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Pregnant and work

14-20 weeks

Your pregnancy affects your work. You go on maternity leave and have various rights and obligations

When to tell your employer

You have a legal duty to give your employer no less than 3 weeks notice of your intended maternity leave. It is of course preferred to give as much notice as possible as your employer needs time to find a suitable replacement. In addition, your employer can make your working environment safer when they know you are pregnant.  Most people inform their employer once they’ve had their dating ultrasound (after 10-11 weeks pregnancy).

Maternity Leave and Maternity Pay

You have the option of starting your maternity leave at 6 weeks before your due date. Although no later than 4 weeks. Total amount of maternity leave is 16 weeks. You will always have a minimum of 10 weeks maternity leave after the birth, also when the baby is born after the due date. You need a maternity certificate in order to request maternity leave. If you are employed, you can read how to request your leave here

Self Employed or Unemployed?

If you are self employed or unemployed, then different rules apply. If you are self employed, then you should apply for benefits from the UWV. For both pregnancy and the birth you are entitled to benefits payments for a minimum of 16 weeks. Every week you will receive a payment equivalent to 5 working days. You will not receive a payment for weekends. You are always entitled to 10 weeks of payments after the birth. The payment amount is based on your annual income from the year before you became pregnant. The benefits payments are never more than minimum wage.

Maternity leave for your partner

From January 1st 2019, your partner is entitled to 1 week of partner maternity leave once the baby is born. From July 1st 2020 partners may apply for an additional 5 weeks of leave. You will receive 70% of your normal salary. Click here for more information (only in Dutch).

Risks at work

There are several risks you need to be aware of during your pregnancy. Hazardous substances, pesticides, noise, radiation, vibrations, stress and overworking can have an influence on your pregnancy. Irregular working hours and night shifts can have an effect also. Click here (Dutch).

While at work, your employer has a legal duty to protect the health of you and your baby, including times when you are breastfeeding. He or she must ensure that you can work safely. The goal is that you can continue doing your job as normal, at your usual workplace. For more information, please visit the website of the RIVM.

Pregnancy checks during working hours

Once you have informed your employer that you are pregnant, you have additional rights regarding rest, space and protection against dismissal. These rights apply during your pregnancy and times when you are breastfeeding.  You must also be allowed the opportunity to visit the midwife or gynaecologist for checks up, even during working hours.  

When to stop working

You may continue working up until 36 weeks of pregnancy. (4 weeks before the due date). In practice it may be a good idea to stop sooner, at 34 weeks.  Many women reach a point around 30 weeks where they start struggling with the pregnancy, both physically and emotionally. It can be a good idea to stop working a little earlier. We recommend doing what feels right for you but to always consider the option of stopping at 34 weeks and see how you feel as the pregnancy progresses.

If you are having problems at work

Working while pregnant can be different for everybody. It all depends how the pregnancy is progressing, how many pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing and what kind of job you have. Do not compare yourself with others too much on this subject. Talk to us if you feel your job is demanding too much or is causing problems. If adjustments need to be made at work or you are unable to continue working, arrangements can be made with the Arbo-doctor. If you believe you may not be able to work until the agreed maternity leave begins, please discuss this with your employer.  Examples of adjustments at work are: a set day to work from home, more breaks (you have a right to these, see this Dutch site) and reduced working hours. Be aware that you have the right to refuse working nights and/or overtime during your pregnancy.  

Maternity Certificate

With a maternity certificate your employer can apply for maternity pay. After your dating ultrasound, our assistant can provide you with this. Your certificate will state: that you are pregnant, the estimated due date and your personal details.

After the birth

During the first 6 months after the birth you are entitled to extra breaks at work for extracting breastmilk. You also have to right to refuse working nights and/or overtime during your pregnancy.

Parental Leave

After maternity leave, you can also request parental leave. Your employer decides if you are entitled to a salary during this period. You will not accrue holiday pay during this leave. You are entitled to a total of 26 weeks leave, continuous or you can spread out these hours over a longer period.  E.g. take 1 day a week off.  You do not have to take this leave straight away. You can start your parental leave at any time before your child is 8 years old. How to take your leave depends on many factors. Discuss this with your employer.  The government can provide more information about parental leave. After your leave you have the right to commence working for the hours agreed in your employment contract. Taking parental leave does not change this right.

From 2 August 2022, employees in the Netherlands are entiteled to 9 weeks op partially paid parental leave, check this site. 

An app for tailored advice

Via the app Werk en Zwangerschap from the FNV you have access to tailored advice and tips about all work related matters during your pregnancy. You can enter your due date which provides you with information relevant to your working circumstances and stage of pregnancy.

Leaflets and links (dutch)

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