Almost three-quarters of fathers or partners take additional childbirth leave

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Almost three-quarters of fathers or partners take additional childbirth leave for a total of six weeks after the birth of their child. 16% were satisfied with the regular one-week vacation period and the remainder took no vacation.

This is clear from the evaluation of the Extranatal Leave Act (WIEG), which entered into force in 2019 and was extended from 2020. Since then, working fathers or partners are allowed to add an additional five weeks after one week of paid childbirth leave. These five weeks of additional leave are partly reimbursed by the UWV.

Of the 26% who did not take additional leave, nearly half said they did not need it. They started working less or stopped working altogether. Much of that 26% had wanted to use it themselves, but said they couldn’t afford it.

The law won’t change

The WIEG will not be changed after this assessment, writes Minister Karien van Gennip (Social Affairs and Employment) in the House of Representatives. The evaluation does not justify it. It is also a “cultural change, which takes time”.

In addition, the corona measures have “almost certainly” influenced the use and effects of additional childbirth leave, the minister said. “Measures such as working from home have changed the distribution of (additional) care work.”

Uncertainty about the economic situation or loss of income as a result of the corona crisis may also have influenced the use of additional childbirth leave, according to the evaluation.

It is too early to draw conclusions about the expected effects of the WIEG, writes Van Gennip, such as making a positive contribution to the bond between child and partner. The law also aims to increase women’s opportunities in the labor market.

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