Parental leave: more flexibility

Author: Catherine Legardien
Date:

Since 1 June 2019, it is possible for employees in certain cases to split the taking of parental leave into shorter periods.

Reminder: the right to this more flexible splitting was introduced by a law of 2 September 2018. However, an implementing Royal Decree was required so that the employees could actually exercise this right.

This is now the case with the publication of the Royal Decree of 5 May 2019 in the Belgian Official Gazette!

Form and duration: what are the principles?

Under certain conditions, parental leave can be taken in the form of:

  • a full-time work interruption for 4 months, the employee may choose to split this period up into months;
  • a reduction of the working hours to a half-time job for 8 months, the employee may choose to split this period up into periods of 2 months or a multiple thereof;
  • a reduction of the working hours by 1/5th for 20 months, the employee may choose to split this period up into periods of 5 months or a multiple thereof;
  • or, since 01 June 2019, a reduction of the working hours by 1/5th for 40 months, the employee may choose to split this period up into periods of 10 months or a multiple thereof (refer to our Infoflash of 29 May 2019).

New: more flexibility!

Since 1 June 2019, the employee can split the parental leave in whole or in part into shorter periods in the event of a full-time work interruption or a reduction of the working hours to a half-time job.

Full-time work interruption: split into weeks

The parental leave in the form of a full-time work interruption may, with the consent of the employer, be split into periods of one week or a multiple of one week.

If the employer refuses, he must communicate his decision to the employee in writing within one month of the employee's written notification.

In the case of a split into weeks, account must be taken of the principle that a period of 4 months full-time work interruption is equal to a period of 16 weeks full-time work interruption.

The employee can combine the different forms of leave. In the event of a change of form after a partial split into weeks, the principle that 4 weeks of full-time work interruption is equal to one month of full-time work interruption is taken into account.

If, as a result of a partial split into weeks, the remaining part is less than 4 weeks, the employee has the right to take up this balance without the employer's consent.

Important note

In the event of a split into weeks, a request for parental leave may cover several non-consecutive periods of one week or a multiple of one week, provided that the weeks thus requested are spread over a period of a maximum of three months. The request must state the start and end dates of each of these periods.
This rule derogates from the principle that only one uninterrupted period of parental leave can be requested per notification.

Reduction of the working hours to a half-time job: split into months

Parental leave in the form of a full-time work interruption may, with the consent of the employer, be split into periods of one month or a multiple of one month.

If the employer refuses, he must communicate his decision to the employee in writing within one month of the employee's written notification.

If, as a result of a partial split into months, the remaining part is one month, the employee has the right to take up this balance without the employer's consent.

When will this take effect?

These new provisions apply to leave requests submitted to the employer as from 01 June 2019.

Sources: law of 2 September 2018 amending the Economic Recovery Act of 22 January 1985 containing social provisions, as regards the flexibility of taking thematic leave, Belgian Official Gazette of 26 September 2018; Royal Decree Act of 05 May 2019 amending various provisions relating to thematic leave, Belgian Official Gazette of 22 May 2019.