In this section you can find out more about:
- paternity / co-parent / birth leave (‘congé de paternité’ / ‘congé de naissance’ / ‘vaderschapsverlof’ / ‘geboorteverlof’).
Since 1 May 2019, self-employed fathers / co-parents are also entitled to 10 days of paternity / co-parent leave!!
- situations where the mother’s maternity leave can be transferred to the father / co-parent if both are employees in the Belgian system.
Paternity / co-parent / birth leave for employees and self-employed
As the co-parent, you are entitled to co-parent leave if you:
|Length of leave||You are entitled to 10 days paternity / co-parent leave per birth (not per baby in the case of multiple births).
There is no obligation to take this leave.
You can take the 10 days:
Adoption at birth or later
If you adopt your wife's / partner's baby:
Contact your Social Insurance Fund ('Caisse d’assurances sociales' / 'Sociaal Verzekeringsfonds') to get the form needed to request paternity / co-parent leave. You can probably find this on the website of your Social Insurance Fund.
Send the completed form via registered post or bring it to a physical office of the Social Insurance Fund and ask for a proof of receipt.
The request can be made at the latest, the last day of the trimester that follows the trimester in which your child was born.
|How much will I get paid?||Employees
The first 3 days of paternity / co-parent leave are paid by your employer, at 100% of your usual salary.
Your mutuelle pays the remaining 7 days, at 82% of your usual salary, with an upper limit.
Note that you will receive your payment from the mutuelle once you have taken all of your paternity / co-parent leave.
Paternity / co-parent leave is paid at EUR 80.82 per day or EUR 41.41 per half day.
What happens if my wife / partner cannot look after our baby?
There are two situations in which the mother’s maternity leave can be ‘transferred’ to the father / co-parent if the mother cannot look after the baby:
- if the mother is hospitalised after the birth; or
in the tragic situation where the mother dies.
What happens if the mother has to stay in hospital?
If the mother is hospitalised during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to paternity / co-parent leave if the father / partner is also an employee.
This ‘converted’ leave can only begin:
- as of the seventh day after the baby’s birth; and
- if the baby has left hospital; and
- if the mother is hospitalised for more than seven days.
The father / partner needs to inform his/her employer in writing before the leave begins, indicating when he/she will begin this leave and how long he/she is likely to be absent. As soon as possible, he/she should provide his employer with a medical certificate confirming that the mother will be hospitalised for longer than seven days.
He/she also needs to inform his mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a medical certificate from the hospital stating:
- the date on which the mother was hospitalised;
- that the mother’s hospitalisation is longer than 7 days; and
- that the baby has left hospital.
The mutuelle will then send the father / partner the paperwork that needs to be completed. The leave will be paid by the mutuelle and is fixed at 60% of the father’s / partner’s salary, with an upper limit of around €126 per day.
During this time, the mother continues to receive her maternity leave pay, and is still protected against being made redundant.
What happens if the mother dies?
If the mother dies during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to paternity / co-parent / birth leave if the father / partner is also an employee.
The father / partner needs to inform his/her employer in writing within seven days of the mother’s death, indicating when he/she will begin the paternity / co-parent leave and how long he/she is likely to be absent.
He/she also needs to inform his mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a death certificate and a statement from the hospital indicating that the baby has been discharged from hospital.
Read more about paternity / co-parent leave on the website of the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (French and Dutch).
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