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More flexible leave schemes in Belgium


Two new Belgian Acts have introduced increased flexibility with regard to parental leave, leave for medical assistance and palliative care.

A first Act introduces a new possibility to benefit from 1/10th parental leave in addition to the existing systems of full-time, halftime and 1/5th parental leave. 1/10th parental leave implies that parents are absent from work half a day each week or a whole day every two weeks, and this for a period of maximum 40 months. It is intended that a Royal Decree, still to be issued, makes this 1/10th parental leave subject to the employer’s approval.

In addition, a second Act creates increased flexibility when taking up leave for medical assistance, parental leave or palliative care. Whereas before such leave needed to be taken-up during a fixed day each week, it will now be possible to take up such leave in a more flexible manner. In a system of 1/5th leave, it will for instance now be possible to take up 3 days of leave during one week, as long as this time is compensated during other weeks (i.e. two weeks where the employee does not take up any leave). It must be emphasised that consent of both the employer and the employee is compulsory for such flexibility and that the average number of leave days (1/10th, 1/5th or 1/2nd) needs to be respected over a reference period of one month (or several months). Moreover, additional options for splitting-up the leave have been introduced.

Both new Acts enter into force on 6 October 2018.

However, (a) Royal Decree(s) is/are still to be issued, setting out the details.

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