Get to know the stories of Marek and Piotrek!


Marek and Piotrek have been best friends since their school days. They have been supportive of each other for years, go to the mountains every year and love to play tennis together. Recently, another experience brought them closer. First Marek and 4 months later Piotrek became fathers. Joy and hardship, sleepless nights, extraordinary moments, great happiness. The toddler’s first words (“mom”, “dad”), the first smile, the first clumsy steps. Great parental responsibility. And rights. Marek and Piotrek can take leave – paternity and paternity leave. Contrary to appearances, these are not the same thing.

Paternity and paternity leaves – who can use them?

To take either of these leaves, you need to be an insured person. Well, and you have to become a father – your partner must give birth to a child or the couple must adopt a child as an adoptive or foster family. 

Both leaves are available to salaried employees, entrepreneurs running their own business and people covered by voluntary sickness insurance. The condition for receiving the leaves is that contributions have been paid for the last 90 days without delays or omissions. 

There is an important exception regarding paternity leave. If a partner is not entitled to maternity leave (she is entitled to it for any woman who is employed on a contract of employment or employed on a contract-for-hire/ contract-for-task and pays her own health contributions), her partner is not entitled to leave either. This exception does not apply to paternity leave.

Paternity leave – learn Mark’s story

source: Canva

Let’s start with Marek. Marek is an insured person. Both he and his wife work full-time jobs. Marek wants to participate as fully as possible in the first moments of his child’s life and give his spouse the opportunity to pursue her professional goals. After talking together, the couple decided that Marek would use the maximum leave he is entitled to by law in this situation. As the couple had one child, Marek will stay home for six weeks. During this time, he will take care of the child. However, this will only happen 14 weeks after the birth of the child. This rule stems from the current legislation.  

If the couple gave birth to twins or the couple adopted two children, then Marek would be able to use a maximum of 17 weeks of leave. In the case of three children – 19 weeks, four – 21 weeks, five or more – 23 weeks.

Importantly – the above-mentioned periods are not divisible. This means that Marek would not be able to spend, for example, 3 weeks with the child, return to work, and use another 3 weeks later.

What was the procedure for receiving paternity leave? Marek had to notify his employer of his intention a minimum of 14 days before going into “full-time dad” mode.  Mark’s wife a maximum of 7 days before returning from maternity leave had to notify her employer of this intention. She submitted to him a written statement, including the date of her return to work and – information from Marek’s employer about the paternity leave granted to him. If Marek had his own business, she would have included his statement about the date of cessation of activities for the company instead of the latter. 

Marek, on the other hand, had to attach to his notification an abbreviated copy of the child’s birth certificate, a certificate from his wife’s employer and forms – ZUS-3, ZUS Z-3b or ZUS Z-3a.

The salary for paternity leave is 100 percent.

Paternity leave – learn Peter’s story

source: Canva

Let’s now turn to Peter. His wife decided to take all of her maternity leave, but he was still entitled to paternity leave, which he decided to use.

It differs fundamentally from paternity leave, although some details remain the same. Like the former, it is paid at 100 percent, and the person who wants to take it must meet the same conditions – that is, be insured and become a father – biological, adoptive or foster. 

The main differences? While paternity leave must, according to the maternity leave calendar, be taken immediately after the birth of the child, Peter had until his child was 12 months old to take paternity leave. Paternity leave cannot be divided, paternity leave can be taken in one or two “installments.” Sad news – as we remember, in the case of one child, paternity leave is as much as 6 weeks. Paternity leave can only be enjoyed for 14 days – one continuous period or in two periods of 7 days each. For this, you can successfully combine it with maternity leave.


Peter decided to take two weeks of paternity leave right after the baby was born. As a result, he supported his partner, took care of the baby, talked to his partner and did some shopping. The experience brought the couple closer together and helped the newly minted dad build a relationship with his child. The result of Peter’s taking the leave also resulted in many photos, which the family is revisiting years later.


To obtain paternity leave, you need to submit an application to your employer no later than 7 days before the scheduled start date. The application must be accompanied by an abbreviated copy of the child’s birth certificate and a statement as to whether you have previously taken paternity leave and in what amount.


Have you managed to understand and remember the differences? Let us know how it went for you!