Maternity leave: how it works, when to enter and new law

Pregnancy is a period of extreme and intense changes for women. If the pregnancy runs in the normal period, there are 9 months of adaptations, discoveries and preparation to receive the baby.

In that time, the body changes: the belly grows, the weight increases and the difficulty or inability to perform certain tasks also appears. The routine needs to be redesigned – new care, new limitations – and some common things in life need to be reevaluated.

But it is not enough that the gestational period is over for everything to return to normal. In general, the first few months after delivery are even more intense than the 9 months of pregnancy .

After birth, it is necessary for the mother and baby to start at an entirely new pace. But it is also in this period that the maternal bond initiated during pregnancy solidifies and intensifies.

According to estimates by Agência Brasil, in 2016, 44% of the labor market was composed of women and, on average, 70% of workers have children. The data further reinforces the importance of understanding the impacts of pregnancy on work relationships.

Among the rights of pregnant women, there is maternity leave, which is provided for in Article 7, item XVIII of the Major Law, and its purpose is to assist working women, ensuring that the employer does not use pregnancy as a justification for dismissal without just cause .

Along with the possibility of the mother being temporarily absent from work activities, a series of doubts may arise during this period of major changes.

What is maternity leave?

Described as a benefit given to pregnant women, maternity leave is a right enshrined in the Constitution for all women who have an employment relationship with a contribution to Social Security (INSS).

In summary, the Constitution guarantees a period of 120 days, which can be extended to 180 days – that is, from 4 to 6 months -, of leave for women who give birth or adopt a child.

With the labor changes that took place in November 2017, there is still the possibility of changing the location or position of the worker if she presents herself in unhealthy conditions and is entitled to breaks during the working day to breastfeed the baby.

The period of absence is intended both for the mother’s recovery after childbirth, as well as the first care for the baby or the adopted child.

The request is made by the pregnant woman 28 days before delivery or up to 92 days after birth or adoption.

In addition to strengthening maternal ties, providing a period of recovery for the mother and favoring care for the child or baby, maternity leave ensures that the employer does not fire or restrict the employee’s salary, so as not to harm the family’s economic conditions.

Women’s labor rights during maternity leave

For both the mother who gave birth and the one in the process of adoption, maternity leave ensures that she:

  • It cannot be dismissed without just cause;
  • It has temporary stability from the confirmation of pregnancy until 5 months after the baby is born;
  • You are entitled to leave from 120 to 180 days, without salary changes;
  • Must be changed position or relocated from the work environment if unhealthy conditions are found;
  • Has paid 2-week rest when there is a non-criminal abortion;
  • Right to return to activities previously performed without employment changes or discounts;
  • Until the 6th month after delivery, the mother is entitled to 2 breaks of 30 minutes each, during working hours, to breastfeed the baby (not changing lunch times).

It is also recommended that, if possible, the mother should contact the union of her professional category to verify the existence of collective agreements that can be applied at the time of maternity leave.

Who is entitled to maternity leave?

Removal is guaranteed to:

  • Employed by the CLT regime;
  • Contributing women on an individual or optional basis *, as students with no employment relationship;
  • Individual workers, such as microentrepreneurs;
  • Unemployed women who are insured by the INSS.
  • Women insured under special conditions, such as rural workers.

Individual or optional taxpayers: The individual taxpayer is one who has an autonomous or liberal income, therefore has no employment or fixed income. The optional taxpayer is a taxpayer made by people over 16 years of age who do not have their own income (usually being supported by family members or spouses).

Unemployed women

Even if the woman is unemployed at the time of pregnancy, she can also apply for maternity assistance or salary.

In this case, the woman must have made the last contribution to the INSS at least 12 months before the delivery or adoption of the child. The calculation also takes into account the professional category that the mother belonged to in her last position.

All calculations are performed by the INSS at the time of the request.

If the woman dies after giving birth, is the right to maternity leave transferred to someone else?

