What is a ZEZ benefit?
You can apply for a ZEZ benefit (Zelfstandige en Zwanger, Self-Employed and Pregnant) at UWV. The ZEZ lasts a minimum of 16 weeks. The amount depends on the number of hours you worked in the year before you became pregnant and is never more than the legal gross minimum wage. 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 delivery. Do you want to insure your income for if you become ill? This is possible with an occupational disability insurance (arbeidsongeschiktheidsverzekering, AOV). An AOV provides income if you are unable to work due to illness. The rules and conditions differ per insurer.
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 has no influence on the amount of your ZEZ benefit. Conversely, 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 the allowance for the hours you spend on your business. You must be able to demonstrate these hours, for example by tracking your working hours.
Do you receive childcare allowance and do you become ill or are you going on maternity leave? In that case, you are entitled to an allowance for the number of hours you worked before, as long as the number of hours you need childcare also remains the same.
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 based on the number of hours your worked prior to that period. 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 pregancy?
For example, your income, the number of hours you work, 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 to your business relations and customers.