Published on: 28 June 2022

Parental leave guidelines

The European Union has proposed a parental leave directive in the area of the ”work-life balance”. The Netherlands voted against the directive, because the government is of the opinion that these kind of matters are responsibilities on a national level – and not on a European level.

The Dutch alternative: the WIEG

As of 1 July 2020, the WIEG, or the Law on the Introduction of Extra Birth Leave (Dutch), will apply in the Netherlands. The purpose of this law is to stimulate the labour participation of women, but also to create a more balanced division of work and care tasks. With the WIEG, the Dutch government hopes to promote a good distribution of professional and private (care) tasks.

Did everything used to be better?

The mother was entitled to sixteen weeks leave (being six weeks maternity leave and ten weeks childbirth leave, or four weeks maternity leave and twelve weeks childbirth leave). The partner was entitled to two days fully paid leave and three days unpaid leave. The unpaid leave had to be taken in the first four weeks after the birth. Later, this became five days of paid leave for the partner, which had to be taken in the first four weeks after the birth.

Changes due to the WIEG

With the entry into force of the WIEG on 1 July 2020, the following changed for partners. Partners were allowed to take up to six weeks of parental leave in the first six months after the birth. In addition to this, partners received a benefit from the UWV. This benefit amounted to a maximum of seventy percent of the daily wage, with a maximum monthly salary of €4,906.15. In addition, under the WIEG, the partner received twenty-six weeks of extra unpaid leave until the child’s eighth birthday.

Updates to the WIEG

As of August 2022, the WIEG will be amended to allow parents to spend more time with their child and to ensure a more equal division of work and care responsibilities between parents. For example, parental leave will be increased to nine weeks, with the UWV providing the parents with a benefit amounting to 70% of their daily wage.

Parental leave rules

Parental leave applies per child until the child reaches the age of eight. It is therefore possible that the parental leave applies to several children at the same time, this applies to both the mother and the partner. When twins are born, the parents are also entitled to parental leave twice. Parental leave also applies to adopted, acknowledged, fostered and stepchildren. The right to parental leave arises as soon as the parents are employed by an employer. Parental leave also plays an important role when you leave your job. When you change jobs and have not yet taken all the parental leave, you are entitled to the remaining part of the parental leave with your new employer.

Holiday leave

The holiday leave concerns the statutory minimum of twenty days increased by the five days above the statutory minimum, so a total of twenty-five days per year. On top of this, there is the possible extra holiday leave from the CAO. Sometimes, an additional type of leave applies in a sector or company, such as elderly days, compensation days or short-time working. This leave is in addition to the holiday leave. Furthermore, the holiday leave is accrued even in case of illness.

Forfeiture of holiday entitlement

According to the WIEG, there is a so-called ”recovery function”. This means that the employer grants holiday days to the employee so that the employee can take rest in the framework of recovery. The statutory days must be taken within six months of the year, otherwise they lapse. For the extra-legal holidays, these must be taken within five years. When not all holiday days are used, the employee can carry these days over to the next calendar year; the oldest days are written off first when the employee takes leave. The background to this is that an employee is entitled to 104 weeks of continued payment of salary in the event of illness.

Do you have any questions about the WIEG for you and your partner, or for your company? The lawyers on employment law of Fruytier Lawyers in Business will be happy to help you.

Fruytier Lawyers in Business
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