Working Fathers in Belgium

Does the law require paternity leave for new fathers? Yes
What is the total duration of paid paternity leave at the time of delivery? 10 days
What is the wage replacement rate for paternity leave? 82 % of normal wage
Who pays for paternity leave? Both employer and government
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? 120 days
What is the wage replacement rate for parental leave? Flat rate
Who pays for parental leave? Government
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

More about paternity leave:

Workers are entitled to 10 days of paternity leave. All the workers in the private sectors are entitled to take paternity leave. An employer wishing to take paternity leave has to give notice to the employer before commencement of leave. New fathers are entitled to be absent from work for 10 days, chosen at worker’s own convenience, within 04 months after the date of birth of a child of whom the worker has been legally recognized as the father. The first three days of paternity leave are paid by the employer and the other seven days are paid by the compulsory sickness and disability insurance scheme in the amount of 82% of his gross salary. In the case of death or hospitalization of mother, the legislation provides that the father may take the remainder of maternity leave to care for the child.

Source: §30.2 of 3 JUILLET 1978-Loi relative aux contrats de travail;  §221 of the Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme;  §2.3 of the Royal Decree of 17 October 1994;

More about parental leave:

Laws provide for parental leave. The parental leave provisions apply to both the public sector and private sector workers.

Only a parent (biological mother, biological father or the person who acknowledged the child to establish paternity as well as adoptive parents) are eligible for paternity leave. Each parent has an independent and non-transferable right to take paternity leave.

The right to take parental leaves lapses when the child reaches the age of 12 years. In the case of mental or physical incapacity of the child, the right lapses when the child reaches the age of 21 years. In the case of adoption, the right to parental leave is available before the child reaches the age of 12 years.  

In order to take parental leave, a worker must have worked with the employer for at least 12 months during the last 15 months preceding the application for parental leave. An employment contract is suspended during the term of parental leave.

An employee is entitled to a maximum of 04 months of parental leave and can decide between the following 3 options or even to change from one option to the other until the 04 month limit is reached:

i. Parental Leave Full Time: the employee opts to take 04 month period continuously or with gaps (however employee does not working during this time);

ii. Parental Leave Half Time: A full time employee can reduce his/her working time by half for 08 months/50% of full time employment (or can split the 08 month period of half time into many period of no less than two months each); and

iii. Parental Leave One-fifth time: A full time employee reduces his/her working time by one-fifth over 20 months/20% of full time employment (the worker can split this 20 month time in many periods however none of these periods may be less than 05 months)

Workers who fully interrupt their employment receive a flat rate of € 707.08 per month as the career interruption allowance. Workers who reduce their working time by half are entitled to €325.92 (for less than 50 years old) and €552.84 (for more than 50 years old) respectively. Workers who reduce their working time by one-fifth (and work only 80% of the time) are entitled to €110.57 (for less than 50 years old) and €221.14 (for more than 50 years old) respectively. Workers are eligible for these benefits on monthly basis from National Employment Office for the duration of their parental leave, i.e., 4 months, 08 month or 20 months. However, workers whose child was born or adopted on or after 08 March 2012 are entitled to career interruption benefit from National Employment Office for the 4th month (1st option), 7th-8th months (2nd option) or 16th-20th months(3rd option). If a child is born or adopted before this date, no benefit is paid for these extra months.

In addition to the scheme of parental leave introduced by the Royal Decree of 29 October 1997, the details of which have been mentioned above, a separate regime of parental leave was introduced in Belgium through the collective bargaining agreement No. 64 of 29 April 1997 which has subsequently amended by agreement No. 64bis of 24 February, 2015. Under this collective agreement, the right to parental leave is 4 months. Furthermore, the agreement gives the right to exercise parental leave in a flexible manner i.e. by reducing working hours in a wider variety by not only half or one-fifth, but also by one-third, one-fourth etc. Part-time workers can also take parental leave by reducing their working hours, while the maximum age of the child for which parental leave can be taken has been increased from four to eight years, although this is lesser than the age provided by the Royal decree.Finally, the CBA No. 64 introduces the right for the employee to apply for a suitable work schedule or a modified work schedule during the period following the end of the parental leave.

sources:; Arrêté royal relatif à l'introduction d'un droit au congé parental dans le cadre d'une interruption de la carrière professionnelle, Collective Agreement No. 64bis of 24 February,2015