New parents are entitled to more paid leave, but is it enough?
An expansion of the paid parental leave system comes into effect for new parents in the Netherlands from Tuesday, allowing mothers and partners to take off nine weeks paid at 70% of their daily rate up – to a maximum of €155 a day.
This replaces part of the unpaid leave system through which parents can also take off a further 17 weeks unpaid in the first eight years of their child’s life.
One aim of the expansion of paid leave is to try to break through traditional role patterns, by which women are responsible for most childcare duties.
‘If you both have a job, paid leave gives both parents more time to get to know their child and restructure their lives,’ Marjet Winsemius, of working parents association Stichting Werkende Ouders told broadcaster NOS.
The payment however, she said, is not enough at a time of high inflation and rising energy costs.
Research published by the social affairs ministry earlier this year shows 75% of partners do take advantage of paid leave, but 40% of those who don’t say they cannot afford it.
Paid partner leave was expanded from two to five days in 2019 and since 2020, fathers and partners have been allowed to take a further five weeks off at 70% of their regular pay within the first six months after birth. This is partly funded by the government.
Mothers also get 14 weeks maternity leave during which they are entitled to 100% of their salary.
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