What maternity leave am I entitled to?
Employees are entitled to at least 16 weeks of paid zwangerschapsverlof (pregnancy leave) and bevallingsverlof (maternity leave), starting in most cases four to six weeks before the expected date of the child’s birth or due date. Please note that it is a government requirement that you must take pregnancy leave – meaning you must stop working – four weeks before the due date. After the birth of your child, you are entitled to take up to at least ten weeks of paid maternity leave, even if the baby was born after its due date. You are required to inform your employer at least three weeks prior to the beginning of your pregnancy leave .You will be required to submit a certificate, either from your doctor or midwife, to your employer in which the baby’s due date is stated.
Your employer will claim the maternity and pregnancy benefit (zwangerschaps- en bevallingsuitkering) on your behalf to the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV). This should be done at least two weeks before the start date of your pregnancy leave, and it is usually paid to the employer. However, if it is more convenient for you to get it transferred directly (e.g. your employment contract ends during your leave), check with your employer.
This benefit will match the mother’s salary. Please note there is a maximum daily amount that is updated yearly. If your normal salary exceeds this daily allowance, then your employer may make up the difference, but this is not mandatory. Find the latest information at the UWV website (in Dutch only): www.uwv.nl/particulieren/zwanger-adoptie-pleegzorg/zwanger-met-werkgever.
Partners are entitled to five days of kraamverlof or vaderschapsverlof (paternity leave) paid in full by the employer when their partner has just given birth and maximum five weeks unpaid leave after their child is born. These entitlements are equally applicable to married couples who already have children.
Both you and your partner may take ouderschapsverlof (additional unpaid parental leave). This is a leave entitlement that you can take in order to care for a child who is less than eight years of age. You must have been working for the same employer for at least one year. If you have more than one child, you can take parental leave for each child separately. Please note, this additional leave is not paid unless special arrangements are made between the employer and the employee. In addition both partners can take 9 weeks of parental leave in addition to the leave mentioned above. This leave will be partly paid and has to be taken within one year after the birth of the baby.
What other leaves-of-absence from work are there relating to my children?
The Dutch government provides several different arrangements to cover the rights for parents to take care of their child.
- Emergency leave (calamiteitenverlof): Employees are entitled to a short leave, with salary, when the employee cannot work because of very exceptional personal circumstances. You can be entitled to emergency leave, for instance, if your child becomes ill and you have to care for him/her at home, or if the child is ill and you have to collect him/her from school.
- Short-term care leave (kortdurend zorgverlof): In addition to emergency leave, short-term care leave is available to employees who have to look after a sick child, partner, family members or other persons living with them or a very close friend or neighbour; the employer must pay at least 70% of your salary.
- Long-term care leave (langdurend zorgverlof): If necessary, the employee can ask for an extension to the short-term leave to continue caring for the same person. However, this leave is totally unpaid and can be taken all in one block or spread over a maximum period of 26 weeks.
- Adoption leave (adoptieverlof): Parents adopting a child are entitled to a maximum of six weeks paid adoption leave. The same entitlement applies for foster parents, if it is clear from the start that the child will be joining the family on a permanent basis. Adoption leave can start up to four weeks prior to the handover of the child to the adoptive parents.
- 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 one yerar, you work half of your normal hours. For example, if you work 32 hours per week, then forone year you will work 16 hours per week together while taking 16 hours parental leave per week. Parental leave is unpaid. In addition, both parents are entitled to nine extra weeks of parental leave. This leave will be partly paid.
- Geboorteverlof is the official name for vaderschapsverlof (paternity leave) You are entitled to one full week of paid paternity leave within four weeks after the birth of the baby. In addition you can a take a maximum of five weeks extra paternity leave, which is partially paid. Before you are allowed to use these five weeks, you must have first used the week of paid leave. You must use the additional leave within six months after the birth. During the extra paternity leave, you don’t receive a salary but a the benefit from the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, Employee Insurance Agency). This is 70% of your salary. If your salary is higher than a certain maximum, you will receive 70% of this maximum. You can read more about this on https://www.uwv.nl/particulieren/overige-onderwerpen/aanvullend-geboorteverlof-voor-partners/hoe-regelt-aanvullend-geboorteverlof/index.aspx (in Dutch only).
More information can be found at: business.gov.nl/regulation/leave-schemes.