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Belgium extends paternity leave by 5 days from 1 January

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On Tuesday, Belgium’s Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs has given the official go-ahead for the extension of paternity leave.

From 1 January 2021, leave for fathers will be increased from the 10 days it is now, to 15 days. The 15 days can be taken separately or in a row as well as split up to up to 30 half-days.

From 2023, it will be extended with another five days, to a total of 20. The extension will apply to employees as well as to self-employed workers and civil servants.

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Additionally, they will be able to schedule their leave days themselves, within four months of the birth.

Currently, employees retain their pay during the first three days of their paternity leave, after which they fall back on a benefit allowance. From 2021, they will also be able to receive that allowance on the additional days of leave.

In its coalition agreement, the De Croo government already stated that it wanted to increase paternity leave, as they stated the measure promotes emancipation and equality between women and men.

By contrast, however, maternity leave in Belgium lasts 15 weeks, and can be extended to 17 or 19 weeks, depending on the situation.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times