If the mother dies after childbirth, it is the spouse’s right to request receipt of the benefit, which is passed on in full to the mother’s partner.

In addition, in cases of spontaneous abortion or provided for by law – rape, anencephaly or that cause risks to the pregnant woman’s life – the license can be requested, however with a reduction of the period of absence to 14 days.

If the baby is born lifeless (stillborn) after the 23rd week, full maternity leave is considered, with time off for at least 120 days.

Maternity leave 2018: bill provides 180 days

On April 4, 2018, the draft law that changed maternity leave from 120 to 180 days for workers in private companies was approved.

The 6-month period is already a benefit enjoyed by public servants and is now being analyzed by the Chamber of Deputies.

Although the proposal was approved, there is still an appeal, causing the bill to be analyzed by the Senate plenary.

The Senate Bill (PLS) 72/2017 was proposed by Senator Rose Freitas, of the MDB. In addition to the longer maternity leave, the proposal allows the father to accompany consultations and exams during pregnancy.

History of maternity leave in Brazil

The changes that occurred in the Constitution are the result of the historical process, achieved gradually through the recognition of the importance of offering a period of adaptation between mother and son, as well as between father and son (in cases of paternity leave).

Started in 1943 in Brazil, the first edition of the CLT had 84 days of leave, which were paid by the employer. In other words, the removal became an obstacle to the insertion of women in the labor market.

Only from 1973, at the suggestion of the World Labor Organization (WTO), Social Security started to bear the costs of maternal leave. Subsequently, with the constitutional reformulation, in 1988, there were better guarantees of stability for women and maternity leave was extended to 120 days.

In addition, other infraconstitutional changes (laws or decrees that do not alter the Constitution) have been established, such as the one that ensures public servants a 180-day leave.

The paternity leave started in the national territory in 1943, in which an article of the CLT determined that the justified absence of 1 day after the birth of the child could not be discounted or denied to the father. Thus, there were no discounts or warnings for the employee to prove the child’s recent birth.

Currently, the leave can be for 5 consecutive days, but some companies adopt the Citizen Company Program modality, in which it is possible to extend the paternity leave to 20 days.

Maternity leave benefits

After delivery, the mother’s recovery period is essential for her to be able to resume daily activities as soon as possible and in a healthy way.

But in addition to the rest, the license aims to favor the care of the baby, which, in the first days, demands a lot of attention.

Physical and emotional recovery

Pregnancy is a period of great bodily, organic and emotional changes. Childbirth – be it natural or by cesarean section – also needs rest and recovery, due to the wear and tear of the organism.

Giving birth is not always a smooth process, which can cause insecurity and emotional upheavals for the mother. Therefore, the days following the delivery are essential for psychological recovery as well, especially when the woman is in her first pregnancy.

Experts point out that postpartum is the time when there are higher incidences of psychological disorders in women. A study by the University of Maryland and Minnesota points out that the period of absence reduces the rates of postpartum depression and difficulty in readaptation.

For this reason, the period of stabilization and gradual resumption of activities is fundamental for physical and emotional health, which also reflects in the care of the baby.

Baby care

Breastfeeding is essential to build the baby’s immune system, strengthen the body and provide a good development in the following years.

For breastfeeding to take place properly, leave from work is essential, as it allows the mother to be close to the child and to understand their needs.

Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) indicating breastfeeding as the baby’s only food source until the 6th month of life, studies indicate that one of the most frequent causes of early insertion of other foods is the difficulty in maintaining exclusive attention to the child.

Research published in The Lancet, points out that there is a growing movement in relation to breastfeeding as the baby’s only food. However, more than 60% of Brazilian children already consume other foods before the first semester of life.

Although there are several factors that interfere, facilitate or prevent breastfeeding, research indicates a significant improvement in breastfeeding rates when there is maternity leave and, consequently, a closer relationship between mother and child.

Care for the adopted child

Even though the adoption is for an older child, the care is the same and, sometimes, the situation is even more delicate.

