Parental leave

What are the deadlines for my application for parental leave?

For the first parental leave (following maternity leave), the application must be made to the employer 2 months before the start of the maternity leave. For the second parental leave (up to the child's 6th birthday), the application must be received by the employer at least 4 months before the desired start of the parental leave. Parental leave must begin before the child's 6th birthday. However, these time limits can only be enforced by your employer. The CAE accepts applications signed by the employer even if the deadlines are not met.

 

I applied in March 2020 for parental leave to start in September 2020. When will I receive confirmation of my parental leave?

We aim to send confirmation of parental leave no later than 2 weeks before the start.

How is my income calculated during my parental leave?

The new parental leave will be a real replacement income, calculated on the basis of the average monthly earned income during the twelve months preceding the start of the parental leave. Only pensionable income is taken into account for the calculation of the parental leave allowance. If you want to know which salaries are pensionable, please consult the table here.  Please note, for example, that overtime worked in the year before parental leave is not taken into account for the calculation of parental leave.

The period of parental leave for a person with a 40-hour employment contract who wishes to take parental leave on a full-time basis:

  • minimum 2,141.99 gross
  • maximum 3,569.99 gross

The compensation ceiling varies according to the number of hours worked.

Limit of compensation for full-time parental leave
Average number of hours worked per week lower limit upper limit
40
€ 2,201.93 € 3,669.88
30 € 1,651.45
€ 2,752.41
20 € 1,100.96 € 1,834.94
10 € 550.48 € 917.47

 

Limit of compensation for half-time parental leave
For a part-time leave: Work (hours/week) lower limit upper limit    
40 € 1,100.96 € 1,834.94
30 € 825.72 € 1,376.21
20 € 550.48 € 917.47
10 N/A N/A

 

Limit of compensation for part-time parental leave  (once a week)
For split leave: Work (hours/week) lower limit upper limit  
40 € 440.39 € 733.98
30 N/A N/A
20 N/A N/A
10 N/A N/A

 

Please use our calculator to find out your gross income during your parental leave period.

The parental leave allowance is a replacement income. As a result, it is subject to social security contributions and taxes in the same way as a salary.

To determine how much tax you have to pay, you first need to know whether you have a main or the additional tax card. The withholding tax of the holder of a main withholding tax card is calculated by application of the scale on salaries and wages or the scale on pensions and annuities. The additional tax card has a fixed withholding rate of 15% (class 2), 21% (class 1A) or 33% (class 1).

A single main tax card is issued for what is expected to be the highest gross annual wage. 

Provided that married spouses are taxed collectively, they get only one main form for their joint household.

I received a tax deduction form for my parental leave: Who should I send it to?

You can keep this form. There is no need to send it to the CAE.

Should I get a new main or additional tax card?

If you take full-time parental leave, a new main or additional card (depending on your case) will be issued showing the CAE as the employer. You keep the same type of card. The tax form will be updated by the Direct Tax Administration without any intervention or request from the taxpayer, within an average of 30 working days.
If you take half-time parental leave, your employer keeps your old deduction form and you obtain a new form with the CAE as employer.
The sum of deductions made for a year N may be too high or too low. The difference can be reimbursed or recovered in the course of the year N+1, at the time of regularisation by means of a tax assessment (model 100 N) or an annual statement (model 163 N)

See also:

Practical example illustrating the difference between half-time parental leave under the old regime and the new law.

Mrs Dupont works 20 hours a week and earns EUR 3,000 gross per month. In May 2013 she gives birth to Louise and takes parental leave following her maternity leave. She chooses to take half-time parental leave. Since at this time the legislation provides for a 20-hour reduction in working time for half-time work, she takes her parental leave for 12 months and does not work at all. During this year she receives a parental leave allowance of EUR 855. She returns to her 20-hour-a-week job at the end of the 12 months.


In November 2016, Mrs Dupont gives birth to John and decides again to take parental leave following her maternity leave. Thanks to the new law she now has the choice between a full-time leave of 4 or 6 months or a half-time leave of 8 or 12 months.

  • a) She opts for full-time parental leave and receives a replacement income of EUR 1,600 gross.
  • b) She decides to go for half-time parental leave for 12 months. As parental leave under the new regime is a real half-time (i.e. 50%) rather than a reduction in her workload by 20 hours, she will continue to work for 10 hours a week. For these 10 hours, she will receive half her gross salary, i.e. EUR 1,500. The 10 hours of parental leave will be paid at EUR 800. In total, she will receive a gross income of EUR 2,300 for these 12 months.
My spouse does not work. When should I apply to my employer for a CP1?

If no maternity leave is due because the mother-to-be is not working, the first parental leave can be taken (by the father) at the earliest on the first day of the third week after the birth or, in the case of adoption, from the date of the adoption judgment. If, for example, the child is born on 5 January, parental leave can start at the earliest on 19 January. You must apply to your employer four months before the expected date of the child's birth.   

The split parental leave allows for a reduction in working time of twenty percent per week for a period of twenty months. How can we get organised?

