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Paid Parental Leave Act and other leave arrangements around the birth of your child

At the beginning of August this year, the so-called “Paid Parental Leave Act” (hereinafter: WBO) came into force, allowing employees to take 9 weeks of additional parental leave. However, this is not the only form of leave around the birth of a child. The Work and Care Act (hereinafter: WAZO), which also includes the WBO, regulates the following forms of leave to which employees are entitled:  
  • Maternity and childbirth leave
  • Calamity leave
  • Birth leave
  • Supplemental birth leave
  • Parental leave

1. Maternity and childbirth leave.

Women are entitled to maternity leave for a period of 16 weeks. In the period before giving birth, the employee is entitled to maternity leave and receives maternity allowance during this leave. Maternity leave starts between 6 weeks and 4 weeks before the day after the due date (flexibility period).

Example:

The employee’s due date is December 1. The day after is December 2. The leave starts between 6 and 4 weeks before December 2. Therefore, between October 21 and November 4. The employee decides on which day within this period the leave starts.

After childbirth, the employee is entitled to childbirth leave and an accompanying childbirth benefit of at least 10 weeks. The childbirth leave starts on the day after the birth of the child. The leave lasts at least 10 weeks. Even if the baby is born later than the due date. The maternity leave then lasts longer than 16 weeks.

Example:

The employee stops working 6 weeks before the day after the due date, but the baby is born 2 weeks after this date. The employee then has 8 weeks of maternity leave and 10 weeks of childbirth leave. In total, the employee has 18 weeks of leave.

When the baby is born prematurely, the days that the maternity leave was shorter are added to the maternity leave, because the total leave period is at least 16 weeks.

The UWV calculates the benefit for pregnancy and maternity leave (and for additional birth leave and parental leave) on the employee’s daily wage by adding;

  • taking the date of 1 month prior to the employee’s leave. From this date, SV wages are calculated up to one year back.
  • The SV wage is divided by 261 workable days. If the employee has been employed for less than a year, the SV wage is divided by the number of days the employee was paid.

The result of this is the daily wage. The maternity leave allowance is 100% of the (maximum) daily wage. The maximum daily wage is € 232.90 per day (2022). This is equal to € 5,065.58 gross per month.

2. Calamity leave

The partner of the pregnant employee can take calamity leave to attend the birth. The leave lasts as long as it is necessary to be present at the birth. It is also possible to take calamity leave to report the birth at the town hall and it is not necessary to take birth leave for this. The employee is entitled to this leave with pay.

3. Birth leave

Since January 1, 2019, after the birth of the spouse, registered partner, the person with whom the employee cohabits unmarried or the person from whom the employee recognizes the child, partners are granted birth leave once the number of working hours per week. The leave must be taken, counting from the first day after the birth, within 4 weeks after the child is born. This also applies if the child must first stay in the hospital for a while. The period of 4 weeks does not shift as a result.

The employee must inform the employer in advance or as soon as possible after the birth that leave will be taken. This can be done verbally or in writing. The employer may not refuse this leave. As with the calamity leave, the employee is entitled to leave with full pay.

4. Additional birth leave

Since July 1, 2020, partners can take up to 5 weeks (5 times the number of working hours per week) of additional birth leave. During the leave, the partner does not receive a salary, but instead a benefit from the UWV. Partners are entitled to additional birth leave if the child is born on or after 1 July 2020. They have to take the additional birth leave within 6 months after the birth of the child, but have first taken the birth leave of 1 week.

The employer may not refuse the request for additional birth leave. However, it can refuse the distribution of working hours, but this is only possible if the leave would cause serious problems for the company.

 

The UWV calculates the benefit for the additional birth leave on the employee’s daily wage. Under the WAZO, employees are entitled to a benefit from the UWV equal to 70% of the (maximum) daily wage. The employer applies for the benefit from the UWV and pays it to the employee. If the employer chooses to do so at the time of application, it is possible that the benefit will be paid directly to the employee by the UWV.

