Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Belgium - Maternity and paternity benefits

This chapter provides you with information about how to benefit from maternity and paternity benefits in Belgium.

If you have worked and paid social insurance contributions in another European Union country, your period of work and the contributions you have paid can be taken into account as part of the benefit calculation.

In what situation can I claim?

In the event of pregnancy employees, unemployed persons or self-employed persons can benefit from maternity leave. However the conditions to be met, the duration of the leave and the amount of the benefits are different for each category.

Salaried workers who are fathers or co-parents are entitled to ten days paternity or birth leave.

What conditions do I need to meet?

To be entitled to maternity leave you must meet the following administrative conditions:

  • you have completed a work placement of six months or you are exempt;
  • if you are an employee or unemployed, you have worked (or been unemployed) 120 days during the 6 months previous to your maternity rest period;
  • you have paid a minimum amount of social security contributions;
  • there is no break period of more than thirty days between the date your maternity rest period starts and your last working day (or day of unemployment).

With the exception of the waiting period, the administrative conditions are the same as those applied to sickness benefits in the context of being unable to work.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

Duration and period of maternity leave.

If you are an employee or unemployed, in principle maternity leave lasts for 15 weeks and includes two periods:

  • Prenatal leave is a maximum period of 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery:
    • Five weeks are optional and can be taken after the birth;
    • The week immediately preceding delivery is a compulsory week of maternity leave;
  • Postnatal leave is a period of 9 weeks which starts on the day of the birth (or the day after the birth when the worker had started work on the day of the birth). Postnatal leave is compulsory.

If you are self-employed maternity leave lasts for 12 weeks (13 in case of multiple births). You are obliged to take at least 3 weeks uninterrupted: the week before the birth and the first 2 weeks after the birth. The remaining nine weeks (ten weeks in case of multiple births) are optional. During the optional period, the self-employed may undertake part-time work. The maximum duration of the optional maternity leave is therefore 18 weeks (20 weeks in the case of multiple births).

Amount of maternity benefit

The amount of maternity benefit depends on your status (employed, unemployed or self-employed) and on your income.

If you are an employee, your maternity benefit is calculated as:

  • 82% of your salary (no ceiling) for the first 30 days;
  • 75% of salary (subject to ceiling) from the 31st day onwards;
  • Maximum: € 110.23 per day from 1 March 2020.

If you are unemployed, in principle the amount of benefit on 1 March 2020 is equal to:

  • a basic benefit equivalent to the amount of your unemployment benefit + an additional allowance of 19.5% of gross capped salary at € 116.85 for the first 30 days;
  • a basic benefit equivalent to the amount of your unemployment benefit + an additional allowance of 15% of gross capped salary at € 110.23 starting from the 31st day.

If you are self-employed the amount of the benefit is a flat-rate weekly amount. The amount is the amount which is applicable on the first day of maternity leave. As at 1 March 2020 the amount of maternity benefit per week is € 499.54 for leave at full-time and € 249.77 for maternity leave at part-time.

Maternity benefits are paid by your mutual insurance fund. The application for benefits should be addressed to your mutual insurance fund supported by a medical certificate stating the presumed date of the delivery as well as the start date of the maternity leave.

Paternity or birth leave

As a father or co-parent, you are entitled to ten days paternity leave on the birth of a child. You must take this leave within the four months following the birth. You can take the leave days all at once or spread them.

Your employer will pay you your full salary for the first three days.
For the next 7 days your mutual insurance fund will be responsible for payment. The amount paid by the latter will be 82% of capped daily gross salary at € 120.52.

For more information about maternity and paternity or birth benefits, go to the social security portal.

Benefits in kind can also be paid during and after pregnancy: injections, pre and post-natal care, monitoring and assistance during labour and delivery in a hospital.

Jargon busters

  • National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance (INAMI): a public body which administers the sickness, maternity and invalidity sector and distributes the financial resources between the different insurance organisations http://www.inami.fgov.be/fr/Pages/default.aspx.

Know your rights

The links below allow you to find out more about your rights. These sites are not dependent upon the European Commission and so do not represent the viewpoints of the latter;

Commission publication and websites:

Who do you need to contact?

 Federal Public Service for Social Security
  • Address: Centre administratif botanique, Finance Tower, Boulevard du Jardin botanique 50, PO Box 100 - 1000 Brussels
  • Main telephone number: +32 25286011
  • www.socialsecurity.belgium.be
National Institute for Sickness and Invalidity Insurance (INAMI)
  • Address: Avenue de Tervueren 211 - 1150 Brussels
  • Telephone: +32 27397111
  • Email: communication@inami.fgov.be
  • Website: http://www.inami.fgov.be/fr/
Auxiliary Fund for Sickness & Invalidity Insurance (CAAMI) To contact the mutual insurance funds:

In the event of any problems with your rights as a European citizen: EU helpdesks.

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