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The Netherlands: Summary of Recent Labour and Employment Law Developments

In the past month, there have been several labour and employment law developments, chief among them: i) additional birth leave for partners; ii) deadline of 1 July 2020 to establish low unemployment insurance premium for an indefinite period; and iii) extension of the COVID-19 temporary Emergency Fund Bridging Employment.


From 1 July 2020, partners can take a total of 5 weeks of additional birth leave in the first six months after birth, with entitlement to a benefit of 70% of the salary. This is part of the WIEG Act that had already entered into force on 1 January 2019. This is in addition to the right that a partner can take leave during the first 5 days (on a full-time basis) after birth, while retaining the full salary. A partner with a workload of 40 hours per week is assumed. Below, we list the leave options for partners at birth.

Emergency leave

On the day of birth, a partner can take emergency leave with full salary retention. This remains the same.

Birth leave

As of January 1, 2019, partners are entitled to 5 days of birth leave. Partners can record this immediately, but also divided in the first 4 weeks after delivery. The partner can take birth leave entirely according to his own wishes. The employer cannot change this.

Additional birth leave

From July 1, 2020, partners can take additional birth leave in the first six months after birth. In this period they can take a total of 5 weeks of additional birth leave, whereby partners are entitled to a benefit of 70% of the salary. The right to additional birth leave can only be enjoyed if the birth leave of once the weekly working time (5 days) with continued payment of salary has first been taken.

This leave does not have to be taken consecutively. In principle, the employee can fill in himself how he takes the additional birth leave. The employer can only oppose the pattern of admission and consult with the employee if he has a compelling business and service interest.

Parental leave

Parents can take 6 months parental leave until the child reaches the age of 8, without pay. A bill is currently pending under which workers are entitled to 9 weeks of paid parental leave during the first year after birth. After that, they can still withdraw for the remaining 17 weeks, but this remains unpaid. The envisaged entry into force of this Act is August 2, 2022.

Adoption and foster care leave

In connection with the adoption of a child or the inclusion of a foster child in the home, adoptive or foster parents were able to take four weeks’ leave until 31 December 2018. As of 1 January 2019, adoptive or foster parents are entitled to 6 weeks’ leave. This leave can be taken from 4 weeks before the actual admission into the family or up to 22 weeks afterwards. The adoptive or foster parents are entitled to a benefit equal to their daily wages.

In principle, this leave must be taken consecutively. The employee can request the employer to spread the leave. The employer can object to this on the basis of a compelling business and service interest.


From 1 January 2020, employers will pay a 5% lower unemployment premium for employees with a permanent employment contract (with fixed hours) than for employees in temporary employment or on-call workers.

Please note that the low premium can only be applied if the employer has concluded a written employment contract with the employee for an indefinite period. If an employee’s fixed-term employment contract has been tacitly renewed into an open-ended contract, an employer must agree on an addendum to the original employment contract with the employee. The deadline to put the administration in order on this point expires on 1 July.


On 20 May 2020, the Cabinet briefly informed the House of Representatives about the new NOW scheme that will apply from 1 June 2020: NOW 2.0.

The NOW will be extended for a period of 3 months, whereby an allowance for wage costs for the period June, July and August 2020 can be requested. Any employer who meets the conditions (including a loss of turnover of at least 20%) can apply for a contribution towards wages, regardless of whether the employer participated in NOW 1.0. If the employer makes a first application, the employer can start the period for the decline in turnover on 1 June, 1 July or 1 August 2020. If the employer uses NOW for the second time, the turnover period must follow the period selected in the first period.

The application for NOW 2.0 is expected to open on 6 July 2020 and the application can be made until 31 August 2020. There will be a few changes in NOW 2.0 (in comparison with NOW 1.0), specifically some new eligibility conditions apply (such as, no bonus payout for directors and management). Please stay tuned for more information as the complete scheme becomes available.


Palthe Oberman attorneys are available to assist you with these and other workplace issues. For more information, visit paltheoberman.nl.

For more information please contact Joseph Granato, Communications Manager at L&E Global at joseph.granato@leglobal.org.