What is a ZEZ benefit?
Do you want to receive financial support during your maternity leave? You can apply for a ZEZ benefit (Zelfstandige en Zwanger, Self-Employed and Pregnant) from UWV. The ZEZ lasts a minimum of 16 weeks. Did you work at least 1,225 hours on your business in the year before you became pregnant? Then the amount of the ZEZ benefit is equal to the legal gross minimum wage. If you worked less than 1,225 hours, the amount depends on that year's profit. Can you resume work during the benefit period? This does not affect your benefit. Even if you have only been working for a short time or are a part-time entrepreneur, you can apply for ZEZ.
Read more about the conditions, the amount of the benefit, and how to apply for ZEZ.
Consider disability insurance
With a ZEZ benefit, you will receive a minimum income during your leave. You are not insured against illness with the ZEZ benefit. Not even if your illness is the result of your pregnancy or the birth of the child. Do you want to insure your income in case you become ill? This is possible with occupational disability insurance (arbeidsongeschiktheidsverzekering, AOV). An AOV provides an income if you are unable to work due to illness. The rules and conditions differ per insurer.
You can also collaborate with other entrepreneurs to protect yourself against income loss in case of illness and disability. In a schenkkring, roughly translated as 'donation circle', participants deposit a monthly amount in their own account. If a participant falls ill, they will receive a donation from the other participants. A waiting period can be agreed upon. During this period, you will not get paid. Well-known examples of donation circles are Broodfonds and Voorzieningenfonds.
Read more about the options for insuring yourself against illness.
AOV and leave
You can also take out an AOV that pays you during pregnancy and maternity leave. This does not affect the amount of your ZEZ benefit. Keep in mind that your insurer can choose to adjust your AOV payment if you receive a ZEZ benefit. Some insurers only pay if you give birth after a certain period of time has passed since you have taken out the insurance. Read the conditions of your AOV insurer carefully.
Voluntary insurance against illness with UWV
Are you voluntarily insured for the Sickness Benefits Act with UWV? Then you will receive a maternity benefit of 100% of the insured daily wage. Is your insured daily wage lower than the legal minimum wage? Then you may be able to receive a supplement to the statutory minimum wage with a ZEZ benefit.
Read more about pregnancy benefit and the voluntary Sickness Benefits Act insurance (in Dutch) on UWV.nl.
Adjust your working conditions
Do you work in a place where people are employed? Then the working conditions that apply to employees, apply to you as well. For example, you are entitled to a place to use a breast pump (in Dutch). And your physical strain must be limited as much as possible during pregnancy.
Read what rights you have during and after your pregnancy (in Dutch) on Arboportaal.nl.
Working hours criterion and maternity leave
If you make use of the private business ownership allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek), you must meet the working hours criterion determined by the Tax and Customs Administration. During your leave, the hours you did not work count as hours worked (in Dutch). You can count the hours you would normally have worked.
Apply for childcare allowance
As a self-employed person, you are also eligible for childcare allowance. You get childcare allowance for the months you work for your business. You will receive the allowance based on your annual income (including your partner's income), the number of children, and the number of hours of childcare. Are you going on holiday? You keep your childcare allowance if you take holiday leave. As long as you can show that you are still working on your business.
Do you receive childcare allowance and are you going on maternity leave? If the number of childcare hours does not change, your maternity leave will not affect the number of childcare hours for which you can get childcare allowance.
Is your pregnancy a reason for your to stop working or do you fall ill? Then you are entitled to 3 months of childcare allowance. Or longer, if your maternity leave starts within these 3 months. In that case, you may add your maternity leave to the 3 months.
Read more about the childcare allowance for the self-employed.
Will your situation change after pregnancy?
For example, your income (or your partner's income) changes, or the number of hours you need childcare? Make sure to change your information to avoid receiving too much or too little allowance. Use the childcare allowance app (in Dutch) or arrange matters in Mijn Toeslagen (in Dutch).
Filing a tax return
If you receive a maternity benefit from UWV or an insurer, you do not declare this benefit as profit from your business.
- Do you receive a maternity benefit from UWV? You declare this as wage (in Dutch).
- Do you receive a maternity benefit from an insurer? You do not need to declare this.
Disability insurance benefits
Do you receive benefits from an occupational disability insurance policy due to illness? You state this benefit in your tax return as periodic benefits due to incapacity for work (in Dutch).
Your company during your maternity leave
If you are temporarily unable to work, you need to think about the consequences for your company. Do you want the company to remain partially or completely active? Or do you want to temporarily pause your business activities?
When you choose to let your company (partially) continue to run, you could consider outsourcing some work. You can do so in different ways. You can hire a self-employed professional, you can work together with another company, or you can hire permanent or flexible staff.
If you are temporarily pausing your business, ensure clear communication with your business relations and customers.