The child needs time to adapt to the new life, as the changes are quite large and the emotional bonds are not always solidly built. Thus, the child may feel strange in the new home, displaced or insecure with the parents.

Especially at older ages, there is a need to intensify the relationships of trust and approximation, which tend to take longer due to possible past traumas.

Future improvements

The first benefits that come to mind when discussing maternity leave are related to the baby’s adaptation and the mother’s recovery.

But in addition to the most immediate moments, weeks or months after delivery, studies in the social field indicate that the strengthening of affective bonds reflects on the family and social future.

Therefore, it is not only the mother-child relationship that is favored. Research and publications by the Science for Childhood Nucleus (NCPI) point out that children’s health is benefited, due to more intensive care, and there is also a significant reduction in crime and school dropout among families that have closer affective bonds in the first periods child’s life.

Children who spend more time with family members in the first moments of life have better rates of educational development, ease of learning and, consequently, higher levels of education.

Directly associated with educational improvement, crime and violence rates decrease and reflect across society.

Tips for taking maternity leave

After a few days, the mother is ready to return to activities gradually. This is a period to plan and develop different activities and enjoy every minute with your child.

Affective approach

Some mothers arrive at the time of delivery without the presence of the child’s father, which may be her choice or not. Generally, when independent pregnancy is planned, the mother tends to organize herself mentally, economically and daily better.

However, there is not always the forecast of being alone in this period. Often, the mother needs to deal with the postpartum period without family help, from a partner. This makes maternity leave easier for women to organize and stabilize.

When family support is available, maternity leave is also a time to strengthen ties between family members. Grandparents, father, stepfather or stepmother and siblings need to build emotional relationships amid the changes caused by the arrival of the baby or child.

This rapprochement between the baby and the family members also reflects later, and it is important to use the period to prepare future actions, that is, the end of maternity leave.

Therefore, if the plan is to leave the child in the care of a nanny, grandparents or daycare center, adaptations should preferably occur at that time.

This is because the mother’s presence will bring more confidence to the baby, just as the mother will be able to follow the child’s adaptation process and loosen the bonds without so much suffering.

Don’t just stay at home

Although the period is aimed at recovery and care for the organism, there are several activities that can be planned and carried out during the first months.

The initial period is great for taking courses, programs or outings that, amid routine, are not always possible.

But it’s not just for the purpose of entertaining and occupying the days, as there are several groups and collectives of mothers who promote activities aimed at the maternal phase, such as cinematernity – exclusive film sessions to go with the children -, yoga or pilates classes , mini gastronomy courses to cook for and with children, as well as cultural tours.

This interaction promotes the relationship between mothers and children, but it also brings together women who share the same period and, often, the same doubts, joys and sufferings.

Don’t forget your job

Even if the months away are dedicated to the baby or child, it is important not to break contact with colleagues and employers.

Besides being important to maintain the social relationship, even if it is not very close, it is necessary to inform employers about health and recovery conditions, as well as the intention to return or not to work.

The moment, therefore, is ideal for rethinking or analyzing life goals. Many women take advantage of the new phase of their lives to make professional decisions, such as changing positions, changing jobs or, when possible and desirable, keeping some time away from the professional market.

Self care

Especially in the first weeks, care for the baby tends to be intense. If the woman is a first-time mother, the concern may be even greater.

Even if the care of the child is usually placed above anything and the new routine is quite exhaustive, it is necessary to dedicate some time to take care of yourself.

Rest when the body needs it, keep up with sleep, have an adequate diet, receive friends and maintain social ties, in addition to dedicating a few hours a day to pleasurable activities, such as walking or going to the gym, having a coffee or having a healthy massage. simple tasks that can fit into the child’s needs.

Dedicating a few hours a week or daily to yourself ensures more willingness to the mother, helping with her mental balance and, consequently, gives a better relationship with the child.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to food, hydration and, if possible, to initiate some physical activity during this period.

