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Other leave schemes

Employees are not only entitled to fully paid regular leave days, but also to several kinds of special leaves such as:

  • Adoption leave (adoptieverlof)
  • Emergency leave (calamiteitenverlof)
  • Short-term compassionate leave (kortdurend zorgverlof)
  • Long-term compassionate leave (langdurig zorgverlof)
  • Parental leave (ouderschapsverlof
  • Paternity leave (vaderschapsverlof)
  • Pregnancy and maternity leave (zwangerschapsverlof)
  • Unpaid leave

The sections below describe the legal regulations. A CAO might have better regulations. More detailed information about holidays and special leave is available on a related website of the Dutch government.

ADOPTION LEAVE (adoptieverlof)

You are entitled to adoption leave when you adopt a child. Both parents can take adoption leave. When you adopt more than one child at the same time, you can take the adoption leave only once. When you have foster children, you are also entitled to adoption leave. Your adoption leave may be between two weeks before to sixteen weeks after the adoption. The maximum amount of leave is four weeks, in which you will receive an allowance that matches your salary, up to a maximum amount. For more info on adoption leave, please view this website.

EMERGENCY LEAVE (calamiteitenverlof)

Emergency leave is leave you can take when you suddenly and unexpectedly need to take time off, for example, if the water lines in your house burst or your child becomes ill. The period should be reasonable, so the length depends on why it is needed. In some cases, a few hours will be enough; in other cases, you might need a few days. During an emergency leave, your employer will continue to pay your salary. For more info on emergency leave, please see this website.

SHORT-TERM COMPASSIONATE LEAVE (kortdurend zorgverlof)

You are entitled to short-term compassionate leave if you have to look after a parent, a sick child who lives at home or your partner, but this applies only when you are the only person who is able to provide the care at that time. Unlike your partner and child, it is not necessary for your parent or parents to be registered at your address. You are also entitled to short-term compassionate leave to look after your foster child if he or she is ill and if he or she lives with you and a foster care contract has been signed. Every twelve months, you are entitled to no more than twice the number of hours you work in one week. For example, if you work 36 hours a week, you can take up to 72 hours short-term compassionate leave every twelve months. During any short-term compassionate leave that you take, you will continue to receive at least seventy per cent of your salary from your employer. For more info on short-term compassionate leave, please view this website.

LONG-TERM COMPASSIONATE LEAVE (langdurig zorgverlof)

You are entitled to long-term compassionate leave when you are employed and you are caring for your partner, child or parent who has a life-threatening illness. “Life-threatening” means that the life of the person concerned is at serious risk over a short term. Every year, you are entitled to a long-term compassionate leave for a period of up to twelve weeks during which you are allowed to reduce your working hours to not less than half of normal. You will not receive wages for the hours that you use for long-term compassionate leave. For more info on long-term compassionate leave, please go to this website.

PARENTAL LEAVE (ouderschapsverlof)

You are entitled to parental leave as soon as you are employed and are caring for a child that is younger than eight. Both parents are entitled to parental leave. If you have more children, you are entitled to parental leave for each child separately. You are also entitled to parental leave for your adopted children, foster children or stepchildren, provided the child is living with you. Your parental leave is up to 26 times your weekly working hours. The normal arrangement is that for six months you work half of your normal hours. For example, if you work 32 hours per week, then for six months you will work 16 hours per week together with taking 16 hours parental leave. Parental leave is unpaid leave.

PATERNITY/PARTNER LEAVE (vaderschapsverlof)

After your partner has given birth, you are entitled to one week of paternity/partner leave. Paternity/partner leave is a paid leave. For more info on paternity/partner leave, please view this website.


Partners have the right to 5 weeks extended unpaid leave after the initial 1 week paid leave. For detailed info on extended partner leave, please view this website.

PREGNANCY AND MATERNITY LEAVE (zwangerschaps en bevallingsverlof)

Pregnant employees are entitled to pregnancy and maternity leave for at least sixteen weeks. Babies are seldom born on the date they are due. The period of leave depends on the due date and on the date the baby is born. You can take pregnancy leave from six weeks before the date the baby is due. The pregnancy leave should start no later than four weeks before the baby is due. After giving birth, you are always entitled to at least ten weeks of maternity leave even if the baby is born later than it was due. During your leave, you will receive an allowance which matches your salary up to a maximum amount. For more info on pregnancy and maternity leave, go to this website.


Employees may decide to take a period of unpaid leave. Long-term care leave and parental leave are forms of unpaid leave that are laid down by law, and employers may not refuse requests for this kind of leave. Employees may also take unpaid leave for a few months to go travelling or to take a course of study. There may be arrangements on this matter in your collective labour agreement (CAO). Taking unpaid leave leads to a fall in income and may affect your entitlement to certain allowances and social insurance. For more info on unpaid leave, go to this website.