Working Mothers in Netherlands

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 16.0 weeks
What percentage of the monthly salary does a worker get during maternity leave? 100  %
Who pays for maternity leave? Employer
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? Yes
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? Yes
What is the duration of breastfeeding breaks, as provided by the law? More than one hour
What is the length of breastfeeding breaks? Breastfeeding breaks are provided for the first 9 month(s) of life of the child
Does the law require parental leave for parents? Yes
Does the law provide for paid or unpaid parental leave? Paid
What is the total duration of parental leave? 182 days
What is the wage replacement rate for parental leave? 50 % of normal wage
Who pays for parental leave? Employer
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? Yes

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.


More about maternity leave:

Women workers are entitled to maternity leave of 16 weeks/112 days (four to six weeks prenatal and ten to twelve weeks postnatal leave). The compulsory leave is four weeks prior to the expected date of birth and six weeks after childbirth. A worker must notify the employer at least three weeks before the start of leave with an appropriate medical certificate. The post-natal leave is not reduced if birth is later than the expected date of delivery.

Since January 2015, a mother can apply for a flexible use of the last part of the maternity leave, after the compulsory leave of six weeks after childbirth. The employer cannot refuse this, unless hardship is proven. In case the child is hospitalized for more than a week, the maternity leave can be extended with a maximum of ten weeks. Whenever the mother dies during childbirth or after that, the partner can apply for the remaining maternity leave. Building up annual leave continues while on maternity leave; maternity leave cannot subtract days from the annual leave total.

sources: section 3 & 4 of the Work and Care Act of 16 November 2001 (Wet arbeid en zorg)

Maternity benefit is paid for the entire duration of maternity leave (112 days plus any prolongation due to the sickness related to the pregnancy or childbirth of the female worker). The right to maternity benefit is available to a worker whose delivery is likely or takes place within 10 weeks from the termination of her employment. The female worker must apply, via the employer, to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) at least two weeks before the start of leave. The application includes a statement from the doctor or midwife indicating the expected date of delivery and the date on which the worker wants to start prenatal leave.

During the term of maternity leave, workers are entitled to their full daily wage up to a ceiling equivalent to the maximum daily payment for social security benefit (€202.17, since 1 January, 2016). Female self-employed entrepreneurs are also entitled to maternity benefit; their daily payment is equivalent to the minimum wage. More information about this kind of maternity leave can be found on Eigenbaaswijzer.

sources: section 3 & 4 of the Work and Care Act of 16 November 2001 (Wet arbeid en zorg)

More about parental leave:

Employees are entitled to 26 weeks (26 times the weekly working hours) of parental leave until a child reaches the age of 8 years. The 26-week parental leave is per child and thus with multiple births increase accordingly (52 weeks leave for twin births and so on). Parental leave is individual and non transferable however both the parents can take parental leave at the same time.

A worker with full time job of 36 hours per week is entitled to 26 weeks (936 hours) of parental leave. Parental leave cannot be taken full time unless the employer agrees. It is usually taken as part time. The above referred worker thus may work 50% of his normal working time (18 hours) for 52 weeks. Employees are entitled to take parental leave for a shorter period of time than 12 months or to extend it to a longer period or breaking the leave into blocks of at least one month each. However, these requests may be refused by the employer for serious business related reasons. The parental leave is unpaid leave however parents qualify for a tax credit (available only till 1 January  2015). 

A worker is also entitled to 04 weeks of uninterrupted leave for adoption of a child or a foster child. The entitlement to adoption leave starts four weeks before the date of adoption and it must be taken within 26 weeks of adoption.  If more than one child is adopted simultaneously, the right applies only to one child. The employer must be notified at least three weeks before the date of adoption. The adoption leave may be interrupted if that is possible for the employer.

Each adopting parent is entitled to four weeks of paid leave (applicable to long-term fostering), with payment equivalent to maternity benefit. A collective agreement may provide for additional paid or unpaid adoption leave.

sources: Chapter 6 (Parental Leave) of the Work and Care Act of 16 November 2001 (Wet arbeid en zorg)