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In the Netherlands, employees can make use of various statutory leave schemes. Collective labour agreements (CAO) may contain different rules. If a CAO has been declared universally binding for your sector, you are obliged as an employer to comply with it. Besides you can make individual agreements with your employees.
Pregnancy and maternity leave
Pregnant employees are entitled to 4-6 weeks pregnancy leave (before the due date) and at least 10 weeks maternity leave (after childbirth). If your employee takes less than 6 weeks pregnancy leave before the birth, she is entitled to add the remaining amount (up to 2 weeks) to her maternity leave after the birth. If the baby is born later than the due date, the employee's maternity leave begins after the actual birth and may therefore be longer than 16 weeks.
If your employee is expecting multiple births, she is entitled to at least 8 weeks of pregnancy leave, with a maximum of 10. She is also entitled to a maternity pay. From 1 April 2018 women employees who are expecting multiple births are entitled to at least 20 weeks leave. Women already on pregnancy or maternity leave on 1 April 2018 (i.e. those who have been on leave since 11 December 2017) are also entitled 20 weeks.
If the baby goes into hospital directly after birth or during the maternity leave, your employee's entitlement to 10 weeks maternity leave begins after the baby has left the hospital. If the mother dies in childbirth, her partner is entitled to the maternity leave.
Employers can apply for a maternity allowance on behalf of their employee to the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) (Dutch).
Self-employed professionals are also entitled to pregnancy leave, maternity leave and an allowance.
Employees are entitled to two working days of paternity leave if their partner has just given birth. During this period of leave you must continue to pay 100% of the employee's salary. Also, they are entitled to take 3 days of unpaid leave after their child is born, as well as to take 'other short absence leave' for the birth itself and for civil registration purposes.
Emergency leave and other short absence leave
Emergency leave is intended for unforeseen personal circumstances for which an employee has to take time off immediately, for instance, when making arrangements for the care of a sick family member or in the event of a death in the family. You must always grant a reasonable request for emergency leave. During this period of leave, you are required to continue paying the employee's salary.
Employees with children aged up to 8 can take unpaid parental leave. They are eligible as soon as they start working for you. You must allow this leave.
Short-term care leave
Short-term care leave can be taken to provide essential care to parents, ill children who still live at home or partners. However, this leave is only granted on the condition that the employee in question is the only person who can look after the ill person at that moment in time. During the period of leave, you continue to pay part of the employee's salary.
Long-term care leave
If a child, partner or parent of one of your employees is seriously (i.e. life threateningly) ill and requires care, the employee can request long-term care leave. During this period of leave, you do not have to continue paying the employee's salary.
Employees who have adopted a child, are entitled to adoption leave (foster leave). The leave applies to both parents. They are entitled to an adoption or foster care allowance (Dutch).
Special or extraordinary leave
Special leave and extraordinary leave are not based on any law, but are rather provided for in your collective labour agreement (CAO), company scheme or employee contract. It includes leave for giving official notice of an intended marriage, marriage (of a family member), moving house, funeral (of a family member), a service or wedding anniversary, an interview or for consulting a doctor.
Employees may in consultation with you take unpaid leave on a full-time or part-time basis. The employment contract will continue during the leave. Employees do not have any legal entitlement to unpaid leave. However, it is possible for the collective labour agreement to include arrangements relating to unpaid leave.
Proposed changes to leave schemes for parents
As of 1 January 2019, the following changes have been proposed for working parents:
- Employees who adopt or foster a child will be entitled to longer adoption or foster parent leave. The leave is to increase from 4 to 6 weeks.
- If the partner of an employee gives birth, the employee will in future have a right to one week paid leave (currently two days) following the birth. This paid leave can be taken any time in the first four weeks after the birth of the child. The employee will also be entitled to 5 weeks unpaid leave in the first six months after the birth. Employees who take unpaid leave will be able to claim benefits from the Employment Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) for up to 70% of their salary.
These measures were announced on Prinsjesdag 2018 (Budget Day) and are, of course, subject to their passing through the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, as is the date of introduction.