If you work in Belgium, you may be entitled to different leave policies and benefits. This depends not only on your situation, but also on the situation of the other parent.
It is important to be well informed about what your entitlements are.
Pregnancy, childbirth and paternity leave
You have pregnancy and childbirth leave or paternity leave.
- Pregnancy and childbirth leave in Belgium: You apply for this leave with your employer. You apply to your Krankenkasse [health insurance] for the benefit you will receive during your leave; pregnancy and childbirth leave lasts 15 weeks. It is required to start at least 1 week before the birth and lasts 14 weeks after the birth. You can also decide to stop working 6 weeks before the birth. In this case, you are still entitled to 9 weeks after the birth. You therefore have certain freedoms here.
- Paternity leave: You apply for this at your Belgian Krankenkasse [health insurance]. It lasts for 15 work days. The employer pays for 3 work days and the health insurance pays for the remaining days.
Parental leave and time credits
If you work in Belgium, you may be entitled to parental leave. This is a temporary suspension or interruption (full or partial) of employment to care for young children. During this leave, you can receive monthly benefits paid by the RVA (Lfa, ONEM).
In principle, the following rules apply (in the private sector): You have been associated with your current employer for at least 12 months in the past 15 months. The child must be under 12 years of age. You cannot transfer your parental leave entitlement to your partner.
Parental leave lasts a maximum of 4 months for a full-time job. You can also divide it into different periods totalling 16 weeks. If you decide to take parental leave only part-time (1/2, 1/5), the duration of parental leave will be extended accordingly.
The amount of the parental leave benefit is set at a flat rate of â‚¬851.59 (in 2021) for a full-time period.
See the RVA website (LFA, ONEM) for more information on this policy and other specifics and exceptions.
If you have been connected to your employer for a period of 24 months, you can also take a substantiated time credit. You can take this if your child is under 8 years old and again you can choose a full-time or part-time break. The amount of the benefit during this time credit is â‚¬ 616.43 (in 2021) in case of full-time leave. You can also find out more information and specifics about this policy on the RVA website (LFA, ONEM).
You may be entitled to a child supplement from the Netherlands and Belgium. If one of the parents works in the Netherlands, the child supplement will usually be paid by the Netherlands. You may then be entitled (depending on the level of income) to a child-related budget and a childcare supplement. If the Belgian child supplement is higher than the Dutch child supplement (including child-related budget and childcare supplement), the amount is topped up by Belgium up to the amount of the Belgian child supplement. The comparison is made per child and not per family. In any case, it is worth the effort to compare carefully.
If the other parent does not work in the Netherlands (and does not receive wage replacement benefits), the child supplement is paid (primarily) by Belgium.
The child regulations in Belgium were changed at the beginning of 2019. The child supplement is now regulated regionally. Whether the regulation of Flanders, Wallonia or the German-speaking community applies to you depends on the region where you mainly work.
If you work in Belgium, you are also entitled to a birth bonus, which does not count towards the Dutch child supplement.
In Flanders, every child will receive a so-called â€œGroeipakketâ€ (â€œpackage to grow upâ€) starting at the beginning of 2019. This includes any supplements in addition to the basic amount of â‚¬ 166.46 per month. For more information, visit the Groeipakket website. The birth premium here is a one-time payment of â‚¬ 1,144.44 (in 2021)
In Wallonia and the Brussels Region, the old policy will still apply in 2019. The policy will not change until 2020. Here, the amounts depend on the number of children and the age of the child. You can get information for Wallonia at Famiwal and for Brussels at Famifed. Some â€œfreeâ€ child supplement funds are also active here. Premiums here vary between a one time payment of â‚¬ 976 and â‚¬ 1297.
In the German-speaking Community, the Ministerium der deutschprachigen Gemeinschaft [Ministry of the German-speaking Community] is responsible. The basic amount for the first two children is â‚¬ 157 per month and from the third child onwards a supplement of â‚¬ 135 is paid. The birth premium here is a one-time payment of â‚¬ 1,144.
Regarding the childcare supplement, it can be said that Belgium also counts this supplement towards the Belgian child benefit. It is unclear whether this is done correctly. In the meantime, court proceedings are underway to clarify the facts.
What if your child reaches the age of 18?
In the Netherlands, you will no longer be entitled to a child supplement. It expires automatically. Is your child still at school or in an apprenticeship? Then you can still get the child supplement from Belgium.
For more information on your specific situation, you can fill in your personal profile at www.grensinfo.nl.
For a personal interview, you can contact one of our GrenzInfoPunkte.