You can only choose split parental leave if you work full time. The concrete arrangements for this reduction in working time are to be settled with your employer and the CAE does not interfere in these choices. For example, with the agreement of your employer, you can choose to take your leave during two afternoons per week or spread your eight hours of leave over the whole week.

Is it possible to change the parental leave model after the start of parental leave?

No, once parental leave has started, it is no longer possible to change the model.

Can I change employers during parental leave?

A change of employer during parental leave is possible if your new employer agrees that you may continue your parental leave. In this case, you must send us a letter from your new employer certifying that he or she agrees that you should continue your parental leave and a copy of your new employment contract. The latter must contain the same number of working hours as the employment contract that established the right to parental leave. Please also note that the period between the end of your old contract and the start of your new contract cannot exceed 7 days.  
 
However, if you change employers during your parental leave, you may also decide to return to work with the new employer before the leave expires, with the allowance paid up to that date remaining unchanged.

Please note: if the parental leave is interrupted for no reason beyond your control and does not involve a change of employer, you will be obliged to repay the amounts received for the parental leave that has already matured! This means that you cannot interrupt your parental leave e.g. after 2 months and return to work with your employer.

 

Can my employer refuse my parental leave?

If it is parental leave following maternity leave and it is a request for full-time leave of 6 or 4 months, your employer cannot refuse it provided that your request was received by the employer in the form and within the time limits provided by law. However, they may refuse half-time or split leave. In the case of parental leave up to the child's sixth birthday, the employer cannot refuse the requested leave on a full-time basis either, but can ask to postpone it by two months in companies with more than 15 employees and by six months in companies with fewer than 15 employees.


The CAE is only responsible for the granting of the parental leave allowance. Disputes that may arise between the employer and the employee concerning the granting or postponement of the requested parental leave fall within the competence of the mediator or the labour courts, in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Code.

Can my child go to nursery during parental leave?

Parental leave was introduced to allow parents and children to spend more time together and thus create a strong relationship between child and parent. That is why the law on parental leave stipulates that the applicant must bring up the child in his or her own home and devote himself or herself mainly to bringing up the child (Article 234-43 (1) of the Labour Code). If you have applied for full-time parental leave, your child will in principle not be able to attend nursery school during your parental leave. The law does not provide for absolute incompatibility, but the addition "mainly" cannot be interpreted too broadly either. For example, during full-time parental leave, our Fund allows a few hours of daycare per week, e.g. for the child's adaptation phase, in order not to completely abandon the daycare place, to maintain social contacts and the child's exchange with his or her peers etc. The situation is always analysed on a case-by-case basis and usually a solution is found in cooperation with the parents.

If you have applied for half-time parental leave, your child will be able to go to the nursery part-time (during your working hours).

I am on split parental leave (one day a week). A public holiday falls on my parental leave day. Can I get this holiday back?

No, if a public holiday falls on the same day as your parental leave day, you will not be able to reclaim that public holiday. 

I don't want to take my parental leave. Can my spouse take it for me?

No, parental leave is an individual right, and it is therefore not transferable.

As a self-employed cross-border worker, do I have to disaffiliate before parental leave?

Yes. While the CAE disaffiliates the employee before his parental leave and re-affiliates him after his leave, the self-employed worker has to disaffiliate himself with the social security affiliation centre before his full-time or split parental leave with four one-month periods. In this case, they must disaffiliate before each period of parental leave. If they chose half-time parental leave, they certify on their application that they are reducing their activity by half.

I get sick before or during my parental leave. What do I have to do?

If you are on sick leave before the start of your parental leave, this will only affect your parental leave if the sick leave does not end until after the start of the parental leave. For example: your parental leave is due to start on 15 October but your doctor certifies that you are off sick until 25 October. In this case, the CAE has to reject your application for parental leave. You will have to submit a new application after your sick leave. If the leave ends before the start of the parental leave, the parental leave can start normally.


Illness during parental leave has no influence on your right to parental leave. You do not need to send us a medical certificate and your parental leave continues as normal. You cannot interrupt the leave to resume it after the sick leave.   

Is it possible to take unpaid leave during parental leave?

Parental leave cannot be combined with unpaid leave.

Is there still 4 months of unpaid parental leave?

The 4-month unpaid parental leave was abolished by the law of 3 November 2016 on parental leave reform.

Can I take parental leave in several part times?

No, generally parental leave has to be taken completely except for the parental split leave i.e. 4 months over a maximum period of 20 months or split leave 1 day per week for up to 20 months.

Can I take parental leave during my trial period?

During trial period you are not entitled to parental leave. You have to wait until you are employed regularly to apply for parental leave.
Please note, if you change your employer during your parental leave our fund will not check if you have another trial period.

 

Is it possible for a government employee or employee covered by the government employee scheme to apply for a parental leave during traineeship / probationary period?

Art. 29bis of the general civil servant status (“Statut général des fonctionnaires de l’Etat”) does not apply to government employees in their first year of traineeship.

Parental leave can only start after the end of the first year of traineeship (art. 1, paragraph 3).

By analogy, art. 29bis does neither apply to public employees covered by the government employee scheme during the first year of their probationary period.

No application for parental leave starting before the end of the first year of the traineeship/probationary period is accepted.

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