On 20 April 2021, the Dutch House of Representatives approved a bill converting nine weeks of the current 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave into government-paid parental leave, for each employed parent, until the child is 12 months old.
The new bill will implement the European Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers and is expected to enter into effect on 2 August 2022.
Currently, in addition to any maternity, paternity, adoption or foster leave, each employed parent/carer is entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave, available until the child reaches age 8. While collective bargaining agreements may offer partial payments during parental leave, there is no legal obligation to offer paid parental leave and most companies do not supplement. Since parental leave is unpaid, very few parents are currently able to avail themselves of the time off. The new portion of paid leave aims to promote a better work-life balance by encouraging each parent to take advantage of their parental leave entitlement.
The total allotment of parental leave will remain at 26 weeks. However, after 2 August 2022, nine weeks will be funded by the Employee Insurance Agency (EIA) at 50% of the employee’s daily salary, capped at 50% of the maximum daily wage. Employers will be required to pay the parental leave allowance and then apply to the EIA for reimbursement.
While the nine paid weeks of parental leave must be used during child’s first year of life, the remaining 17 unpaid weeks of leave may still be used up until the child reaches age 8. If the nine weeks of paid parental leave are not fully utilized within the child’s first year of life, the remainder will automatically convert into unpaid parental available until the child reaches age 8. Adoptive and foster parents will be able to take the nine weeks of paid parental leave for up to 12 months from the placement of the child with the family, so long as the child is younger than age 8.
Employees must notify their employer in writing of their intention to take parental leave at least two months prior to the start date of the leave. The employee should inform the employer of the leave period and if the leave will be taken full time or part time (the spread of hours per week should then be provided). Up to four weeks prior to the proposed start date of the leave, the employer may seek to modify the employee’s requests based on a substantial business interest after having consulted with the employee. However, modifications should not prevent employees from utilizing their right to paid parental leave within the child’s first year of life.
In the absence of transitional measures, the law may apply retroactively to parents whose child is younger than 12 months by 2 August 2022.