The Dutch government recently decided to extend paternity leave arrangements for fathers. This gives the father the opportunity to spend a full working week with his child, which (according to a study by the OECD) would increase his involvement in the raising and care of the child. It is important for employers to be prepared for an increase in absence due to paternity leave. Most fathers make use of the current two-day period and it is likely that this will be extended to the full five days in most cases. I summarise the most important changes below.


  • The paternity leave entitlement after the birth of a child has been extended to five days. The current entitlement is only two days. The additional three days are unpaid. The first two days will be without loss of salary, just as in the current situation. 
  • Full parental leave should be taken within a period of four weeks, starting from the day the child lives at the same address as the mother. However, it is possible for paternity leave to be taken from the date of birth. 
  • The future father is required to notify the employer before he takes this leave. This is a notification and not a request. The employer cannot refuse to grant the paternity leave.  
  • The Dutch government also voted in favour of another extension of paternity leave. In the event of the mother’s death in labor and delivery, the father is entitled to the mother’s maternity leave. The maximum duration of maternity leave is ten weeks.

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