Parental leave: conditions, options and salary

People who have their own children or who care for a child who is part of the employee’s family are entitled to parental leave. Since January 1, 2009, as a parent you are entitled to leave for 26 times the weekly working hours. Parental leave also has an important disadvantage, because you (usually) do not get paid for the hours you are on leave. You can also get parental leave to care for a child that is not (officially) yours. This means that you care for and raise the child in question. The child must therefore live at home with you. This means that parents of foster and stepchildren are also entitled to parental leave. A father or mother who has recognized a son or daughter, but does not care for him, is not entitled to parental leave. This form of leave offers employees the opportunity to spend more time with their children. Both parents or guardians of a child can use parental leave. Many employees are not aware of the possibility of taking this form of time off.

Distribution of parental leave

An employee who takes parental leave usually takes a year’s leave for half the hours worked per week. A parent who normally works a 28-hour working week will then temporarily work 14 hours a week. Parental leave applies per child. Anyone who becomes the father or mother of triplets is therefore entitled to parental leave 3 times. People who become father or mother of a child again during parental leave have the right to take leave again for the new child. This is allowed after the first leave taken, but also during the parental leave that has already lasted. The employee may also take fewer leave hours than half the number of contract hours. For example, a parent can also take one daddy or mommy day per week. If the employer and employee jointly agree, an employee can also take more hours than half of the working week.

Contract hours and parental leave

The number of hours of parental leave depends on the number of contract hours. An employee who works 40 hours is entitled to 26 times 40 hours = 1040 hours. If the number of contract hours in the employment contract is changed, it will also change the number of hours of parental leave from the moment the new employment contract commences. If you, as a parent, have now used up 800 (20 weeks), there are still six weeks of leave left. When the period of parental leave is over, the employee is in principle entitled to work the previous number of working hours. If you decide that you want to work less to care for your child, you can ask the employer to (temporarily) reduce the number of contract hours. An employer will consider this, but is not obliged to comply with this request if there are compelling business interests.

Parental leave and vacation days

As an employee, you only accrue vacation days based on the number of hours worked and therefore not on the number of hours of parental leave. An employer is not authorized to deduct the number of hours of parental leave from the vacation days.

Parental leave, continued salary payment and allowances

Employees are not entitled to a salary for the hours of parental leave taken. An employee who normally works 40 hours per week and now works 20 hours due to parental leave, will therefore be paid for the 20 hours worked per week. If there are other agreements in the collective labor agreement, the salary may continue to be paid (partly) during parental leave. You can find this out by consulting your collective labor agreement. In most cases, taking parental leave means a drop in salary. This has consequences for the allowances you receive from the Tax Authorities. If you start working less, it is important to report your new situation to the tax authorities. You may be entitled to more benefits or less, for example childcare allowance. People who fall below a certain subsistence minimum by taking parental leave may be temporarily entitled to additional assistance. The municipality can tell you more about this. Parents who take parental leave may be entitled to an income tax credit.

Conditions for parental leave

An employee who wants to take parental leave must have been employed by the employer for at least one year before a request can be submitted. To take parental leave, the child for whom you are taking leave may not be older than eight years old. If you want to make use of this leave, you must inform the employer three months before taking the leave hours. This gives the employer scope to take measures. Parental leave should never be a reason to dismiss a worker. Both corporate and government employees may use the scheme.

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