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Belgium - Maternity protection - 2009


LAST UPDATE

21 December 2009

SOURCES


Name of Act

Royal Decree Rendering Compulsory Collective Agreement N° 80 dated 27 November 2001 Concerning the Establishment of Nursing Breaks, dated 21 January 2002, Moniteur Belge N° 43, 12 February 2002, p.4567

Name of Act

Act Respecting the Equality Between Men and Women Concerning Working Conditions, Labour Access, Promotion Possibilities, Independent Profession Access and Complementary Social Security Systems, dated 7 May 1999, Moniteur Belge No. 121, 29 June 1999, p. 23156

Name of Act

Labour Act of 16 March 1971, as amended to 19 May 2009
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Name of Act

Royal Decree Respecting Maternity Protection, dated 2 May 1995, Moniteur Belge N° 98, 18 May 1995, p. 13569

Name of Act

Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career, dated 29 October 1997, Moniteur Belge N° 213, 7 November 1997, p. 29930, as amended up to Royal Decree dated 15 July 2005, Moniteur Belge, 28 July 2005

Name of Act

Act Respecting Contracts of Employment, dated 3 July 1978, Moniteur Belge N° 160, 22 August 1978, as amended up to Act dated 10 20 July 2005, Moniteur Belge of 29 July 2005
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Name of Act

Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme, dated 14 July 1994, Moniteur Belge N° 170, 27 August 1994, p. 21524, as amended up to Act dated 4 August 1996, Moniteur Belge N° 186, 26 September 1996, p. 24971-24972

Name of Act

Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme, dated 3 July 1996, Moniteur Belge N° 147, 31 July 1996, p. 20286, as amended up to Royal Decree of 4 may 2005, Moniteur Belge of 26 May 2005

Other source used

Homepage of the Belguim Social Insurance Fund

MATERNITY LEAVE


Scope

Women workers under a contract of employment and persons working under the authority of another person ( i.e. apprentices)
Labour Act § 1

Qualifying conditions

The woman must submit to her employer a medical certificate indicating the expected date of birth, not later than seven weeks before the due date (nine weeks in the case of multiple birth).
Labour Act §39

Duration


Compulsory leave

Employment is prohibited during the seven days before the expected date of birth and the nine weeks following it.
Labour Act §39

General total duration

Six weeks before (eight in the case of multiple birth) and nine weeks after the expected date of birth. If the birth occurs after the expected date, the leave is extended to the actual date of the birth. Under certain conditions new mothers have the option of converting the last two weeks of maternity leave to rest days that they can take intermittently during the eight week period after they return to work.

However, in the case of a premature birth, postnatal leave is reduced by the number of days worked within the period of seven days before the date of birth (i.e. the seven days before the birth are forfeited if the woman has not be able to take any of these days because of a premature birth, and her maternity leave may not be longer than 15 weeks). Maternity leave is taken in one continuous period. However, if the newborn child has to remain in the hospital for more than eight weeks after birth, maternity leave may be interrupted until the child leaves the hospital to enter the household.
Labour Act §39
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: The duration of the maternity leave shall comprise the six weeks before (eight in the case of multiple birth) and nine weeks after the expected date of birth. If the birth occurs after the expected date, the leave is extended to the actual date of the birth. Under certain conditions new mothers have the option of converting the last two weeks of maternity leave to rest days that they can take intermittently during the eight week period after they return to work. However, in the case of a premature birth, postnatal leave is reduced by the number of days worked within the period of seven days before the date of birth (i.e. the seven days before the birth are forfeited if the woman has not be able to take any of these days because of a premature birth, and her maternity leave may not be longer than 15 weeks). Maternity leave is taken in one continuous period. However, if the newborn child has to remain in the hospital for more than eight weeks after birth, maternity leave may be interrupted until the child leaves the hospital to enter the household.
  • 2004: Fifteen weeks
  • 1998: Fifteen weeks
  • 1994: Fifteen weeks

