Parental leave

Parents who are employees in the Belgian system are each entitled to take parental leave of up to four months per child, before that child turns 12.

If your child was born:

  • after 8 March 2012, this leave is paid for up to four months;

  • before 8 March 2012, this leave is only paid for up to three months.

    In this case, you can still take four months of parental leave, but the fourth month is unpaid.

Both the mother and father have the right to take four months of leave each, though the leave is not transferrable – if one parent does not use his/her entitlement to parental leave before the age cut-off, it is simply lost.

Adoptive parents are also entitled to take parental leave.

When can I take this leave?All biological and adoptive parents are entitled to take parental leave before their child turns 12 (21 in the case of a handicapped child) - the start of the period of leave must be before the child's 12th (or 21st) birthday.

Adoptive parents are entitled to take parental leave as of the moment the child is officially registered at the commune as part of their household.
Other eligibility requirementsAt the time you make the request for parental leave to your employer, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months in the 15 months prior to the request.

If you meet the conditions, your employer cannot refuse a request to take parental leave. However, they can ask that you delay it by a maximum of 6 months.
Do I have to take the 4 months in one go?You can use your parental leave:
  • in one go (i.e. a single period of 4 months);
  • in several periods of minimum one month; or
  • to temporarily reduce your working hours to 80% or 50%. If you reduce your working hours to:
    • 80%, you can do this for a maximum of 20 months, or several periods of five months (or multiples of five months)
    • 50%, you can do this for a maximum of 8 months, or several periods of two months (or multiples of two months).
Formalities As the procedures for applying for this kind of leave are rather complex, its best to check with your Human Resources department.

If you take full-time parental leave, you are protected against being made redundant during this time, and any notice period begins after the end of the parental leave. This is not the case for parental leave that is spread out.
How much am I paid?The government allowance you receive:
  • is independent of your salary; but
  • depends on your presence time (e.g. working at 80% or 50%) in the period before taking parental leave.
For example, if you are working full-time, you currently receive about €750 per month net for full-time parental leave. If you are working part-time, this amount you will receive is prorated.

Also, as mentioned above, your child's date of birth (before or after 8 March 2012) will determine whether you can receive a government allowance for three or four months.

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