A balanced diet helps in the nutrition and recovery of the body, in addition to being directly related to the nutritional value of breast milk.

Maintaining hydration is essential for milk production, as more than 80% of maternal food is made up of water. Thus, the average recommendation of 2 liters of water per day can be increased to 3 or even 4 liters for lactating women.

Although it seems difficult to drink so much liquid, milk production demands that the body consume a lot of water, therefore, thirst will be a natural process.

When possible, resume or start physical activities. In addition to bringing countless health benefits, exercise brings mental improvements, relaxes, stimulates circulation, gives more energy and disposition.

Marked skills on maternity leave

Like all new phases of life, motherhood promotes change and develops skills and abilities.

Motherhood may demand that knowledge be developed or improved, especially for baby care, but that it can also result in improvements in other spheres of life, including the professional.

Some new maternal perceptions and capacities are highly valued even when the market in which women operate is competitive. Between them:

Empathy

With the arrival of a baby, the woman tends to turn all her attention to the child, especially in the first months of life.

A series of personal changes occur and it is necessary that the mother, many times, give up her comfort to attend to the baby. Thus, the woman improves her empathic capacity, in which the person understands the other’s position, putting herself in his place.

Empathy is a psychological skill highly valued in the professional environment, especially in leadership and supervisory positions. It is necessary to understand employees and co-workers as individual people in order to have a healthy working environment.

Commitment

When the baby is born, there is a very high maternal commitment towards the child, as he will depend on intense care and attention for a long period.

Walking, talking, eating and developing will depend on the person in charge. Therefore, the ability to respond adequately to the established commitment is increased and has repercussions in most other spheres of life.

Planning

In addition to the woman herself, it is now necessary to organize her son’s life as well. Activity that is not always simple.

Planning is one of the most worked skills, especially on maternity leave, as it is a short period of adaptation and which will soon be totally changed if the woman returns to the professional routine.

Not being restricted to the professional environment, the notions of planning extend throughout life, as finances, studies and leisure are also benefited.

Emotional balance

Dealing with people is not always simple, whether they are co-workers or their own children.

Children can sometimes throw a tantrum, cry in inappropriate places, fight with siblings and make a mess. Frequent situations that can often tire mothers, but which need to be resolved in a mature and appropriate way.

So it is in work environments as well, because in general there can be competitiveness, lack of commitment or unpreparedness of leaders and co-workers.

Knowing how to deal with these situations without letting them affect mental health is essential.

Activities to do with your child

Activities can be very enjoyable and stimulating for both the child and the mother. In addition to helping with child development , time together with the child can be used through simple, affective and fun practices.

Listen to music

Neurologists, psychologists and pediatricians point out that music has several benefits for children, regardless of age.

The newborn is a great discoverer, because the whole world is new. The child’s curiosity is aroused with each new stimulus and it is through the senses that the child explores the environments.

There are studies, such as those carried out by the University of Brasília, and publications, such as those of Revista Interação, that indicate an affective memory in children who were exposed to music while they were still in the mother’s womb.

For this reason, the habit of listening to melodies, ambient sounds – as of nature – and singing while pregnant can build and awaken affective memories in the baby, strengthening maternal bonds.

Experts point out that in the initial months of life, the child tends to want to reproduce the sounds. Therefore, musical stimuli promote vocalization, speech and development.

From the ninth month of life, the baby can start moving musically stimulated. This helps with coordination and auditory perception.

In addition, after the second year, the child is neurologically awakened by music. This is because, in general, it tends to reproduce the sounds it is already capable of, such as speech and onomatopoeia. Therefore, memory and learning are reinforced in an intuitive and natural way.

Reading

Stimulating reading in the first moments of life brings significant changes to life, even in newborns.

In addition to being an activity that promotes the interaction between mother and child, reading acts as a stimulant to the child’s development.

