Unpaid care leave rights to be extended from family to friends

New fathers whose wives die in childbirth will get 10 weeks off work to take care of the baby, if new legislation drawn up by social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher is approved.

Mothers whose babies are hospitalised will also get 10 weeks maternity leave to take care of the child once it returns home. At present, official maternity leave ends 10 weeks after the birth.

Asscher also wants to expand the current right to unpaid care leave to look after a sick close family member to cover friends as well. Currently, workers have the right to six weeks unpaid leave a year to look after a seriously ill relative.


The aim of the changes is to ensure workers can carry out care duties and that women are not hindered in their career by problems in combining work and care duties, Asscher says.

Some 70% of carers have a job and spend an average of 17 hours a week looking after the patient, social affairs ministry figures show.

The government is currently shifting responsibility for home nursing and other care duties away from the state and towards friends and family as part of its ‘participation society’ programme.

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