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Publication ⸱ 10-05-2022

Paid parental leave law

From 2 August 2022, the Paid Parental Leave Act will take effect. This will allow parents with an employment contract to take 9 (working) weeks of paid parental leave. In this Q&A, Esther van der Meulen and Harold Willems list some relevant questions and answers for you.

Which parents are entitled to paid parental leave?

Both biological parents of a child have the right to take paid parental leave. This also applies to adoptive parents and parents who have recognised a child. Finally, employees who are not legal parents but live with, care for and raise a child are also entitled to paid parental leave.

When should paid parental leave be taken?

Parents must take the leave within 1 year of the child’s birth. For adopted or foster children, parents must take the paid parental leave within 1 year of the child joining the family. An additional condition is that the child must be no more than 8 years old at that time.

Can employees with children already born before the introduction of the law also claim paid parental leave?

Yes, provided the child is under 1 year old at the time the law comes into force (i.e. 2 August 2022). Also, parents must still be employed at that time and have not yet taken the full entitlement (26 times the working hours per week) of parental leave.

How much is paid parental leave?

The level of benefit during paid parental leave is 70% of the employee’s salary (with a maximum of 70% of the maximum daily wage).

Who pays for parental leave?

Parental leave is paid to the employer by the UWV. The employer then pays the parental leave to the employee. The employer can also choose to have UWV pay the benefit directly to the employee. This must then be indicated on the application (which is also made by the employer, see below).

How is the benefit applied for?

After an employee has taken paid parental leave, the employer can apply for benefits from the UWV on behalf of the employee. Employers should submit the application via the Verzuimmelder or Digipoort. The benefit is applied for retrospectively, after the employee has taken parental leave at least once the number of hours of their working week.

Can a request to take paid parental leave be changed or withdrawn?

The basic principle is that parental leave is granted to an employee. However, it is possible to withdraw or amend taken paid parental leave if there are compelling business or service interests. However, the withdrawal or modification may not result in the employee no longer being able to enjoy 9 weeks of paid parental leave.

Does paid parental leave have to be taken per week? Or can it also be taken by the hour, for example?

Parental leave can be taken on an hourly basis. However, the condition is that at least one time the full number of hours of the working week must have been taken in paid parental leave. So this means that if someone works 40 hours a week and wants to take paid parental leave, benefits can only be applied for once at least 40 hours of parental leave have been taken.

Further, an application for benefits should be made on a whole-week basis. So if an employee took paid parental leave on Mondays and Fridays in a particular week, the application should therefore include that in week x, paid parental leave was taken for a total of x days.

Can paid parental leave also be taken in parts?

Paid parental leave can be taken in parts. However, only a total of three requests can be made per employee. It is therefore prudent for both employer and employee to apply for benefits only once it has been determined for which periods of parental leave benefits will be applied for.

After an employee has again taken (part of) paid parental leave, a follow-up request can be made.

When is taken parental leave paid by UWV?

No later than 6 weeks after the decision on the determination and amount of the benefit, payment is made to the employer.

Does an employer have to advance UWV benefits?

There is no obligation to advance the benefit to the employee (but it is allowed). This therefore leads to the employee possibly being temporarily without income during parental leave.

When should (the benefit for the purpose of) paid parental leave be applied for?

The benefit should be applied for no later than 15 months after the child’s birth or adoption date.

There is no obligation in the law to submit the application no later than a certain period after an employee’s request. In theory, it could therefore be the case that an employee takes paid parental leave but does not receive the benefit until much later because the employer “forgot” to submit the application on behalf of the employee. Apart from the lack of a deadline, there is of course an obligation under good employment practice to avoid such situations. The UWV has also included on its website that in such a case, the employee can call UWV Telephone Employees. It is likely that the UWV will then appeal to the employer.

Does an employee accrue holiday allowance, holiday days, pension and/or year-end bonus during paid parental leave?

During paid parental leave, an employee accrues holidays as normal in any case. Holiday allowance is also accrued on the benefit. If an employer does not supplement the benefit, however, less holiday allowance is accrued over the duration of the paid parental leave (namely 30% less). For example, if an employer chooses to supplement parental leave up to full salary, then full holiday allowance is therefore also accrued. It is also possible that an employer chooses not to supplement the benefit, but only the holiday allowance.

The accrual of holidays and holiday allowance during paid parental leave is therefore different from unpaid parental leave. During unpaid parental leave, an employee does not, in principle, accrue holidays and holiday allowance. However, it is allowed to make other agreements on this matter.

The situation is different for pensions. Whether pension accrual takes place during the period when (paid or unpaid) parental leave is taken depends on what has been agreed on this between employer, employee and pension provider.

End-of-year bonus is also not, in principle, accrued during paid parental leave. Again, however, parties can agree otherwise.

What if my employee has multiple children?

When an employee has multiple births, or adopts several children, the employee is entitled to up to 9 weeks of additional paid leave per child. Therefore, if this situation arises, employers can also submit multiple requests to the UWV. In cases of foster care or cohabitation with multiple children, the above does not apply and an employee is “only” entitled to a total of 9 weeks of paid parental leave.

What if an employee leaves employment mid-term?

Is there a repayment obligation? The Paid Parental Leave Act assumes that benefit is applied for by the employer afterwards, i.e. when parental leave has already been taken. An allowance while no leave has yet been taken should not be possible given this principle. For this reason, therefore, the law also does not provide for a repayment scheme.

Of course, if an employer chooses to advance benefits, the situation may arise where an employee has received payments in error. In such a case, an employee will have to repay the excess received to the employer because these payments were then made in error.

Can an employee take their (remaining) entitlement to paid parental leave with them to a new employer?

Yes, an employee may take the number of weeks of paid parental leave to which he is still entitled to a new employer.

How should I report changes regarding paid parental leave?

A change, for example an amended commencement date or change of account number, must be reported to UWV via the form ‘Reporting changes to employees on Sickness Act or WAZO benefit’.

For questions about this topic, Please contact:

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