Reasoning, attention and interaction are part of reading and there are several studies that point to an emotional narrowing between mothers who read to their children while they are still in the belly. This allows the child to create affective memories, get used to the mother’s voice and, later, recognize the timbres.

Even though newborns are not able to understand what is said, nor to interpret drawings from children’s books, children have incredible perceptual abilities in the intonation of the voice.

That is, they are able to attribute emotions and distinguish situations according to the timbres and variations employed. In the future, these capacities may also compose the child’s relationship with the world, his social interactions and the way of understanding himself in society.

In addition, introducing children to the world of reading from an early age, stimulating their habits, makes the pleasure of reading awakened and continued in the future. This assists in imagination, learning and even logical abilities.

In a study presented by the American Academic Society of Pediatrics it was pointed out that the early stimulus to reading has impacts on the baby’s brain activity.

Children who begin to be stimulated to read in the first months of life, even before building interpretive perceptions, have a direct impact on language development. In other words, skills such as starting to read and assign meaning (semantic processes) will be considerably easier for the child to understand. child in the literacy and literacy phase.

Groups and collectives of mothers

Yes, mom collectives are also great options for finding activities. In general, maternity groups offer emotional and psychological assistance to pregnant women and mothers. In them it is possible to find information, guidelines and various indications.

Medical emergencies, schools, nurseries and nannies can be found more safely through suggestions from other women. In addition, daily information, such as postpartum feeding tips, milk temperature, whether to give a pacifier or not, and what are the reasons for the baby’s restless sleep are exchanged.

But it is not just as an information aid that groups serve. With a view to maternal health and well-being, several collectives promote social interaction with other mothers through motherhood, but without this being the only agenda. So, pleasant and fun environments and activities make up the itineraries.

Between them:

Cinematernity

These sessions are specially planned for mothers accompanied by their children. Generally, all ages are accepted and welcomed, but the target audience is newborn mothers (with children up to 18 months).

There are individual projects, carried out by associations and groups without institutional purposes, as well as the organization of large companies. Cinema chains promote cinematernity with rooms prepared with special lighting, nearby baby changing facilities and baby food.

Some smaller projects promote debates – about the film, about social aspects and guidelines or about different themes – after the session, encouraging the mothers’ social interaction.

And not only drawings or films for children are offered. The idea of ​​the projects is to provide a suitable place for children, but which is also interesting for mothers.

Baby massages

Massages are very suitable for children, even very small ones. Sensory stimulation promotes relaxation, improves sleep and can relieve baby’s cramps.

Collectives and maternal groups often rely on pediatricians and specialists who teach simple – and very functional – tactics to massage the child.

Especially in newborns, massages should be done gently and at specific points, taking care with the pressure of the hands. All techniques are taught to mothers along with preparing the environment.

The benefits of massage can involve a moment of intimacy and closeness between mother and child, easy to repeat at home.

Theater with children

Drama classes are opportunities to develop different activities with the child. In general, they are recommended for older children, from 5 years old, but can also be performed with babies. The difference, in this case, will be the child’s approach and participation.

The theater favors children’s freedom and disinhibition, favoring psychomotor development, intuitiveness and the senses.

Maternal groups usually organize special classes or frequent classes.

Gastronomy classes

Cooking with children can be a very significant activity for the child’s development. In addition to being a joint task, preparing a recipe awakens the child’s various senses, such as taste, touch, sight and smell.

The activity is most recommended for older children, being a great option to train adoptive parents as to the tastes and abilities of their children.

Meals are closely linked to emotional and affectivity, so when the child actively participates in the preparation of some food, his interest tends to grow, making the meal physically and emotionally nutritious.

Behavioral observations indicate that children who are encouraged to prepare food according to their abilities, eat better and in a more balanced way. Therefore, the activity can help, in the future, the child not to reject food.

Classes can be taken in groups and continued at home. Children must actively participate in the preparation, but always accompanied and strictly supervised. Not only for safety and integrity issues, but also because the idea is to bring mother and child closer.

Play planning

It is not just babies who need help and support in play.

