ACCESS NL > Dual careers in the Netherlands > Working in the Netherlands > Employment contracts > Which possibilities are available for special leave?

Employment contracts

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Does Dutch employment law apply to me?

What is a CAO (collective labour agreement)?

How do I know that my contract is in accordance with Dutch law?

Which information is usually included in an employment contract?

I want to know whether or not the employers in the Netherlands are obliged to pay a majority of the employee’s travel to work expenses, and if they're not, is there a way I can claim it back in taxes?

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I have some legal issues with my employment contract. Where can I get a legal assistance?

What are the official public holiday in the Netherlands?

What vacations am I entitled to in the Netherlands?

Which possibilities are available for special leave?

Employees in the Netherlands are not only entitled to fully-paid vacation days, but also to several kinds of special leave such as:

  • Emergency leave
  • Parental leave
  • Adoption leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Pregnancy and maternity leave
  • Extraordinary leave
  • Short-term compassionate leave
  • Long-term compassionate leave

The sections below describe the legal regulations. A CAO may well have better regulations. Some types of special leave are fully-paid, while some others are unpaid.

Calamiteitenverlof (emergency leave )

You can take emergency leave when you suddenly and unexpectedly need to take time off, for example when the water mains in your house burst or your child becomes ill. The period should be reasonable, so the length depends on why it is needed. In some cases, a few hours will be enough; in other cases you might need a few days. During the emergency leave, your employer will continue to pay your salary.

Ouderschapsverlof (parental leave)

You are entitled to parental leave when you have been working for the same employer for at least one year and are caring for a child who is younger than eight. Both parents are entitled to parental leave. If you have more children, you may take parental leave for each child separately. You are also entitled to parental leave for your adopted children, foster children or stepchildren, provided the child is living with you. You are entitled to parental leave up to 26 times your weekly working hours. The normal arrangement is that for six months, you work half of your normal hours. For example, if you work 32 hours per week, then for six months you will work 16 hours per week together while taking 16 hours parental leave per week. Parental leave is unpaid.

Adoptieverlof (adoption leave)

You are entitled to adoption leave when you adopt a child. Both parents can take adoption leave. When you adopt more than one child at the same time, you can only take adoption leave once. When you foster children, you can also take adoption leave.
You may take adoption leave between two weeks before and sixteen weeks after the adoption. The maximum leave is four weeks, in which you will receive an allowance that matches your salary, up to the maximum amount.

Kraamverlof or vaderschapsverlof (paternity leave)

After your partner has given birth, you are entitled to two days of paternity leave and since 1 January 2015 you are also entitled to extra 3 days leave to support your partner. This leave is paid.

Zwangerschaps en bevallingsverlof (pregnancy and maternity leave )

Pregnant employees are entitled to pregnancy and maternity leave for at least sixteen weeks. The period of leave depends on the due date and on the date the baby is actually born. You can take pregnancy leave from six weeks before the date the baby is due but it should start no later than four weeks before the baby is due. After giving birth you are always entitled to at least ten weeks of maternity leave, even if the baby is born later than it was due. A few examples:

  • You stopped work six weeks before the baby was due. The baby is born one week early. You will then have five weeks of pregnancy leave and eleven weeks of maternity leave, totalling sixteen weeks of leave
  • You stopped work six weeks before the baby was due. The baby is born two weeks after it was due. You are then entitled to eight weeks of leave before giving birth and ten weeks thereafter, totalling eighteen weeks of leave
  • You stopped work four weeks before the baby was due. The baby is born two weeks after it was due. You are then entitled to six weeks of leave before giving birth and twelve weeks thereafter, totalling eighteen weeks of leave.

During your leave, you will receive an allowance which matches your salary up to a maximum amount.

Buitengewoon verlof (extraordinary leave) – not covered by labour law

In some situations, you can request paid leave for special circumstances that are not covered in labour law. Although this category of leave is not part of labour law, it is often part of a CAO, work contract, or company regulations. Ask HR or your employer what the possibilities are to take the following extraordinary leave.

  • Marriage – When you get married, you have the right to paid leave for two to four days. The number of days depends on your CAO. The four days of leave can be split when you are having a civil wedding and a church wedding on different dates. When you register for ondertrouw (marriage license), you are usually entitled to a paid leave day. Again, this is dependent on your CAO. You have the right to one paid leave day for the marriage of a member of your immediate family. This also applies for extended family members.
  • Major Wedding Anniversary – You have the right to one paid leave day for your own wedding anniversary as well as for the wedding anniversary of your parents, parents-in-law, and adoptive parents. This only applies to the 25th, 40th, 50th, and 60th wedding anniversaries.
  • Moving – You generally get two paid leave days to move, but this can vary according to your CAO.

Kortdurend zorgverlof (short-term compassionate leave )

You are entitled to short-term compassionate leave if you have to look after a parent, a sick child who lives at home or your partner, but only if you are the only person who is able to provide the care at that time. Unlike your partner and child, it is not necessary for your parent or parents to be registered at your address. You are also entitled to short-term compassionate leave to look after your adopted child, your step child or foster child if he or she is ill, providing he or she lives with you and a foster care contract has been signed.
Every twelve months, you are entitled to no more than twice the number of hours you work in one week. For example, if you work 36 hours a week, you can take up to 72 hours short-term compassionate leave every twelve months. During any short-term compassionate leave that you take, you will continue to receive at least seventy per cent of your salary from your employer.

Langdurig zorgverlof (long-term compassionate leave )

You are entitled to long-term compassionate leave when you are employed and you are caring for your partner, child or parent who has a life-threatening illness. Life-threatening means that the life of the person concerned is, in the short term, at serious risk. Every year you are entitled to long-term compassionate leave for a period of up to twelve weeks, during which you are allowed to reduce the number of hours you work to at most half of your usual working hours. You will not receive wages for the number of hours that you are taking as long-term compassionate leave.