Maternity leave - What are you entitled to and how do you arrange it?

A few more weeks ... then your baby will be born! At home almost everything is on hand, only a few things have to be done. You clean up your desk, say goodbye to your colleagues and pull the door behind you. Your maternity leave has begun. Peace at last!

Why maternity leave?

Maternity leave is mainly meant to rest, so you can prepare well for your birth. Of course, this does not mean that you are dreaming all day on the couch, but you should not miss yourself either. Just keep listening to your body and especially listen to it. Are you tired? Then take a moment of gas back and rest for a while. The fitter and more relaxed you start the delivery, the sooner you are back on your feet.
Because you sleep more difficult at night, it's best to give in to an afternoon nap in the afternoon. An hour of rest, can work wonders!
Even after the birth you have to keep listening to your body. Do not be fooled by stories about women who did a lot of things a few days after giving birth. Simply follow your own rhythm, take it easy, enjoy your child, take time for everything and let yourself be pampered! You feel good enough what your body can handle and what is still too much for you.

Who is eligible?

Depending on your situation, you may consider the following options:

If you are an employee, you can apply for maternity leave with your employer. Your employer must request this from the executive agency. The administration institution pays the benefit to the employer and you just get your wages. In certain cases the implementing institution will immediately return to the employee.
For self-employed people there has been a separate scheme since 2008; the Independent and Pregnant scheme (ZEZ scheme). This also applies if you are a cooperating spouse.
If you are unemployed and receive unemployment benefits, sickness benefits or incapacity benefits, you are also entitled to maternity leave and maternity leave. You apply for this at the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV).

Who is eligible?

There is a new benefit: the Independent and Pregnant scheme (ZEZ). If you are an independent entrepreneur or self-employed professional and are pregnant, then you stand a chance of this benefit. You are also eligible as a spouse or partner of an entrepreneur.
The amount of the benefit depends on your income in the previous year and is at most as high as the minimum wage. If you are insured voluntarily, you will only receive a ZEZ benefit if this is higher than the benefit from the voluntary insurance.
The ZEZ benefit lasts for a minimum of 16 weeks. The benefit can start between 6 and 4 weeks before the day after the due date. For example, you are calculated on January 19th. The day after the due date is 20 January. You can apply for your benefit between 6 and 4 weeks before 20 January, ie between 9 and 23 December.
You can also have the benefit commence on the day of delivery in the event that you like 6 to 4 weeks before the due date.
After delivery you are always entitled to a minimum of 10 weeks benefit.
You apply for the benefit at the UWV no later than 2 weeks before the desired commencement date.

How much do you get paid during maternity leave?

As an employee you simply receive 100% of your daily wage.
As a self-employed person, the ZEZ scheme is at most the statutory minimum wage. If you have worked as a self-employed person for at least 1,225 hours in the year before your childbirth, you will receive the maximum benefit (at the level of the minimum wage). If you worked less than 1,225 hours in the year prior to your birth, your benefit will be lower. The level of the ZEZ then depends on the profit in the previous year.
If you are unemployed and you receive unemployment benefit, sickness benefit or occupational disability benefit, the amount of your maternity benefit is equal to your normal benefit.

How do you ask?

In any case, you need a maternity certificate to apply for maternity leave. This is a statement from a doctor or obstetrician stating, among other things, the probable date of delivery. Inform your employer at least three weeks before the desired commencement date of the leave.
Once the birth is over, you have at least two days to report this to your employer.
If you do not have an employer, you must contact the administration institution yourself to request the required forms. Do this at least two weeks before you want to take your leave. The form can be downloaded at
The delivery must also be reported to the administration institution within two days.

How long does maternity leave last

If you are pregnant, you are entitled to maternity and maternity leave. In total this leave consists of sixteen weeks. You can decide yourself - within certain guidelines - how you will take this leave:

- commencement of leave: four to six weeks before the birth
- end: ten to twelve weeks after the birth

If you take your leave six weeks before the due date, but your child is born a week earlier, then you have had five weeks' maternity leave. The leave is then extended by a week. In all cases you therefore have at least sixteen weeks' leave. If you take leave six weeks before the due date, but your child is finally born a week after the due date, you will still be entitled to ten weeks after the birth and you have an extra week of leave!

Leave for him

Your partner is also entitled to a kind of maternity leave, only he is called 'maternity leave' and it does not mean much. He gets two days off. When you consider that most fathers in these days also have to declare your child at the registry office, there is very little time left to enjoy. A few extra vacation days would be most welcome.

Did you know…

You can not work again until 42 days after delivery at the earliest? Even if you wanted to, you still have to stay at home for a while.
If you want to take maternity leave during your parental leave, you can stop or interrupt parental leave for a while. You must submit a request to your employer for this, but he can not refuse this. You may resume the interrupted parental leave at a later date. You therefore retain the right.

Video: How Long Is Maternity Leave In Singapore

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