Many fathers and mothers end up restricting participation in play only while the child is small. But it is worth remembering that the stimuli must be carried out throughout childhood.

Slightly older children, from the age of 6, still need constant stimuli, especially with the technological variety that ends up restricting outdoor play.

For this, mothers can plan activities together with the children, discovering what they most want and like to do.

Helping to assemble the games, draw together, dance and even play video games are activities that can be performed together with the child.

These activities, especially during the period of maternity leave of the adoptive parents, make the adaptation better accepted by all, providing greater relaxation and disinhibition for the child.

Preparing the return to work

If the decision is to return to professional activities, a new stage in maternity begins: to practice activities that do not include the child.

Although the Constitution provides for breaks during the working day for breastfeeding, it is not always possible for the baby to be close to the mother. Therefore, a series of activities must be planned to facilitate the return without harming the mother and the child.

Who to leave your child with

One of the first things to consider is who will be responsible for the child. Some companies offer spaces and caregivers within the establishment for mothers to leave their children during working hours.

The initiative favors a safer return to work for the mother, avoiding anxiety or difficulty finding nannies. However, the number of companies offering the benefit is extremely small, and it is usually up to the mother to look for an alternative.

While some turn to family members, such as the child’s uncles or grandparents, others need to find private nurseries or nannies.

Initially, the separation can cause apprehension in the woman and insecurity about the child’s well-being. This nervousness is even perceived by the baby or the child, who may show signs of agitation or insecurity as well.

Asking for directions to drop off the child makes the selection process easier. But, if possible, it is recommended that the mother make a gradual distance.

Babysitter

Regardless of whether it is a baby or an older child, in the case of adoption, it is recommended that the mother insert the nanny into the routine of the home a few weeks before returning to work. This will make the presence known when the child is without the mother.

Schools

For schools and daycare centers, it is recommended, for babies, that the mother accompany the first day or present the place. Thus, there will be less strangeness in the first moments.

In general, it is the mother who suffers most during the separation. However, in cases of adoption of older children, due to the understanding of the situation, children may feel more insecure with the period.

Therefore, knowing the environment and trusting professional caregivers is important so that the mother can also transmit tranquility to the child.

Explain the absence

Psychologists indicate that mothers talk to their children before resuming work. Although it seems like a tactic only for older children, the suggestion is that the explanation is also made for babies.

Even if, at 6 months, there is still no complete understanding of speech, the baby will notice the mother’s intonation, assimilate the look and relate to the transmitted emotions. But for the action to be valid, it is necessary that the mother is safe from speech and transmits tranquility to the child.

Plan breastfeeding

It is ensured that, until 6 months after delivery, companies have schedules for breastfeeding during the workday. If it is possible to be close to the child during working hours, it is necessary to plan times and locations.

First, breaks should be at appropriate times for the child, so that their eating routine is not jeopardized.

In addition, if it is not feasible for the mother to go home, the chosen environment should be peaceful and clean, preventing breastfeeding from becoming a disorder for the mother and child.

Milk stock

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age is, in general, the most suitable for the good nutritional and organic development of the child.

This means that the child is supplied and does not need other food sources, unless expressly indicated by the pediatrician.

After the 6th month, the baby is able to gradually receive other food groups, but this does not mean that breastfeeding should be stopped promptly.

Also according to the WHO, breastfeeding can extend up to 2 years of age or as long as the mother and child decide to maintain the habit.

A UN report points out that, in 194 countries evaluated, only 40% of children are fed exclusively with breast milk until the first half of life.

Returning to work before the baby is 6 months old is one of the main causes pointed to end exclusive breastfeeding. As the mother is distant, without the possibility of attending to the child, other food groups begin to be inserted in the baby’s meals.

However, there is the possibility of maintaining exclusive feeding until completing the first semester of life through the milk supply.

Milk storage can be done with pumps specially developed for this, or manually. This will depend on which technique makes the mother more comfortable.

