Chapter

The Netherlands: bridging labour and care

Janneke Plantenga and Chantal Remery

in The politics of parental leave policies

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9781847420671
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303961 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420671.003.0011
The Netherlands: bridging labour and care

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Until recently, Dutch leave policies were very limited. The only policy available was a twelve-week pregnancy and maternity leave for married women. However, by the end of the twentieth century, as a result of the changing family reforms and labour market patterns, leave arrangements had become a major policy issue with debates concentrating on entitlement, length of leave, and income support. This chapter discusses the development of leave policies, specifically parental leave in the Netherlands. This development has involved different interpretations of the purpose of leave and the divisions of responsibilities between the government, parents, and social partners. Starting from the view point in which parental leave was seen as a way to facilitate part-time employment, the Parental Leave Act provided a basic entitlement to take part-time, unpaid leave for a short period of time. It was left to the social partners to supplement this minimum. However, over time, public responsibility for leave has increased. This was evident not only in the increasing number of leave policies, but in the growing public involvement in the provision of income support as well. During this process, the interpretation of parental leave appeared to have changed from a labour market instrument into a more complex instrument intended to facilitate parenthood and the well-being of children.

Keywords: leave policies; pregnancy leave; maternity leave; parents; social partners; Parental Leave Act

Chapter.  7740 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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