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Maternity leave and maternity leave, you are entitled to this

You are pregnant, congratulations! Then you can also take maternity leave and maternity leave! If you are employed by an employer, of course. I really thought my vacation period was a gift. Perhaps the best months of my life. First you can prepare yourself at home for the arrival of your baby. special. Especially if it's your first. You don't have to do much, except take good care of yourself and the baby in your belly. And I did!

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Maternity leave and maternity leave, that's how it is

In the Netherlands, the leave is divided into two parts. Namely:

  1. Maternity leave (before you give birth)
  2. Paternity leave (after you give birth)

But you can request your maternity leave and maternity leave in 1x during this period. The UWV pays out your leave and it is 100% of your daily wage.

Below I briefly explain the rules and possibilities. Caution! I assume the legal regulation. It is possible that your employer has laid down different rules in the collective labor agreement.

Maternity leave, what are you entitled to?

In the last weeks of your pregnancy you will find all information about the growth of your baby in the pregnancy calendar. All information about the leave of your pregnancy can be found here 😉 . Your total leave period is 16 weeks † You go 4 to 6 weeks prior to your delivery on maternity leave. You can choose how long in advance you go on leave. Unless you became (partially) incapacitated for work during your pregnancy. Then you must take leave 6 weeks in advance.

How did I do that with my own maternity leave?

I went on leave 4 weeks in advance. I felt fit and vital and enjoyed working, did not suffer from pregnancy ailments. I couldn't imagine having to go on leave and thought I was going to be bored to death. But on my last day at work, a dear colleague said to me, “Corinne, let it go. Whatever happens here, there's nothing you can do about it.' And I managed to let go of that.

I took it for the first few weeks. I went to the hairdresser, beautician and had my nails done. I got everything ready for Finn's arrival. I exercised 3 to 4 times a week and forced myself to go outside twice a day. I still had a lot to do (read:childbirth), so I wanted to keep myself fit as well. I spent the rest of my maternity leave meeting up with part-time working friends and watching Netflix.

I was sure Finn would come sooner. He was really big. His nickname was 'Bollie' during my pregnancy. I was carrying an extra 13 kilos with me (I'm quite small). I couldn't imagine him staying that long. But he did. So as the weeks passed, I got cranky and begged the midwife to strip me. But she didn't. Chris didn't feel sorry for me. He found it especially hilarious.

Luckily my waters broke on the due date. It was a long delivery. But 1 day later – on February 18, 2017 – Finn was born. He was 52 centimeters and 4380 grams. So he lived up to his nickname 'Bollie'!

Maternity leave after your maternity leave

Your maternity leave follows after your maternity leave. Your precise maternity leave depends on your delivery date † If your child is born later than the due date, you are entitled to longer leave. But the great thing is that UWV calculates this exactly for you † And let you and your employer know exactly when your total leave ends.

Taking your maternity leave flexibly

I took my total maternity leave in one go. And a little extra. But nowadays you can take your maternity leave flexibly in the Netherlands. You are entitled to at least 10 weeks' leave after giving birth † You have to record at least 6 weeks in a rowYou can take the rest of your leave flexibly – in consultation with your employer. This takes place over a maximum period of 30 weeks. You agree this with your employer no later than 3 weeks after your delivery.

I have no experience with flexible maternity leave after maternity leave. A colleague who has done it is also very enthusiastic. She had 6 weeks full leave and then went back to work for half of her hours. That's 16 hours a week for her. She loved going back to work after the leave because she needs the challenge of her job. At the same time, she can devote a lot of time to her child. It allows her to still breastfeed. And her total (partly) free period feels longer to her. Compared to one piece of leave.

Assumptions for flexible maternity leave

If you want to take your maternity leave flexibly, I think a number of principles are important. First of all, your work must allow it (NB:The colleague in question is a company doctor. We can schedule the work flexibly). In addition, it is important that you have sufficiently recovered from your pregnancy and delivery. This is of course intended for maternity leave. I also think it is important that you have found a rhythm at home before going back to work.

My maternity leave after maternity leave

As I said, I took my maternity leave in one go. Because Finn was born only 1 day late, I ended up on almost 16 weeks leave. I extended this with vacation and parental leave. I've been out for a total of 6 months. I had my reasons for this.

I enjoy my work and soon feel inspired, involved and very responsible. I only believe that the first months with your child are crucial for bonding. I wanted to give Finn all the time, attention and love. So that he was well attached before I (structurally) took him to the nanny. In addition, I did want to breastfeed for 5 months, but not pump at work.

When I returned to work I started working 28 hours (3.5 days). Chris was already working 36 hours (4 days) by then. In the first period we were able to arrange childcare with both grandmothers. Since Finn is 1 year old, he goes to daycare 1 day a week. And I started working for 32 hours (4 days).

Other forms of leave besides maternity leave

A number of other forms of leave come back in my story. For example, you can extend your maternity leave and maternity leave by a few weeks of vacation to record.

In addition, you can use parental leave record. Until your child is 8 years old, you are entitled to 26x your weekly working hoursThis form of leave is unpaid † You must have been employed for at least 1 year to be entitled to parental leave. The advantage of taking parental leave is that if you want to return to your original working hours, your employer may not refuse this. So you build in security. The UWV also assumes your original working hours. So if you unexpectedly become unemployed, your unemployment benefit will be higher.

The following is not a form of leave, but it is useful to know. You can use a maximum of 25% of your working time to express until your baby is 9 months old † This way you can continue to breastfeed and still go to work. Your employer is required by law to provide a suitable pumping room.

What is my advice for maternity leave?

Every mother and every child is different. We are fortunate in the Netherlands that we have the opportunity to make choices. Choices that suit us. The same goes for maternity leave. If I ever have a child again, I will take longer leave. Finn and I both thoroughly enjoyed this time. I also notice that he is well attached. He had to get used to the daycare in the beginning. Fortunately, it is now progressing by leaps and bounds. He learns to guard his limits, starts to chat more and more and now also dares to thunder at 'strangers'.

If it works out, I would also only bring a second child to the nursery from the first year of life. He/she also deserves to be pampered with attention in the first year. But I'm not so firm anymore about not pumping during work hours. Because I see in others that it can be easily combined.

I don't have one piece of advice. I think it is important that you consider for yourself what your most important principles are for your maternity leave and maternity leave. What suits you and what is financially feasible? In my experience, if you make conscious choices, you will not soon regret it.

Would you like more information about your maternity leave? Then look at