Birth leave: 20 days as of 1 January 2023!

Author: Béatrice Verelst (Legal Expert)
Read time: 3min
Publication date: 12/01/2023 - 09:03
Latest update: 12/01/2023 - 09:05

Birth leave allows an employee to be absent from work for the birth of a child whose parenthood has been legally established.

For births as of 1 January 2023, the employee has the right to be absent from work for 20 days.

Who is entitled to birth leave?

  • The father;

If no legally established parenthood of the father:

  • the co-mother (= homosexual partner of the mother);
  • the cohabiting partner of a heterosexual couple whose parenthood of the child is not established;

In the absence of an employee whose parentage has been legally established, a rule of priority is introduced for the allocation of birth leave: the leave is allocated in priority and in decreasing order to the employee who, at the time of the birth:

  • is legally cohabiting with the partner whose parenthood is established and with whom the child has his main residence (the co-mother or the homosexual partner of the mother), provided that both partners are not linked by a blood relationship leading to a marriage ban for which the King cannot grant dispensation. proof is provided by a certificate of legal cohabitation;
  • since a continuous period of 3 years prior to the birth, has been permanently and effectively cohabiting with the partner whose parenthood is established, and with whom the child has his/her principal place of residence (partner of the mother who has not recognised the child). However, there must be no bond of blood relationship leading to a ban on marriage for which the King cannot grant dispensation. Proof is provided by means of an extract from the population register showing that the persons concerned have been registered at the same address for at least three years without interruption before the birth.

A few clarifications:

  • These 20 leave days do not have to be taken consecutively.
  •  The employee has the choice to take the days at his or her convenience within 4 months from the day of birth.
  • In the event of the birth of twins, triplets, etc., the number of days of absence is not increased, since the leave entitlement is acquired not by the number of children, but by the fact of childbirth.
  • Only one employee is entitled to birth leave for the birth of the same child.
  • The employer pays normal wages during the first 3 days of leave. For the following 17 days, the employee will receive benefits from his health insurance fund.


Sources: Article 30 §2 of the Employment Contracts Act of 3 July 1978 as amended by article 63 of the Programme Act of 20 December 2020, Belgian Official Gazette of 30.12.2020and by article 6 of the Act of 7 October 2022, partially transposing Directive (EU) 2019/1158 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019, on work-life balance for parents and carers, repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU and regulating certain other aspects of leave, Belgian Official Gazette 31.10.2022.




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