A bill to bring the Netherlands in line with the European Union Work-Life Balance Directive (see our previous article: Agreement reached on Work-Life Balance Directive) on parental leave (among other things) was recently approved by the Senate and is awaiting publication. Under the new law, which will take effect on August 2, 2022, pay replacement benefits from the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) will be offered to encourage parents to take parental leave.
Under current provisions, both parents are entitled to take 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave until the child is eight years old. Employers have no statutory obligation to continue paying the employee’s salary during this period; however, some collective bargaining agreements include provisions to this effect. Only 1.5% of companies surveyed by Willis Towers Watson provide parental leave in excess of legal requirements.
By offering paid leave benefits, the government expects more parents to take parental leave. When the issue was last examined by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 2017, only one in 10 fathers eligible for parental leave took the leave; almost an equal number expressed interest but felt unable to take the leave for financial reasons or concerns about overburdening colleagues.