Parental leave. Can your employer refuse this? No, and here’s why.

You wish to take parental leave in order to spend more time with your child. However, your employer thinks differently. Can they refuse your request? Not if you satisfy all the conditions. We’ve listed these for your convenience.

Ouderschapsverlof weigeren mag niet

Don't wait too long before applying for parental leave.

Every employee is entitled to parental leave, in addition to maternity leave and paternity leave. This enables you to spend more time with your child. Your employer cannot refuse parental leave. They can, however, delay it for a maximum of 6 months, if it has the potential to compromise company operations. So make sure that you request it in plenty of time.

Parental leave via half-days is an exception to this rule. Your employer can refuse this. You’ll therefore require their written consent for this type of parental leave. Learn more.

What conditions do you need to satisfy?

  • Parental leave must be requested from your employer in writing at least 2 months and at most 3 months in advance. You can request this via an email or letter.
  • The request must be completed by both you and your employer. You must specify your parental leave start and end dates and the manner in which you wish to take it: full-time, half-time, 1/5 or 1/10.
  • You must provide your employer with proof of your child’s birth.

Good to know

You’re protected from dismissal from the date of your leave request, up until three months following the end of your leave.

Those taking parental leave no longer receive a salary, but rather a career-interruption allowance from the National Employment Office.

You might still be entitled to an additional incentive bonus from the Flemish Government, on condition that you work in the private or social sector.

You can apply for parental leave providing your child is younger than 12 years (or younger than 21 years for children with a mental or physical disability).

You might find the KidsLife tips below of interest.

tip: parental leave in half-days

tip: applying for parental leave

tip: paternity leave

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