Your employee is a caregiver: these are the types of leave

Published by:
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW

An increasing number of employees is a caregiver (mantelzorger in Dutch). Read how you can make it easier for your employees to combine their care duties with their job. For example, they may use several legal types of leave. Or they can work flexible hours.

What is mantelzorg?

One in 4 employees is a caregiver or mantelzorger. This means that they provide care for someone close to them who is ill. Or for someone who needs extra care. This unpaid help goes beyond lending a hand. Caregiving can impact their job.

It is expected that the need for caregiving will grow until 2040. It is likely that there are caregivers among your presonnel, too. If you make good arrangements to balance work and care, it is more likely that your employee will be able to keep doing their job well.

Leave schemes for caregivers

There are several legal leave schemes to support employees in combining care and work:

Your employee can take calamiteitenverlof, emergency leave, when they have to take time off unexpectedly. For example if the person they care for needs immediate support. This leave is for taking care of the first necessary things. You cannot refuse emergency leave.

Read more about calamiteitenverlof (in Dutch).

Your employee may take short-term or long-term care leave (zorgverlof) to take care of persons who are ill or in need of help. You must allow this. Your employee can take care leave for:

  • children
  • partner
  • parents
  • grandparents
  • grandchildren
  • brothers and sisters
  • other persons making up part of your employee's household (for example, a live-in aunt)
  • acquaintances of your employee, when your employee is the only one who can provide care

Read more about care leave.

Your employee may request changes in working time, working location, and working hours. They may ask to be allowed to work from home, work part-time (temporarily), or to work more favourable hours.

Read more about the Flexible working act (in Dutch).

What can you do for your caregiver employee?

See how you can help your employee:

Find ways to discuss the topic. For example, pick a set time, such as a performance review.

Pay attention to your employee, and be understanding of their needs and difficulties in combining work and care. Point out support they can get within your company, such as:

Watch out for changes (physical, emotional, or behavioural) in employees who are caregivers. They may experience physical and psychosocial strain.

Search for solutions together with your employee. Make practical arrangements. For example, agree that your employee may be called during working hours. By the person they provide care for, or other involved parties, such as professional caregivers.

Tell your employee about all the support schemes and options you can offer to support them. Consider custom-made solutions. Are there adjustments you can make, temporarily or permanently?

More information about work and caregiving

You can find more information about work and mantelzorg, as well as tools, on For example:

  • a checklist to help you make your company more caregiver-friendly
  • an example of a plan to make your company caregiver-friendly
  • communication tools to inform your organisation

The werkenmantelzorg website is only available in Dutch.

Do you have a caregiver-friendly organisation? For example: you offer flexible working hours and employees are allowed to arrange care matters during working hours. You can apply for the certificate Wij werken mantelzorgvriendelijk (in Dutch).

Test how well you provide for your employees

Do you want to know if your business is doing enough to enable your employees to combine work and care? Go to and take the scan. You will receive a custom-made advice.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW