Reduction by 1/10th in the context of parental leave: finally a reality!

Author: Catherine Legardien

As from 1 June 2019, employees will be able to reduce their working hours by 1/10th as part of parental leave.

As a reminder, the right to a 1/10th reduction was introduced by a law of 2 September 2018, but a Royal Decree specifying in particular the procedures for granting it was necessary for the employees to effectively exercise this right.

This has now been done with the publication in the Belgian Official Gazette of the Royal Decree of 5 May 2019!

Parental leave: in what form?

The employee has the possibility to exercise his right to parental leave in the form of either a full suspension of the work, a half-time suspension of the work or a 1/5th reduction in work.

In addition to these possibilities, employees will be able to reduce their working hours by 1/10th from 1 June 2019.

Reduction by 1/10th

How long?

The 1/10th reduction in work may be exercised for a maximum of 40 months.

This 40-month period can be split into 10-month periods or multiples thereof.

Explanation! The employee can combine the different forms of leave. When switching between forms of leave, the general rule is that 1 month of full suspension is equivalent to 2 months’ half-time suspension of the work, to 5 months of a 1/5th reduction in work and 10 months’ reduction by 1/10th.

Under what conditions?

The right to a 1/10th reduction may only be exercised if the employee is employed full-time and the employer agrees.
If the employer refuses, he must communicate his decision in writing to the employee within one month of the employee's written notification.

From when?

This new form of parental leave applies to leave requests submitted to the employer from 1 June 2019.

Sources: Law of 2 September 2018 amending the Law of 22 January 1985 on social provisions with regard to parental leave, Belgian Official Gazette of 26 September 2018; Royal Decree of 5 May 2019 amending various provisions relating to thematic leave, Belgian Official Gazette of  22 May 2019.