Pregnant & work

Pregnant & work

When do you tell your work that you are pregnant? Are you allowed to visit the midwife during working hours? And should you take precautions at work while you are pregnant? As a pregnant woman you will have rights and obligations at work.

When to tell?

You are legally obliged to inform your employer that you are pregnant no later than 3 weeks before your maternity leave starts. It is of course more pleasant for your employer if you do this earlier. This way he or she can already look for a suitable replacement during your maternity leave.

Did you know that when you tell your employer that you are pregnant, you are entitled to legal protection during your pregnancy and while you are breastfeeding?


Pregnancy statement

With a pregnancy statement, your employer can apply for pregnancy benefit. You can request the statement from us at the practice. The pregnancy certificate states:

  • that you are pregnant
  • when the expected delivery date is
  • your personal information
  • your citizen service number (BSN number)

Pregnant and self employed?

If you are self-employed or unemployed, different rules apply than when you are employed. If you are self-employed, you must apply for benefits at the UWV. You are entitled to 16 weeks’ benefit for pregnancy and childbirth together. Every week you receive a benefit for 5 working days. You will therefore not receive any benefit for Saturdays and Sundays. The benefit lasts at least 16 weeks. You are always entitled to a 10-week benefit after the delivery. The amount of your benefit depends on your income in the calendar year before you became pregnant. The benefit is never higher than the minimum wage.


Work environment

Your employer is obliged to protect the health of you and your unborn baby during pregnancy and breastfeeding. He or she must therefore ensure that you can work safely. The basic principle is that you can continue to do your own work, in your own position and at your own workplace. There are certain working conditions that pose a risk to your pregnancy. Consult with your employer if you:

  • during your work you are exposed to vibrations (trucks, agricultural machines), ionizing radiation (radiation from radioactive substances), chemicals or infection risks
  • do physically demanding work, such as frequent lifting, pulling, pushing or carrying.
  • if you work night or shift work.

On the RIVM website you will find all kinds of information about pregnancy and work: the risks and protective measures (i.e. physically demanding work, stress and working with dangerous substances and animals).

Maternity leave

You may take leave up to 6 weeks before the due date. However, you are obliged to stop working at least 4 weeks before the due date. The total leave lasts 16 weeks. So you always have at least 10 weeks off after delivery, even if the baby is born later than planned. You can apply for leave with your pregnancy statement. If you are employed, you will receive a pregnancy and delivery allowance equal to your salary.


Paternity leave

Do you have a partner? Then he / she is also entitled to paternity leave. Since 1 January 2019, partners have been given “birth leave” once the amount of working hours per week. For example, does your partner work 6 hours a day for 5 days? Then he or she gets 30 hours of leave: 5 x 6 working hours. The employer continues to pay the wages in full during this leave. The employee can take the days of maternity leave at his own discretion. However, this must be done within 4 weeks of the birth of the child. Partners are currently entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave followed by 3 days of parental leave.

As of 1 July 2020, partners can take additional maternity leave for a maximum of 5 weeks (5 times the number of working hours per week). During the leave, the partner does not receive a salary, but a benefit from the UWV. They must take the additional birth leave within 6 months of the birth of the child. And they must have taken the 1 week birth leave first.


Parental leave

After your pregnancy and maternity leave, you can also take parental leave. Usually this leave is not paid. You do not build up any holiday hours during your leave. You are entitled to 26 consecutive weeks of leave or you can divide those hours over a longer period, for example by taking 1 day off per week. You don’t have to do it right away either. You are entitled to parental leave until your child is 8 years old.

How you want to organize your leave depends on many factors. Discuss this with your employer. The national government provides more information about parental leave. At the end of the leave period, you have the right to return to work for the number of hours stated in your employment contract. Taking parental leave does not change this.

Modified work during pregnancy

If you have heavy or risky work, your employer must adjust the work and possibly give you other work. You can also consult with the company doctor (Occupational Health Service) or ask for information from the Labor Inspectorate. In addition:

  • you can ask your employer for extra breaks if you are very tired.
  • you are not obliged to work at night or to work overtime.

Sometimes an employer offers a (voluntary) preventive consultation with the company doctor. The company doctor can identify risks during work and advise the employer about this.


Pregnancy discrimination

Almost half of women face pregnancy discrimination. For some women, this even means losing their jobs. Pregnancy discrimination is prohibited by law. The General Equal Treatment Act states that pregnant women are entitled to equal treatment. You can report pregnancy discrimination to the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (https://human

Returning to work after birth

You are entitled to extra breaks during the first 6 months after birth. In addition, you are also not obliged to work at night or to work overtime.