- 06 Jun 2012
Since 1 June employees are entitled to four months of parental leave. For a certain period after this leave ends, it will also be possible for an employee to ask for an adaptation of their employment contract or their work schedule.
On 1 June 2012 the Royal Decree of 31 May 2012 that extends the parental leave regime was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. This Royal Decree extends the entitlement to parental leave from three to four months. This extension is the consequence of a European measure that had to be transposed into Belgian law. Consequently, since 1 June parents are entitled to suspend (or to decrease) their work for four months full-time (or eight months half-time, or 20 months when working a 4/5-time schedule, or a combination of these regimes) to take care of a child aged up to 12. For severely disabled children, the age limit is also increased to 21 years. However, for this 4th month of parental leave, there only is an entitlement to interruption benefits for employees who take the 4th month for children born or adopted on or after 8 March 2012. Employees can still take a 4th month of parental leave for a child born prior to such date, but they will not be entitled to interruption benefits at the expense of the National Employment Office. Finally, the Royal Decree provides a new right for an employee to ask for a modified adapted employment contract or work schedule for the period following the parental leave. Thus an employee can ask for such a modification for reasons that relate to securing a better balance between work and family life and this for a period of maximum six months after the parental leave ends.