Currently, both parents can take parental leave 26 times the weekly working hours in the first eight years of their child’s life. This leave is unpaid, unless other arrangements have been made with the employer or in a collective labor agreement. This is expected to change from August 2, 2022. The Senate passed the bill for the Paid Parental Leave Act on 12 October 2021. This stipulates that the government will pay for the first 9 weeks of parental leave.
Background of the Paid Parental Leave Act
Act is the result of amendments to European Directive 2019/1158. This directive sets a number of minimum requirements for maternity leave, parental leave and informal care leave for Member States in the European Union (EU).
The aim of the Directive is to achieve work-life balance and equal treatment for women and men by promoting women’s participation in the labor market and by eliminating the difference between women and men in income and pay.
One of the (minimum) requirements in the directive that Member States must implement is the right of employees to two months of paid parental leave. In this way, the EU aims in particular to encourage fathers to take parental leave. This is expected to promote and facilitate the reintegration of mothers into the labor market after their leave period.
Implementing the Paid Parental Leave Act is therefore necessary for the Netherlands to meet the minimum requirement set in the Directive.
Amount of benefit during parental leave
From 2 August 2022, parents can make use of the paid parental leave scheme. The parental leave is paid by means of a benefit from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV).
The bill currently states that the benefit will be 50% of an employee’s daily wage, capped at 50% of the maximum daily wage (in 2021 the maximum daily wage will be € 225.57 gross, fifty percent of this is therefore
€ 112). .73 gross), which equates to a maximum benefit of € 2,453 gross per month. It is not yet clear how the benefit can be applied for from the UWV.
Recently, a motion was passed in the House of Representatives proposing to increase the benefit from 50% to 70%. This increase is expected to be implemented.
Employers therefore do not have to continue to pay wages during the leave. However, additional rules may be included in a collective labor agreement. In addition, employers can decide themselves to supplement the salary up to 100%.
Taking leave Under the current parental leave scheme, employees can decide for themselves how they divide and take parental leave. The hours may also be staggered, as long as this is done before the child’s eighth year of age.
Paid parental leave may also be taken flexibly. The first nine weeks of the leave are only paid if these weeks are taken in the first year of the child’s life, or within 12 months after the child has been taken into the family, if it concerns an adopted or foster child and the child has not yet is eight years old. Leave that is not taken in the first year is added to the remaining 17 weeks of parental leave and can be taken later – unpaid – up to the child’s eighth year of age.
Employees must request leave in writing at least two months before they want to take the leave. In principle, employers are not allowed to refuse leave.
Parents who have a child before the law is introduced can also make use of the paid parental leave scheme, provided that the child is younger than 1 year when the law comes into effect. The parents must also be employees at that time and have not yet taken full entitlement (26 times the working hours per week) to parental leave.
Future in the Netherlands
As indicated, the law is expected to enter into force on 2 August 2022. It may be announced in the meantime that the benefit that parents can request for taking this leave will be increased.
We will keep you informed of the developments. For questions about these – or other – leave arrangements, you can always contact us.
For further information, contact:
Ron Andriessen, Partner
t: +31 20 3052030
Francis ten Broeke, Lawyer
t: +31 20 3052030
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