New mothers and fathers are to get more paid parental leave from 2022, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees confirmed on Wednesday. ‘This will make it possible for some 200,000 parents to both work and spend more time at home,’ Koolmees said.
Parents are currently entitled to 26 weeks unpaid leave during the first eight years of a child’s life, but not everyone is able to afford to take it, hence the decision to make a change, Koolmees said. Just one in 10 dads takes advantage of the unpaid leave scheme.
From August 2022, parents will be able to claim 50% of their daily pay for the first nine weeks of leave – as long as this leave is taken before the child turns one – up to a maximum of around €110 per day. The remaining 17 weeks will be unpaid and can be taken up to the child’s eighth birthday.
The new measure comes on top of two other recent changes which affect fathers in particular. Since January 2019, the partners of new mothers have been entitled to five days paid leave and from this July they will be able to take a further five weeks of leave in the first six months since the birth, paid at 70% of their salary.
Mothers have the right to 16 to 20 weeks paid leave and will now get the right to a further nine weeks, paid at 50%, plus 17 weeks unpaid.
‘Our tax system, our childcare and our norms and values ensure in many cases that fathers work full time and mothers work part time and care for the children,’ emancipation minister Ingrid van Engelshoven said.
‘This set up means some new fathers feel forced to work more hours and mothers to put more time into care duties. I want to change that. By partly paying for parental leave, we are giving people more space to make choices and bring more balance to the division between work and care duties.’
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