Legislative amendment makes pre and post  maternity leave of 16 weeks possible in the Caribbean Netherlands

As of 1 January 2017, all female employees in the Caribbean Netherlands are entitled to 16 weeks of pre and post maternity leave.

This used to be only 12 weeks. This has been made possible due to a legislative amendment in the Wet ziekteverzekering BES [BES Sickness Insurance Act].


The employee is entitled to 100% continued payment of the entire salary during, at least four (4) weeks prior to and no more than six (6) weeks prior to the expected date of delivery, being pre maternity leave. And during at least ten (10) weeks after or no more than twelve (12) weeks after the actual date of delivery, being post maternity leave.


The employer should pay the pregnant employee 100% for a total of sixteen (16) weeks. In consultation with the treating physician, who sets a due date, and the employer one can choose from the following options of pre and post maternity leave:

4 weeks before – 12 weeks after

5 weeks before – 11 weeks after

6 weeks before – 10 weeks after

Should the employee give birth at an earlier date, this will not be deducted from the pre maternity leave. This period will then be moved to the post maternity leave. This way the new mums can still enjoy a total of 16 weeks of full paid leave.


Employers are legally obliged to continue 100% payment during this period. They in turn can apply for loss of earnings at the RCN – Unit  Social Affairs and Employment [SZW] and will subsequently get 80% back of the paid salary under the terms of the BES Sickness Insurance Act. The employers should, however, register themselves and the employees with SZW in order to qualify for this compensation.