 

Example:

  • An employee with a calculated daily wage by the UWV of € 350.00 will receive no more than 70% of the maximum daily wage of € 232.90. In this case, the maximum amount of the benefit is € 163.03 per day. This is equal to a gross amount of € 3,545.90 per month.
  • An employee with a calculated daily wage by the UWV of € 200.00, receives a benefit of 70% of the daily wage. In this case, the employee will receive a benefit from the UWV amounting to € 140.00 per day. This is equal to a gross amount of € 3,045.00 per month.

5. Parental leave

From 2 August 2022, employees will be able to take paid parental leave and receive a benefit from the UWV for this. Employees already had the option of taking unpaid parental leave up to the child’s eighth birthday, but the aim of paid parental leave is to give parents the option of taking paid leave for up to 9 weeks out of these 26 weeks.

Under the WBO, employees are entitled to a benefit from the UWV equal to 70% of the (maximum) daily wage. The UWV calculates the benefit for parental leave in the same way as the benefit based on the additional birth leave. However, it is possible that the CAO or employment contract contains exceptions whereby the payment is supplemented by the employer.

For women, this parental leave will be in addition to the existing 16 weeks of maternity leave. With the entry into force of the WBO, women will be entitled to a total of 25 weeks of paid leave instead of the 16 weeks to which they were already entitled. For men, parental leave will also be in addition to the existing paid maternity leave. With the enactment of the WBO, men will be entitled to a total of 15 weeks of paid leave instead of the 6 weeks to which they were entitled until recently.

 

The law will also apply to parents with a child younger than one year. The condition is that the number of statutory parental leave hours has not yet been taken and that the parent is still an employee. Also, the employee must have at least one week left of unpaid parental leave. The employer can only claim benefits in whole (working) weeks. If these conditions are met, an entitlement to paid leave follows by means of a UWV payment with respect to the remaining statutory parental leave hours until the child reaches the age of one year.

To be entitled to parental leave, the employee must have submitted a written request to the employer at least two months in advance. In doing so, the employee must address how he wants to take the leave hours and how he wants to spread them out. The employee can adjust the working hours for 1 year, but if the employer agrees, this period can be longer.

The employer may not refuse the request for parental leave. However, it can refuse the distribution of working hours. This can be done up to 4 weeks before the parental leave start date, but is only possible if the leave will cause serious problems for the company. In such situations, the employer must agree with the employee on another distribution of leave hours.

The total amount of statutory parental leave is still 26 weeks times the number of hours of one working week under the WAZO. An employee may also still take the leave during the first 8 years of the child’s life. However, the condition for the paid parental leave is that the employee can only take it in the first year and for 9 weeks. The number of hours/days that may remain after this can still be taken unpaid until the eighth year of life.

If a child is adopted, a parent may take paid leave within one year of the adoption provided the child has not yet reached the age of eight years.

If an employee has submitted a request to the employer at least 2 months before the leave, the employer is obliged to apply for the UWV benefit. The application for the benefit can, as with the application for maternity leave and additional birth leave, be made via the Absentee Notifier or Digipoort. The employer applies for the paid parental leave benefit on behalf of the employee, the employer can choose whether to receive the benefit in one lump sum or in parts:

 

  • If the employer wants to receive the benefit in one lump sum, he can submit this application after the employee has taken the entire leave. This request is also immediately the payment request for the entire benefit.
  • If the employer wants to receive the benefit in parts, he will submit a request with the first payment request after the employee has taken part of the leave. After this, the employer can submit up to 2 more payment requests. The second and third payment requests can only be submitted after the application with the first payment request has been approved by the UWV.

In addition, the application for the benefit is only possible for entire work weeks, but it is possible to spread the leave flexibly during the child’s first year of life. For example, the employee can work one day less per week.

If an employee becomes ill during paid parental leave, the situation continues as usual. The employer only pays for the hours for which parental leave has not been taken. The employer and employee may agree to make up the leave at a later date. When there is a totally sick employee, taking parental leave is not possible.

We understand that leave arrangements are comprehensive and complex. Should you have any questions as a result of this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Written by Rick Fransen, Fiscalist, Financial & Estate Planner

August 2022

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Rick Fransen

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