Child and family

Provided you work in Belgium, you may be entitled to various leave policies and payments. However, this depends not only on your circumstances, but also on those of the other parent.

You must be well informed about your rights.

Maternity and paternity leave

You are entitled to:

– Maternity leave in Belgium: You apply for this to your employer. Your Belgian health insurance fund is responsible for paying it. Maternity leave is 15 weeks. One week of leave before the birth is compulsory, then you can take 14 weeks leave after the birth, or for example 6 weeks leave before the birth and 9 weeks leave after.

– Paternity leave: This is 15 days. The employer pays for 3 days of this and the other days are paid for by your health insurance fund.

Parental leave and time credit

Parental leave:

If you work in Belgium, you may be entitled to parental leave. This is a time reduction or interruption in your working hours to care for your young children. During these periods, you can receive a monthly benefit via LfA (RVA, ONEM).

In principle, the following rules apply in the private sector:

– You have been employed by your current employer for at least 12 months during the past 15 months

– The child is not yet 12 years old

– You cannot transfer the parental leave entitlement to your partner

Parental leave is 4 months if you want to take full-time leave. You can also divide this into different periods totalling 16 weeks. If you decide to take parental leave only half-time or 1/5, the total period will be changed accordingly.

The amount of benefits for full-time parental leave (as of 2021) is €851.59.

See the LfA website (RVA, ONEM) for more information on these policies and other specifics and exceptions.

If you live in Germany, both parents are entitled to the German parental benefit. A combination with Belgian parental leave is possible. However, the benefits from Belgium may then be offset against the German parental benefit.

Time credit:

In addition to parental leave, it is also possible to claim a time credit with justification. You must have been employed by your employer for 24 months. This parental leave is possible until the child is 8 years old and can also be split between full-time and part-time. The amount of the benefit is €510.44 for full-time leave (as of 2019). You can also find more information about this on the LfA website (RVA, ONEM).

This benefit is also compatible with the German parental benefit. However, whether and how this is taken into account by the German parental benefit fund, if applicable, varies greatly.

Entitlement to child supplement and birth premium

You are entitled to a child supplement from Germany and Belgium. If the other parent works in Germany, you will first receive child benefit from Germany. If the Belgian child benefit is higher than the German benefit, the amount from Belgium is increased by the difference. This comparison is made per child and not per family. It is therefore always worth comparing.

If the other partner does not work in Germany and does not receive any other replacement benefits, the child benefit comes primarily from Belgium.

Some changes were made to the child benefit system in Belgium at the beginning of 2019. The child supplement is now regulated regionally. You are subject to the provisions of Flanders or Wallonia, or the German-speaking community depending on the region in which you mainly work.

If you work in Belgium, you are entitled to a birth premium in addition to the monthly child supplement, which is not offset against the German child supplement.

Since 2019, every child in Flanders has received a so-called “Groeipakket†[package to grow up], which, in addition to the basic child supplement of €163.20, may include various supplements. You can find more information about this on the Groeipakket website. The birth premium here is: 1,122€

In Wallonia and the Brussels Region, the previous scheme still applies in 2019 and will not change until 2020: Here, the amounts vary according to the rank and age of the children. Information is available on the Walloon website of famiwal and for Brussels on famifed. Various “free†child supplement funds are also still responsible here. The birth premium here is between € 976 -1,297

In the German-speaking Community, the Ministry of the German-speaking Community is responsible. The basic amount for the first two children is €157 and from the third child onwards a supplement of €135. This means that it is certainly interesting to apply for compensation from the third child onwards. The birth premium here is € 1,144 per child.

You can obtain further information on this subject from the respective child supplement office of your employer or your nearest GrenzInfoPunkt. If you are in doubt about who to contact in Belgium, you can always ask the Ministry of the German-speaking Community (in German).