Maternity leave in the Netherlands is divided up into “pregnancy leave” (zwangerschapsverlof) and “child-birth leave” (bevallingsverlof) to distinguish between the time before and after you bring a new life into this world. 💓
Luckily, in the Netherlands, new moms have quite good conditions for maternity, so let’s take a look, shall we?
The basics of maternal leave in the Netherlands
These 16 weeks are made up of six weeks of “pregnancy-leave,” and 10 weeks of “birth-leave.”
If you’re having twins, triplets, or any amount of multiples, you are entitled to a total of 20 weeks (10 pre-birth, and 10 post-birth).
How to apply for Dutch maternity leave
Taking your maternity leave in the Netherlands can be done at any moment from ten (in case of multiple) to six weeks before your due date.
If you take your so-called zwangerschapsverlof (pregnancy leave) later than six weeks before giving birth, your extra weeks will be added to your bevallingsverlof (childbirth-leave). 🤱
However, in all cases, it is mandatory to take leave by week 36 (four weeks before birth). This gives you at least 12 weeks of maternity leave after the baby is born. In special cases (such as premature birth), the leave starts counting from the moment of birth.
To begin your maternity leave, you need to inform your Dutch employer at least three weeks in advance, meaning at least seven weeks prior to your due date.
Let op! The Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) can ask for a pregnancy statement up to one year after the end of your maternity leave. So, request a statement from your midwife or GP and keep it for your own administration.
How much can you expect to be paid during your maternity leave in the Netherlands?
Throughout your maternity leave in the Netherlands, you’re entitled to 100% of your earnings, based on your average wage over the past year.
However, the Dutch government will only cover a maximum of €256,54 per day in 2023.
Luckily, if your wage is higher, a Dutch employer will often choose to supplement the government benefit even though they are not obliged to.
Fathers and partners get a much more raw deal — they are only entitled to one week of fully paid paternity leave, and five additional weeks of partially paid leave.
Parental leave in the Netherlands
In addition to maternity leave, there is also parental leave (ouderschapsverlof), where both parents are entitled to take a maximum of 26 times their working hours.
This time can be distributed in different ways, and can be taken until the child turns eight.
So, for example, let’s say you work 40 hours: you are entitled to 26 x 40 = 1040 hours (130 eight-hour days).
You may take this leave all in one go, or, more commonly, take one day a week (the famous mamadag or papadag) for two years and a half or so (counting 52 weeks a year).
Dutch people with both sets of grandparents who are able and willing to help with childcare have a good deal. One day with mom, one day with dad, one day with maternal grandparents, one day with paternal grandparents. 🙌
This means the kid would only need to spend one day at daycare (which is subsidised when both parents work).
For international parents, without help from family, it’s a whole other story — but at least the subsidy for daycare still applies. 🙆♀️
What are your experiences with maternity leave in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!