RELATED TYPES OF LEAVE


Parental leave


Scope

Workers may interrupt their career for any reason, including the care of a child. In this framework, parental leave provisions cover male and female workers employed in the public and private sector and persons working under the authority of another person. The right shall be established upon the birth of a child (or the time when the child is registered as a member of the family in the municipality of residence of the parent worker). The right to parental leave shall lapse when the child reaches the age of six years. In case of adoption or physical or mental incapacity of the child, the right shall lapse when the child reaches the age of eight years. Each parent shall have an independent right to parental leave, which shall not be transferable.
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career §§ 1, 2, 3

Qualifying conditions

Twelve months of employment by the same employer within the fifteen months preceding the notification of the employee of the intended date of leave. The employee shall notify her/his employer of the intention to take parental leave from 2 to 3 months before the expected date of leave. This period can be reduced in agreement with the employer. Parental leave suspends the execution of the contract of employment.
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career §§ 4, 5, 6

Length

The employee is entitled to a 3 month period of leave and can decide to choose between three options or even to change from one option to another until the 3 month limit is reached. First, the 3 month period can be taken continuously . Second, the employee, if he/she works full-time, can reduce her/his working time by 1/2 for 6 months (or can split the 6 month period of half-time work into several periods of no less than two months each). The third option is for the employee to reduce her/his working time by 1/5 for 15 months (or to split the 15 months of 4/5ths working time into several periods of no less than 5 months each).
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 2

Paternity leave


Scope

Workers in the private sector and to workers in public sector who are not under statutory relationship.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 1

Qualifying conditions

The employer must be given notice as soon as possible before the commencement of leave.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 30

Length

Ten days, chosen by the father, within the four months after the date of the birth of a child of whom the worker has been legally recognized as the father. The three first days are paid by the employer and the other seven days are paid by the compulsory sickness and disability insurance scheme. In case of death or hospitalisation of the mother, social security legislation provides that the father may take the remainder of postnatal leave.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 30
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 221

Adoption leave


Scope

Workers in the private sector and workers in the public sector who are not under statutory relationship.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 1

Qualifying conditions

The employer must be given notice at least 1 month before the commencement of leave.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 30ter

Length

If the child is younger than three years a maximum of 6 weeks leave, if the child is above the age of 3 years a maximum of four weeks leave. If the child is disabled the leave is doubled.
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 30ter

RIGHT TO PART-TIME WORK


Length

The employee is entitled to a 3 month period of parental leave and can decide to choose between three options or even to change from one option to another until the 3 month limit is reached. First, the 3 month period can be taken continuously . Second, the employee, if he/she works full-time, can reduce her/his working time by 1/2 for 6 months (or can split the 6 month period of half-time work into several periods of no less than two months each). The third option is for the employee to reduce her/his working time by 1/5 for 15 months (or to split the 15 months of 4/5ths working time into several periods of no less than 5 months each).
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 2

CASH BENEFITS


Maternity leave benefits


Scope

All workers who are compulsory insured under the sickness and indemnity scheme: Workers (including contractual employees in the public service), persons who are incapacitated for work, and registered unemployed workers.
Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §§ 86-112

Qualifying conditions

Persons covered should have been insured and have paid contributions for 120 days of work or days assimilated to work (i.e. annual leave, unemployment, incapacity for work) within the 6 months preceding the acquisition of the right to indemnity.
Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §128
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §230

Amount

Cash benefits cover the period of maternity leave, namely, 15 weeks and any extensions thereof.
For the employed women 82% of gross salary (no ceiling) for the first 30 days, and 75%, up to a ceiling for the remaining period. For the unemployed women, 60% of the gross salary prior to being unemployed, up to a ceiling, and a complementary indemnity of 19,5% for the first 30 days and of 15%, for the remaining period.
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §114-115, §216-217
Homepage of the Belguim Social Insurance Fund
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Maternity benefits shall be paid to the worker during the period of maternity leave, namely, 15 weeks and any extensions thereof in case of multiple birth (17 or 19 weeks). The worker who is employed at the moment of her pregnancy, shall enjoy 79,5% of her gross salary (no ceiling) for the first 30 days, and 75%, up to a ceiling for the remaining period. For the unemployed women, 60% of the gross salary prior to being unemployed, up to a ceiling, and a complementary indemnity of 19,5% for the first 30 days and of 15%, for the remaining period.
  • 2004: Eighty-two percent for thirty days and then seventy-five percent (up to a ceiling)
  • 1998: Eighty-two percent for thirty days and then seventy-five percent (up to a ceiling)
  • 1994: Eighty-two percent for thirty days and then seventy-five percent (up to a ceiling)

