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Which leave policies are available for caregiving?

Being a caregiver while having a stressful job is very difficult. Especially when your loved one suffers from a long-term illness. To be able to manage this properly, it is important that you don’t overburden yourself. Fortunately, as a working caregiver you can use various types of leave policies.

How do you prevent yourself from getting overworked or getting burned-out by caregiving? How do you keep the focus on your job while you have to be ready for your ill child or partner every day? When you, as a caregiver, look after a loved one in addition to your work, you are entitled to various leave arrangements. In this article you can read about the leave arrangements your employer allows you to take.

Which leave policies are available for caregiving?

Calamity leave

Calamity leave is only meant for emergencies. It is sort of a last minute leave. You can take this leave when you unexpectedly have to take time off. Calamity leave can be just a few hours or a few days maximum. Your employer is required to pay your full salary.

Short-term leave

Short-term leave is the leave you take to care for a sick child or an ill partner.
You can also apply for short-term leave to look after someone within your immediate social circle, such as a parent or other relative.

How long can short-term leave last?

In principle the maximum short-term leave is ‘twice the amount of hours you work per week’. If you work 40 hours per week, you are allowed to apply for a maximum of 80 hours short-term leave per year. If you work 20 hours per week, you can apply for a maximum of 40 hours.

While on short-term leave, your employer is required to pay you 70 percent of your salary. If other agreements have been defined in your collective labor agreement, then these collective labor agreements apply.

Long-term leave

You take a long-term leave when you have to take care of your sick child, a partner, one of your parents or someone else within your social environment for a longer period of time. You must make clear arrangements with your employer for this kind of leave.

How long can long-term leave last?

In principle the maximum long-term leave is ‘six times the amount of hours you work per week’. If you work 40 hours a week, then you are allowed to apply for a maximum of 240 hours (six weeks) of long-term leave a year. If you work 20 hours per week, then it is a maximum of 120 hours. This long-term leave can be spread out over the entire year.

With long-term leave your employer is not required to pay you your salary. Long-term leave is unpaid leave, unless other agreements have been defined in your collective labor agreement.

Personal agreements

Many employers are considerate of their employees’ caregiving tasks. Therefore it is wise to always request a meeting with somebody from the human resources department. It is possible to for instance adjust your working hours or to work from home more often. They can also advise you to (temporarily) work part-time. Be open and transparent with your employer about your personal situation but at the same time let them know your job is still very important to you.

Good luck!

Source: CNV (The National Federation of Christian Trade Unions in the Netherlands)

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