Adoption leave

When you adopt a child under the age of 18, you have the right to six weeks adoption leave in total. It is mandatory to take one week of adoption leave, and the 6-week period may be extended in certain cases.

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The table below outlines the basics about adoption leave for:

  • employees in the Belgian system; and
  • self-employed parents in the Belgian system.

Any differences for employees / self-employed are indicated.

If you are unemployed, or are being indemnified after the end of your work contract, you are not entitled to adoption leave.


When can I take adoption leave?The adoption leave can start:
  • at the earliest, the day your child is registered at the commune; and
  • at the latest, two months after your child is registered at the commune.


  • International adoption
    In the case of international adoption, your adoption leave can start before your child is registered at the commune, to allow you to bring your child back from his/her country of origin yourself.
    Your adoption leave can begin the day after you receive the official confirmation of the adoption.
Length of leaveWhen you adopt a child under the age of 18, you have the right to up to six weeks in total.

It is mandatory to take one week of adoption leave, and the 6-week period may be extended in certain cases:
  • You are adopting alone? You can extend your adoption leave by one week.
  • You are adopting with a partner (i.e. two adoptive parents)? One of your can extend your adoption leave by one week.
  • You are adopting a child with a handicap? You can double your adoption leave if your child suffers from a physical or mental handicap of at least 66%, or has other health problems that may be taken into account. Ask your mutuelle for more details.
  • You are adopting more than one child at the same time? You can extend your adoption leave by two weeks.
Note: It is only possible to take full weeks of leave, i.e. it is not possible take 1.5 weeks leave. Also, you must take all your leave in one go.
FormalitiesTo receive payment for your adoption leave, make a request for adoption leave to your mutuelle:
  • at the earliest when you sign the adoption act, and;
  • at the latest, the day the child is registered as domiciled with the adoptive parent(s).
You may be able to download the necessary form from your mutuelle's website.
Any request made later than this is refused.

Along with your request, include an attestation of the adoption procedure, and if relevant, an attestation of the child's handicap.
If you are unsure of which documents are needed, check with your mutuelle in advance.

At the end of your adoption leave:
  • employee: You need to send a completed ‘attestation de reprise de travail’ / ‘bewijs van werkhervatting of van werkloosheid’ (form signalling that you have resumed work, and completed by your employer) to your mutuelle within eight calendar days.

    Your employer may also be able to provide the document to the mutuelle electronically. Check this with your employer.

  • self-employed: you do not need to inform the mutuelle, simply restart your professional activity.
How much will I get paid?Employee

The first 3 days of adoption leave are paid by your employer, at 100% of your usual salary.

Your mutuelle pays the remaining time, at 82% of your usual salary, with an upper limit.

Self-employed

You receive a fixed amount per week of adoption leave. This is paid in one go, at the latest one month after the start of your leave.

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