The government’s key advisory body SER is recommending a shake-up of the current parental leave system in the Netherlands.
At the moment new mothers get 16 weeks paid leave and fathers two days paid leave, followed by a complicated system of unpaid parental leave (ouderschapsverlof) which can be taken by both parents until a child reaches the age of eight.
The SER, made up of employer, union and lay members, says this system should be simplified and funded differently.
In order to stimulate more parents to take advantage of parental leave – fathers in particular – SER recommends integrating the various forms of leave into a single system.
If this leave is taken within the first six months of a child’s life, parents should get funding, SER says. Although the organisation does not say how much parents should get, it does say the money should come from public funds.
Eventually, this could be extended to 16 weeks, as recommended by the European Commission, SER said.
‘The first year after birth is a crucial phase in a child’s life,’ SER president Mariette Hamer said in a statement. ‘It is important therefore to concentrate and optimalise parental leave in the first year after birth.’
The new government already plans to extend paid paternity leave from two to five days in 2019 and new fathers will also be allowed to take a further five weeks off at 70% of their regular pay from 2020.
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