What is parental leave ?

Parental leave is a thematic leave that allows a worker to interrupt his/her career, totally or partially, to take care of his/her young child(ren).

It is a right that the employer cannot refuse if the worker meets the conditions of access provided for by the regulations. However, in certain cases, the employer may postpone the start of the leave for a maximum of 6 months.

The worker may receive an interruption allowance from the NEO. This allowance is a lump sum. The scales can be consulted on the NEO website.

Access conditions

  • Status
    All employees working for an employer subject to Belgian law whose remuneration is subject to social security contributions.
  • Length of service with the employer.
    • Private sector: be bound by an employment contract with the employer for 12 of the 15 months preceding the application.
    • Public sector or education: no seniority requirement.
  • Relationship to the child
    Be related to the child for whom the interruption is requested.
    This applies to:

    • the mother and the biological father
    • the person who recognised the child so that paternal filiation is established
    • the wife or partner of the biological mother who has become a co-mother
    • the adoptive parents.
  • Age of the child
    • 12 years old maximum
    • 21 years if the child is disabled

Forms of interruption

  • Complete break.
    Open to all workers.
  • Half-time break.
    Open to all workers in full-time employment.
  • Interruption of one fifth.
    Open to all full-time workers.
  • Interruption of one tenth.
    Open to all full-time workers.

Partial breaks require the agreement of the employer.

Maximum duration

  • Full break: maximum 4 months (or 16 weeks if split).
  • Half-time break: maximum 8 months.
  • Interruption of one fifth: maximum 20 months.
  • Interruption of one tenth: maximum 40 months.

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