Maternity leave

Standard maternity leave

According to Belgian law, mothers can take up to 15 weeks of maternity leave.

  • Please note: It is compulsory to take one week of maternity leave before the delivery and 9 weeks afterward. The other 5 weeks you may schedule yourself.
  • In case of incapacity for work prior to 6 weeks before the actual delivery, there is a possibility to extend the post-maternity leave by 1 week.
  • At the start of your maternity leave, send a medical certificate to your payment fund that indicates the likely due date.
  • After the delivery, take the birth certificate you received from the city or town hall to your payment fund. The final date of your maternity leave is calculated on the basis of this certificate.

Extended maternity leave

Your baby may need to remain in hospital after you are allowed to go home. Each day that your baby remains hospitalised, after the first 7 days in hospital, will be added to your maternity leave. This additional period has a maximum of 24 weeks.

Prophylactic leave and individually allocated leave for breastfeeding

  • Prophylactic leave or paid breastfeeding leave.
    • Both the duration and payment of the leave are determined by your employer.
  • Individually allocated leave for breastfeeding
    • Lactation leave paid by the health insurer for up to 15 weeks after childbirth.
    • Exceptional paid lactation leave for up to 5 months after the delivery date.

Parental leave for the mother and the father/partner

  • If you work full time, you are entitled to 4 months of full-time leave for each child.
  • This can be taken as 4 months full-time, 8 months half-time, 20 months at 4/5ths or, finally, 40 months at 1/10th.
  • It is also possible to switch from one system to another during this period.
  • The leave must commence no later than the day before your child turns 12 years old.
  • In some cases, you may also apply for an incentive payment. Make inquiries with your human resources department or the Flemish government.

Birth leave (paternity leave)

Employees and self-employed workers are entitled to 15 days of leave. We refer you to your payment fund for this payment.

From 01/01/2023, paternity leave will increase to a total of 20 days.


Last edit: 25 August 2021