The product can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 15 days. Therefore, it is possible to carry out sufficient milk withdrawals to maintain the baby’s diet even in the absence of the mother.

Stay in touch

Technology offers a variety of facilities, and mothers can use them to maintain proximity to their children. The smartphones and chat applications are great choices for contacting and check the well-being of the child.

If the baby is left with the sitter, you can chat with him via video call at any time. In addition, many daycare centers and schools adopt practices in order to reassure mothers.

Especially in the first weeks, worrying about the child’s well-being is quite common. But it is necessary not to abuse it.

Although the facilitated contact is simple and soothes the mother, it is not always beneficial, as the distance must be gradually established and the woman can carry out other activities without worrying about being a constant obstacle.

Divide activities

Maternity leave is a professional leave granted to the mother, but other people who follow the routine must also be part of the process. Above all, the child’s father, if possible, should be included in the child’s activities.

The father must share the household chores and care for the baby, sharing the moments when the child bathes, eats or sucks, plays and sleeps. In addition, there is a need to take care of changing diapers, going to the doctor and all the attention that, in most cases, is focused only on the mother.

It is important that the woman also delegates activities to her partner, especially when there is a return to activities. The routine tends to get more tiring, and it is important that everyone is mobilized so that the period becomes less exhausting as possible.

Task sharing makes parents create stronger emotional bonds with the child and feel more participatory in education and development.

I don’t want to go back to work. And now?

Although returning to professional activities is a desire and, in most cases, also a financial need, some women may postpone professional plans to dedicate themselves to the care of their child.

The decision must belong entirely to the woman, also aiming at her well-being. However, it is not always just for the care of the baby that the mother decides to postpone her professional life, but also for the insecurity and fear after so many changes in her life.

It is necessary to remember that the accumulated daily activities can overwhelm the woman, cause physical and emotional exhaustion and cause difficulty in distancing herself from the baby.

Therefore, the decision to dedicate exclusively to the child does not always come from a rationalized choice in favor of the child. Postpartum depression, insecurity and anxiety in this period are accentuated and, therefore, can remove women from their social and personal activities.

If applicable, it is necessary to resort to psychological and therapeutic assistance, starting a treatment.

For mothers who decide to give exclusive attention to their children, the period should be carefully planned. Family and domestic activities can become very tiring and, as there is no time limit, it is easy to overdo work and forget about self-care.

Research shows that domestic activities can be even more stressful for women than professional demands.

The woman then needs to count on the help and understanding of the family, both in support regarding the decision and in the division of domestic tasks.

Entrepreneurial mother

There are several cases of women who, after giving birth, decided to spend more time devoted to their children, but not for that reason gave up their professional activities. The solution found to avoid being held hostage by companies’ rigid schedules was to invest in their own business.

It can be a small source of income that supplements finances, such as reselling products during vacant hours, or investing in a micro company and more elaborate business, through own production or entrepreneurship.

Thus, the options for combining business and motherhood are immense.

There are in the collectives themselves initiatives that unite and connect mothers who wish to invest in an alternative and collaborative economy combined with motherhood. For example, the production of children’s accessories, short courses for mothers, the sale of natural foods suitable for young children or mothers who care for other children.

Paternity leave

Parents of employees of private companies are granted a leave of absence for 5 consecutive days after the baby is born. Public employees can enjoy up to 30 days of leave.

The benefit is granted in order to promote that the father supports the mother and the baby, in addition to maintaining a closer family relationship in the first moments of life.

The man can request removal until 2 days after the birth or adoption of the child. However, in adoptive cases, the child must be under 12 years old.

Due to the company’s lack of knowledge or, often, lack of social commitment, the license granted by law to parents is not always respected. This is due to the cultural difficulty in understanding the father as a participant and fundamental element in this postpartum period.

Studies show that families who enjoy longer periods with the child provide healthier development in all spheres – mental, physical, emotional and educational.

