman must:

  • Be a citizen of Malta or married to a citizen of Malta, or a citizen of a European Union Member State, or a citizen of a member country of the European Social Charter, or have a refugee status and be ordinarily resident in Malta or Gozo
  • Be in her eight month of pregnancy or have given birth to a child in the past six months
  • Have not taken maternity leave

If the application is made before the child is born, payment is made in two lump sums. If the application is made after the birth of the child, Maternity Benefit is paid in one payment.

It should be noted that Maternity Benefit is paid for each pregnancy – not for each child. So, only one payment is made in the case of multiple births.

Paternity Leave

There are no specific paternity leave rights for fathers. However, under the Minimum Special Leave Entitlement Regulations, men are entitled to one day of paid leave following the birth and may take up to four months of leave, which is unpaid. This is permitted until the child has reached eight years of age.