Belgium is known for supporting a healthy work-life balance for their labor force. Belgian employers offer multiple benefits to employees to encourage them to start families and manage their personal and professional duties with ease. For this reason, the maternity and paternity incentives for salaried individuals in Belgium are among the best in the world.
Although mothers are naturally given more leverage among benefits than fathers, both parents are entitled to an abundance of employment benefits during the time of childbirth and post-delivery. The following information will reflect a better understanding of the maternal and paternal benefits that Belgium offers to their labor force.
An expectant mother is entitled to take 15 weeks off on account of pregnancy and childbirth. However, the duration of the leave can go up to 17 weeks in case of multiple births. The maternity leave in Belgium is divided between prenatal and postnatal time off.
A pregnant employee can take up to 6 weeks off before their delivery date. However, if the mother chooses not to, she must take at least one obligatory rest week before her due date. If a mother is set to have twins or more, then she may extend her prenatal holiday up to 8 weeks.
The mother can also choose to take her 5-to-7-week prenatal time (besides the obligatory rest week) after her entitled postnatal leave. In this instance, she will get 9-to-11 weeks in the case of multiple births, as well as the 5-to-7 weeks of prenatal leave. Giving her around 14 and a half months of leave altogether.
As previously mentioned, a pregnant employee is entitled to 9 weeks of rest after giving birth, which can be extended to 11 weeks in case of multiple births.
If a newborn suffers any complications and must extend their hospital stay, then the mother can also extend her time off from work, which will not interfere with the standard postnatal leave. This extended leave due to circumstance cannot exceed 24 weeks.
An employer cannot fire or dismiss a pregnant employee during the duration of her pregnancy or a month post birth, unless there is a significant reason that does not relate to her pregnancy or physical condition during or after childbirth.
The expected mother does not get paid during her time off due to childbirth. Instead, she will access her maternity benefits from her maternity insurance fund. In order for it to be applicable, she must submit an application that proves the following:
- She completed a waiting period of 6 months.
- And that during these 6 months, she performed the minimum work requirement.
The maternity benefit in Belgium is
- 82 % of the non-ceiled salary for the first 30 days.
- 75 % of the ceiled salary from the 31st day onwards.
Fathers or co-parents are allowed to take 10 days off after the child is born or gained custody of, in the case of an adoption. An employee can take the specified 10 days off at any point during the first 4 months of the child’s life. In relation to the mother’s requirements, the father must also work 6 months of the minimum requirement of work prior to receiving their paternity benefits.
A father’s paternity benefit amounts to 82 % of their foregone (ceiled) gross salary. (See also: Time off in Belgium)