Paternity leave in Belgium will be extended to 20 days (or 40 half days) from next year, Federal Minister for the Self-Employed David Clarinval confirmed in a press release on Thursday.
From 1 January 2023, leave for fathers (and co-parents) will be increased from the 15 days it is currently to 20 days. These can be taken separately or consecutively, as well as split into 40 half-days.
"Over a period of four years, the number of days of paternity leave for self-employed dads will double. In 2019, self-employed fathers were entitled to ten days of paternity leave, from 2021 those were increased to 15, and from 2023 it will be 20," Clarinval said in a press release.
During the paternity or birth leave, self-employed fathers are entitled to paternity allowance (and co-parents to birth allowance), set at €91.03 for a whole day and at €45.52 for a half-day – according to the current index.
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Between January and March 2022, 2,219 self-employed people in Belgium claimed this benefit, which is paid by the social insurance fund of the self-employed.
"It will give dads extra time to spend with their newborns, which I can only encourage," said Clarinval. He added that the upcoming Father's Day (which falls on Sunday 12 June in Belgium this year) is "the perfect occasion" to recall the progress made for the social status of self-employed fathers.
For self-employed mothers, birth leave is split into two parts: an obligatory period of three weeks, and an optional additional period of nine weeks (or ten, in case of multiple birth), which can be taken before or after birth.