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Maternity and Paternity Leave Entitlements in the Netherlands

Employees that need time off after the birth of a child may be entitled to some amount of maternity or paternity leave by statute in the country of employment.  The question is how much leave must be offered and whether it is paid or unpaid leave.  Netherlands has a statutory minimum for maternity leave and has recently proposed changes to its paternity leave structure.

As in many EU countries, Dutch leave entitlements are generous for the employee and may be a surprise for employers that are from countries with few employee benefits.  How can a new employer in Netherlands learn the exact leave entitlements and payments to remain in compliance? 

If you are new to hiring in Netherlands, this guide will get you started with understanding how the leave entitlements work and will be applied.  These are mandatory leave amounts regardless of whether maternity/paternity leave is offered in your home country.

Maternity Leave in the Netherlands

New mothers are entitled to 10 weeks of maternity leave (post-childbirth), and if she is expecting multiple births that is extended to 20 weeks.  During the leave period, the new mother is entitled to maternity pay of their full salary, up to EUR203 per day.

Pregnancy Leave: How long do new mothers get before birth?

In addition to maternity leave, a pregnant employee is entitled to 4-6 weeks of pregnancy leave. If less than 6 weeks are taken, the balance can be added to the maternity leave time (up to 2 weeks)

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Client Case: Paternity/Partner Leave

The other type of leave for a birth is paternity leave for the partner/father.  One of our clients with employees in the Netherlands had a question about how much paid paternity leave they should offer.  We let them know the entitlement is one week of leave following the birth, which must be taken within four weeks.  100% of the employee’s salary is paid during the leave.  The employer is free to offer more leave time if they wish.

Paternity/Partner Leave (Proposed changes effective July 1, 2020)

In addition to the one week of paid leave, there is a proposal to change the amount of unpaid leave that may be taken.  If it becomes law, an additional 5 weeks of unpaid leave may be taken in the 6 months following birth.

Although it is unpaid, the employee can claim unemployment benefits for up to 70% of their salary, which takes the burden off of both the employer and employee.  There will be a few rules on the change:

  • The paid, one-week leave must be taken first
  • The leave has to be used in ‘whole weeks’ (not just days at a time)
  • The unpaid leave is only available up to six months following the birth
  • Non-consecutive weeks are subject to employer approval

Parental Leave

Another type of family leave in the Netherlands is parental leave.  The basic leave entitlement is for employees with children up to 8 years of age.  Employers must offer parental leave and it is available regardless of term of service.  The unpaid leave maximum is 26 times the number of hours worked in a week.  It can be taken daily, weekly or all at once until the maximum is reached.

Adoption Leave

If an employee adopts a child, they can take up to 6 weeks (over a period of 26 weeks) and although the leave is unpaid, an adoption allowance can be applied for, up to 100% of the employee’s salary (capped at EUR4660).  The allowance is paid by the Dutch government.

Do you have more questions about the Netherlands?

The intricate and broad leave entitlements in Netherlands may leave you with more questions such as:

Are their prohibitions against terminating an employee who is currently on maternity/paternity leave?

Can grandparents caring for a child claim the parental leave benefit?

Are the unemployment benefits/allowances run through payroll, or paid directly by the government?

Our clients face questions like this every day when employing abroad, and we assist them in the areas of payroll, employee benefits and leave calculations.  We make international employment simple.

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