Dutch female entrepreneurs to be paid pregnancy leave

4th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The biggest Dutch union FNV said on Tuesday it was pleased with the government's decision to grant Dutch female entrepreneurs paid leave upon pregnancy and birth.

AMSTERDAM (dpa) - The biggest Dutch union FNV said on Tuesday it was pleased with the government's decision to grant Dutch female entrepreneurs paid leave upon pregnancy and birth.

On Monday Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner and Economy Minister Maria ven der Hoeven, both of the Christian Democratic party, announced Dutch female entrepreneurs would be entitled to a monthly pregnancy and birth stipend for a total of 16 weeks. 

FNV president Agnes Jongerius said she was very pleased with the decision. She added the government's decision was the result of "many years of lobbying and negotiating."

The monthly benefit that female entrepreneurs will receive depends on their entrepreneurial income and could be up to EUR 1,317 gross, the official minimum wage in the Netherlands.

Earlier this summer, the FNV union and the Clara Wichmann Institute - an institute which files legal cases to enhance equal rights for women - petitioned a court in The Hague, asking it to rule that the state was obliged to pay female entrepreneurs a pregnancy benefit.

The court, however, ruled that the state did not have such an obligation, forcing the FNV and the government to renew their talks on the subject.

Until 2004, the Netherlands used to have a special sick leave insurance for entrepreneurs, which also covered pregnancy and birth. However, the insurance fees were so high that very few entrepreneurs made use of the arrangement.

The sickness insurance for entrepreneurs was abolished in 2004. No new provision has been legislated for so far, creating a problem for female entrepreneurs who become pregnant and give birth.

The new arrangement is an insurance financed by national taxes. This means the female entrepreneurs do not have to pay a special insurance fee in order to be entitled to the 16-week monthly benefit.

It is expected that the first benefits will be paid as of mid- 2008. According to FNV, some 5,500 women will benefit from the law, at a total cost of a maximum 25 million euro (36 million dollars).

The number of female entrepreneurs in the Netherlands has been on the rise in recent years. With the present government encouraging women to be even more active in the labour force, this number is expected to rise further.

[Copyright dpa 2007]

Subject: Dutch news


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