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Co-parent birth leave

Co-parent birth leave

In this section you can find out more about:

Standard co-parent birth leave

Eligibility criteria

As the co-parent, you are entitled to 'co-parent birth leave', if you:

    • are married to the biological mother; OR
    • are officially 'co-habiting' with the biological mother (i.e. having the status of 'cohabitants légaux' / 'wettelijk samenwonenden'); OR
    • have lived with the biological mother at the address where there baby has its principal residence for at least the three consecutive years before the birth.

If the father has declared paternity, the co-parent is not entitled to birth leave.

Length of leave

You are entitled to 10 days of co-parent birth leave. This leave is the same length for multiple births. There is no obligation to take this leave.

You can take the 10 days leave in one go, or take individual days when it suits you. However, you must use the 10 days within 4 months of the birth, otherwise you lose them.

It is not possible to take half-days.

Adoption at birth or later

If you adopt your wife's/partner's baby:

    • at birth, you lose your entitlement to birth leave, but instead have the right to 'adoption leave'.
    • at a later time, and have already taken birth leave, your 'adoption leave' is reduced by:
      • one week if you have taken up to 5 days of birth leave;
      • two weeks if you have taken more than 5 days of birth leave.



    • at your employer: there is no formal procedure for applying to take birth leave. Simply inform your employer that your partner is pregnant. Your employer may as to see a copy of the birth certificate ('attestation de naissance' / 'geboortebewijs').

    • at your 'mutuelle' / 'ziekenfonds': ask your mutuelle for the official form to request birth leave. Complete and return this form to your mutuelle with a copy of the birth certificate and proof that you meet one of the criteria mentioned above i.e.

      • marriage certificate; or
      • paper from the commune saying that you are delared 'cohabitants légaux' / 'wettelijk samenwonenden'; or
      • an 'extrait du registre de la population' / 'uittreksel uit het bevolkingsregister' mentioning the date on which you started living at the main residence of the biological mother

      Your mutuelle will then send you some paperwork to complete and return to them.

At the end of your birth leave, you do not need to do anything - simply go back to work!

How much am I paid?

The first 3 days of birth leave are paid by your employer, at 100% of your usual salary.

Your mutuelle pays the remaining 7 days, at 82% of your usual salary, with an upper limit.

Read more in the document 'Clés pour devenir parent tout en travaillant' (French) or 'Wegwijs in werk en ouderschap' (Dutch)

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What happens if my wife/partner cannot look after our baby?

There are two situations in which the biological mother's maternity leave can be 'transferred' to her wife/partner if the mother cannot look after the baby:

What happens if the biological mother has to stay in hospital?

If the mother is hospitalised during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to birth leave if the wife/partner is also an employee.

When can this happen?

This 'converted' birth leave can only begin:

    • as of the seventh day after the baby's birth; and
    • if the baby has left hospital; and
    • if the mother is hospitalised for more than seven days
Length of leave

This converted birth leave can never last longer than the biological mother's remaining maternity leave period.

During this time, the biological mother continues to receive her maternity leave pay, and is still protected against being made redundant.



    • at your employer: the co-parent needs to inform her employer in writing before the leave begins, indicating when she will begin this birth leave and how long she is likely to be absent. As soon as possible, she should provide her employer with a medical certificate confirming that the biological mother will be hospitalised for longer than seven days.

    • at your 'mutuelle' / 'ziekenfonds'the co-parent needs to inform her mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a medical certificate from the hospital stating:
      • the date on which the mother was hospitalised
      • that the mother's hospitalisation is longer than 7 days
      • that the baby has left hospital

How much am I paid?

The mutuelle will then send the wife/partner the paperwork that needs to be completed. The leave will be paid by the mutuelle and is fixed at 60% of the wife's/partner's salary, with an upper limit of around €126 per day (correct as of September 2012).

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What happens if the biological mother passes away?

If the mother dies during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to co-parent birth leave if the wife/partner is also an employee.

The father needs to inform his employer in writing within seven days of the mother's death, indicating when he will begin this paternity leave and how long he is likely to be absent.

He also needs to inform his mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a death certificate and a statement from the hospital indicating that the baby has been discharged from hospital.

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Read more in the document 'Clés pour devenir parent tout en travaillant' (French) or 'Wegwijs in werk en ouderschap' (Dutch)


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