Financing of benefits

Social security (compulsory sickness and indemnity insurance scheme)
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §216-219
Historical data (year indicates year of data collection)
  • 2011: Social security (compulsory sickness and indemnity insurance scheme)
  • 2004: Social security
  • 1998: Social security
  • 1994: Social security

Parental leave benefits


Scope

Male and female workers employed in the public and private sector and persons working under the authority of another person
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 1

Amount

Workers who interrupt their career receive a flat rate benefit of 671,52 euro a month for a full-time career break. The flat rate amounts to 335,75 euro (under 50 years of age) or to 569,52 (as from 50 years of age) for a working time reduced by 1/2 and to 113,90 euro (under 50 years of age) or to 227,81 euro (as from 50 years of age) for a working time reduced by a 1/5. The employee is entitled to a proportional amount to his/her working hours in case of part-time jobs.
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 10 (AR 6)

Financing of benefits

Interruption allowance is financed by the social security (unemployment scheme).
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 10 (AR 19)

Paternity leave benefits


Scope

All workers who are compulsorily insured under the sickness and indemnity scheme: Workers (including contractual employees in the public service), persons who are incapacitated for work, and registered unemployed workers.
Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §§ 86-112
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223bis

Amount

For the first three days, 100% of remuneration paid by the employer. The remaining seven days are paid by the sickness and indemnity insurance scheme at 82% of the preceding average remuneration. In case of postnatal leave taken by the father due to the death or hospitalisation of the mother, 60% of the preceding average remuneration is granted by social security.
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme §§ 221, 222, 223 bis
Homepage of the Belguim Social Insurance Fund

Financing of benefits

3 days are paid by the employer and seven days by the social security
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223 bis

Adoption leave benefits


Scope

All workers who are compulsorily insured under the sickness and indemnity scheme: Workers (including contractual employees in the public service), persons who are incapacitated for work, and registered unemployed workers.
Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 86-112
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223bis

Amount

For the first three days, 100% of remuneration paid by the employer. The remaining seven days are paid by the sickness and indemnity insurance scheme at 82% of the preceding average remuneration.
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223 bis

Financing of benefits

3 days are paid by the employer and seven days by the social security
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223 bis

BREASTFEEDING


Right to nursing breaks or daily reduction of hours of work

Nursing women have the right to one or two 1/2 hour nursing breaks depending on her working hours. If the woman works a minimum of 4 hours a day she has the right to one break. If she works at least 7 1/2 hours a day she can take two nursing breaks. Women covered have the right to nursing breaks during the seven months after the birth of the child
Royal Decree Rendering Compulsory Collective Agreement N° 80 §§ 5, 6

Remuneration of nursing breaks

During nursing breaks the execution of the contract of employment is suspended and unpaid by the employer. However, 82% of the gross remuneration is paid by the sick and indemnity insurance scheme
Royal Decree Rendering Compulsory Collective Agreement N° 80 § 3
Royal Decree to Execute the Act Respecting Compulsory Sickness and Indemnity Insurance Scheme § 223 quater

Nursing facilities

The employer must provide the necessary places and commodities for nursing women workers at the undertaking
Royal Decree Rendering Compulsory Collective Agreement N° 80 § 4

HEALTH PROTECTION


Arrangement of working time


Night work

Night work (work between 20:00 and 6:00) is prohibited for pregnant women during the eight weeks before the expected date of birth, and on the basis of a medical certificate, at any other period during the pregnancy or for a period up to four weeks immediately after the end of maternity leave.
Labour Act § 43

Overtime

Overtime (i.e. work in excess of 9 hours a day or 40 hours a week, or less, as provided for in collective agreements which have been rendered compulsory) is prohibited for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Labour Act § 44

Time off for medical examinations

Pregnant employees shall be entitled to leave of absence with pay for prenatal medical examinations when such examinations cannot be reasonably take place outside working hours. The employee shall inform her employer before her absence in order to keep her remuneration.
Labour Act § 39bis