Even though breastfeeding is a period of extreme intimacy between mother and baby, a study published in the Canadian Journal of Pediatrics points out that women who receive emotional and affective support from their partners tend to maintain breastfeeding for longer. In other words, the child’s health is also benefited by the paternal presence.

Responsible company

Some companies adopt effective measures for social and family development through regulations and organizational measures, including paternity leave.

The benefit aims to offer better conditions to the parent employees, going beyond the scarce 5 days of leave. Among the companies with this policy is Twitter.

The corporate policy has been adopted since 2016, offering a 20-week paternity leave. The initiative, which originated in the USA, has spread to offices around the world.

Twitter shows the perception of the benefits arising from paternity leave, both for the baby and for the couple (or just the parent, in the case of parent soil ). Thus, there is a more active participation of men in education, especially in the early stages, which tend to demand more work from the mother.

Maternity leave and maternity benefit amount

Maternity leave is a right guaranteed to working women to leave their activities professionally for at least 120 days, without having any job losses.

However, there is also maternity assistance, which is a request from the INSS and refers to a value that can be received by the pregnant insured woman or who has just given birth.

The amount of the aid is proportional to your last salary, whether you are a working woman or an unemployed woman.

It is also necessary that the applicants have exercised at least 10 months of contribution to the INSS to be entitled to the maternity salary.

Information on requesting maternity pay for pregnant women can be found below.

For women who have given birth (childbirth) and fit as:

  • Employees of a private company: must apply at the company 28 days before delivery. For this, they must bring a medical certificate (if they leave 28 days before delivery); Birth or stillbirth certificate.
  • Unemployed: they must apply to the INSS after delivery. For this, they must bring a birth certificate.
  • Other insured: they must apply to the INSS from 28 days before delivery. To do so, they must bring a medical certificate (if they leave 28 days before delivery); Birth or stillbirth certificate.

For women and men who have adopted and fit as:

  • All adopters (fathers and mothers): must apply to the INSS after adoption or custody for adoption purposes. For that, they must bring a Term of custody or new certificate.

For women who have undergone non-criminal abortion and are classified as:

  • Private workers: they must make the request in the company itself from the occurrence of the abortion. For that, they must take a medical certificate proving the situation.
  • Other workers: they must make the request at the INSS from the occurrence of the abortion. For that, they must take a medical certificate proving the situation.

How to calculate the aid?

When requesting assistance, the INSS will perform all due calculations. However, to assist the requesting mother, the following process can be performed:

For individual, voluntary or unemployed taxpayers who have had a contribution of 1 minimum wage in the last 15 months, an average of the amount is made.

In other words, the last 12 payments (which is the salary amount) are added and the amount is divided by 12.

In the event that the average amount is below the current minimum wage, the benefit received by the mother is equivalent. That is, the amount paid is 1 minimum wage.

For domestic servants, the calculation considers the last contribution to the INSS, as the legislation determines that the amount is based on the last contribution salary.

As for the individual workers who receive variable remuneration, an average of the last 6 payments is made.

Common questions

Can a woman add her vacation to maternity leave?

Yes. When the worker is already entitled to vacation and the company agrees, it is possible to amend the periods.

It is also worth remembering that maternity leave is not an unjustified leave. That is, the counting of days runs normally, and the days are considered as worked.

Who pays for maternity leave?

For employees of a private company, it is the employer who keeps monthly payments during maternity leave. However, it is the company’s right to request compensation from the INSS through the reduction of the company’s monthly payment.

Domestic workers and self-employed workers receive assistance directly from the INSS.


Maternity leave is a period granted to mothers, biological or adoptive, for them to recover, care for and enjoy their children. The routine is largely impacted and, therefore, removal is a facilitating measure.

The time is not just to take care of the newly arrived baby or child, but also to organize the routine, take care of health and plan for the future.

A well-used maternity leave can bring numerous immediate and future benefits to the mother and child.

Read more tips and essential maternity care on our blog!

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