Paternity / co-parent leave

Photo by Alex Pasarelu on Unsplash

In this section you can find out more about:

  • paternity / co-parent / birth leave (‘congé de paternité’ / ‘congé de naissance’ / ‘vaderschapsverlof’ / ‘geboorteverlof’).

    Since 1 May 2019, self-employed fathers / co-parents are also be entitled to 10 days of paternity / co-parent leave!!

  • situations where the mother’s maternity leave can be transferred to the father / co-parent if both are employees in the Belgian system.

Paternity / co-parent / birth leave for employees and self-employed

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What happens if my wife / partner cannot look after our baby?

There are two situations in which the mother’s maternity leave can be ‘transferred’ to the father / co-parent if the mother cannot look after the baby:

What happens if the mother has to stay in hospital?

If the mother is hospitalised during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to paternity / co-parent leave if the father / partner is also an employee.

This ‘converted’ leave can only begin:

  • as of the seventh day after the baby’s birth; and
  • if the baby has left hospital; and
  • if the mother is hospitalised for more than seven days.

The father / partner needs to inform his/her employer in writing before the leave begins, indicating when he/she will begin this leave and how long he/she is likely to be absent. As soon as possible, he/she should provide his employer with a medical certificate confirming that the mother will be hospitalised for longer than seven days.

He/she also needs to inform his mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a medical certificate from the hospital stating:

  • the date on which the mother was hospitalised;
  • that the mother’s hospitalisation is longer than 7 days; and
  • that the baby has left hospital.

The mutuelle will then send the father / partner the paperwork that needs to be completed. The leave will be paid by the mutuelle and is fixed at 60% of the father’s / partner’s salary, with an upper limit of around €126 per day.

During this time, the mother continues to receive her maternity leave pay, and is still protected against being made redundant.

What happens if the mother passes away?

If the mother dies during her maternity leave (applicable to employees), the remaining maternity leave can be converted to paternity / co-parent / birth leave if the father / partner is also an employee.

The father / partner needs to inform his/her employer in writing within seven days of the mother’s death, indicating when he/she will begin the paternity / co-parent leave and how long he/she is likely to be absent.

He/she also needs to inform his mutuelle of the situation, and provide them with a death certificate and a statement from the hospital indicating that the baby has been discharged from hospital.


More info

Read more about paternity / co-parent leave on the website of the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (French and Dutch).


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