Dangerous or unhealthy work


Risk assessment

In order to establish the necessary measures to protect an employee, the employer, in collaboration with an occupational health physician and the public service of security and hygiene, must assess the nature, degree and duration of risk factors arising from conditions of work and their incidence in pregnant or nursing women workers.
Labour Act § 41
Royal Decree Respecting Maternity Protection § 4

» Adaptation of conditions of work

If the safety and health of the woman worker is considered in danger according to a special assessment, her employer shall make the necessary arrangements to ensure the woman’s safety by temporarily changing her working conditions and/or working hours.
Labour Act § 42

» Transfer to another post

If the adaptation of working conditions is not possible for technical reasons or other valid reasons, the woman’s employer shall entrust her with other tasks. If the woman cannot be transferred to other duties, the execution of her contract of employment is suspended.
Labour Act § 42

» Right to return

The woman worker must be reinstated in her previous job under the same conditions as before as soon as the reason for the prohibition , the reduction of hours of work or the transfer to other duties has ended.
Labour Act § 42

Particular risks


» Arduous work (manual lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling of loads)

Pregnant women during the last three months of pregnancy and nursing mothers during the ninth and tenth week following birth are prohibited from handling loads. They are also prohibited from manual ground and underground work and excavation.
Royal Decree Respecting Maternity Protection § N2

» Work involving exposure to biological, chemical or physical agents

Pregnant women and nursing mothers may not be exposed to chemical agents such as lead and mercury and to biological hazards such as certain bacteria and viruses. They may not work in jobs in which they might be exposed to ionising radiations.
Royal Decree Respecting Maternity Protection § N2

» Work involving physical strain (prolonged periods of sitting, standing, exposure to extreme temperatures, vibration)

Pregnant women may not be exposed to temperatures higher than 30° C.
Royal Decree Respecting Maternity Protection § N2

NON-DISCRIMINATION AND EMPLOYMENT SECURITY


Anti-discrimination measures

A difference of treatment based on pregnancy, maternity or confinement is considered as a discrimination, which can never be justified. Maternity protection standards are not considered as a discrimination but a condition to achieve equality between men and women. Every person must be assured of equality of treatment in all provisions and practices relating to the conditions of admision to, the selection of persons for, or the selection criteria employed in connection with any job or duty or form of self-employment, irrespective of the sector, activity or grade. More particularly, it is unlawful to refer to the worker’s sex in the conditions of admission to, the selection of persons for or the selection criteria employed in connection with any job or duty, irrespective of the sector or activity, or to use elements in such conditions or criteria which, even in the absence of an explicit reference to the worker’s sex, result in any form of discrimination. It is prohibited to refuse or impede access to employment or promotion on explicit or implicit grounds based directly or indirectly on the worker’s sex. A contract of employment stipulating that it will be terminated because of pregnancy is null and void.
Act Respecting the Equality Between Men and Women Concerning Working Conditions §§ 16, 17, 18, 20
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 36

Protection from discriminatory dismissal

The employer of a pregnant woman may not perform any unilateral act capable of terminating the employment relationship from the date on which he or she is informed of the pregnancy until the end of the month following postnatal leave, except for reasons unconnected with the physical state resulting from pregnancy or confinement.
Labour Act § 40

Burden of proof

The burden of proof lies with the employer. A woman worker is entitled to a lump-sum compensation equal to six months of gross remuneration if reasons for dismissal do not meet the above-mentioned conditions or no reasons have been alleged, without prejudice to the damages which may be payable to the woman as a consequence of the breach of a contract of employment.
Labour Act § 40

Guaranteed right to return to work

A contract of employment is suspended during the period a woman is on maternity leave. She remains in the service of the employer and her absence on maternity leave counts as full service. At the end of parental leave, the worker shall be reinstalled in his/her previous job or in an equivalent or similar job according to the worker’s contract of employment
Act Respecting Contracts of Employment § 28
Royal Decree Regarding the Establishment of a Parental Leave in the Framework of Interruption of Professional Career § 8CCT

Results generated on: 25th November 2014 at 01:33:57.
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