About short term care leave

van de trap gevallen, fell down the stairs
The culprit

An accident can happen at any time. That was also the case this week. This time a personal anecdote, which shows that Labour Law is everywhere.

What was the situation?

My lovely partner, who was travelling home unsuspectingly, had just got off the train to continue the last bit on foot. This is – as it turns out – not entirely without risk, as a number of obstacles are a regular feature of the route. So too, the stairs of Schiedam Station.

That is where it went wrong. Unsuspectingly taking the obstacle too enthusiastically (read: skipping a step) caused my partner to fall badly. What was the consequence? Ankle pain and the inability to stand on the corresponding leg.

And now?

Walking further home was no longer an option. Fortunately, I was just on my way home and was able to pick up my partner by car. The next day: to the GP to see how the ankle is doing.

Now it so happens that the GP is not too close to our house, and it is not possible for my partner to get there on foot. As you can understand, I had to be the driver. The first appointment to be made? Half past 10 in the morning, during ‘working hours’.

How do you care for someone else during working hours?

For this there is what is called ‘care leave’. This can be called ‘calamity leave’ or ‘short term care leave’.

Calamity leave relates to unexpected events that may occur in the life of an employee. Think of an unexpected leakage at home, a child (or partner) who has an unfortunate fall and needs to visit the doctor, or the partner who is about to give birth.

According to Article 4:1 of the WAZO (Work and Care Act), an employee is entitled to paid leave for a short period of time to be calculated fairly, if the employee is unable to perform his or her work due to

  • Unforeseen circumstances that require an immediate interruption of work; or
  • Very special personal circumstances; or
  • An obligation imposed by law or by the government, without financial compensation, the fulfilment of which could not take place in his/her spare time; or
  • the exercise of the right to vote.

Very special personal circumstances are in any case understood to mean when the partner gives birth, the death of one of the employee’s housemates, the death of close relatives, urgent, unforeseen or unreasonably unplanned visits to a doctor or hospital by the employee or the necessary accompaniment of such visits, or the necessary care of someone on the first day of illness.

The employer must be notified of the leave as soon as possible, stating the reason for the leave. As an employer, you cannot refuse a reasonable request for this. Calamity leave usually lasts no longer than one day. Is a form of ‘care leave’ still needed after that? Then we call it ‘short term care leave’.

During the calamity leave and short-term care leave, the employee is entitled to salary.

And how is my partner now? The first ‘steps’ in recovery have already been taken!


Do you have questions about employment conditions, leave, salary or other personnel-related issues? Please do not hesitate to contact us. The experts of AAme are ready for you!


mr. S. (Stefan) Klein

Legal Counsel (present: mo. to fr.)

+31(0)15 820 00 53


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