Trade minister to be first cabinet member on maternity leave

Liesje Schreinemacher at the last cabinet meeting before the recess. Photo: ANP / Hollandse Hoogte / Dirk Hol

Caretaker foreign trade minister Liesje Schreinemacher is poised to become the first Dutch cabinet minister to take maternity leave, now she is pregnant with her first child.

Schreinemacher, 40, has told the Telegraaf she will take a “couple of months” off at the end of the year. Whether or not she returns to the post depends on how long the formation process takes after the November general election.

The minister told the paper that while her position as the first pregnant minister is “special”, would be better if such a situation was normalised.

“If we want to make political and other senior roles an attractive option for young women, we have to make sure it is both possible and normal,” she said. “As it should be possible for young fathers.”

There are no official regulations covering ministers and maternity leave. New mothers in the Netherlands get 14 weeks maternity leave during which they are entitled to 100% of their salary.

Mothers and partners can also take off nine weeks paid at 70% of their daily rate up – to a maximum of €155 a day and a further 17 weeks unpaid in the first eight years of their child’s life.

Two junior ministers (staatssecretarissen), who are not members of the cabinet, have been on maternity leave. Between 2004 and 2006 Karien van Gennip (CDA) and Melanie Schultz (VVD) both took maternity leave twice, the Telegraaf said.

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