pregnant and self-employed: The three different kinds of pregnancy benefits

Pregnancy and income

As a self-employed professional you are not obligated to insure against a loss of income. Therefore, you can lose income as a pregnant self-employed professional. There are three ways to receive a pregnancy benefit and in such prevent a loss of income.

ZEZ-benefit (Self-employed and pregnant)

Even when self-employed professionals do not insure themselves, they are still entitled to a pregnancy benefit through the ZEZ-arrangement. This arrangement comes from the Wet Arbeid en Zorg (WAZO/ Law Labour and Care). The ZEZ benefit is for a  minimum period of 16 weeks and will start 4 to 6 weeks before the expected date of birth. After the birth of the child, you are entitled to a minimum of 10 weeks benefit.

The level of the received ZEZ-benefit amount is related to the number of hours that you work and to the income of the previous year. If you have worked more than 1.225 hours a year, you are entitled to the maximum ZEZ-benefit. This maximum benefit, however, is never higher than the legal gross minimum wage. When you have an occupational disability insurance, you are probably also entitled to a pregnancy benefit through this insurance. This benefit has no influence on the level of the ZEZ-benefit. The case may be, however, that the insurance company will lower your occupational disability benefit when you also receive a ZEZ-benefit. To see if you are eligible for receiving a ZEZ-benefit, you can use the form ‘Aanvraag ZEZ-uitkering voor zwangere zelfstandigen’ (request ZEZ-benefit for pregnant self-employed professionals) through the UWV (The Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency). You will also need a pregnancy statement from your obstetrician or doctor.

WAZO-benefit

Because self-employed professionals are not obligated to insure themselves against loss of income, they have the option to insure voluntarily with the UWV. When you are voluntarily insured, you are entitled to pregnancy benefits through the Law Labour and Care. (WAZO). Just as in the case of the ZEZ-benefit, this benefits lasts for at least 16 weeks. The level of the WAZO-benefit is dependent on the daily amount for which you are insured. When the benefit payment is lower than the amount from the ZEZ-arrangement, the WAZO-benefit is supplemented to this amount. The added advantage of the voluntary insurance in regards to the ZEZ-benefit is that you will also receive a benefit if a sickness is caused by pregnancy or childbirth. This is because you are voluntarily insured for the Ziektewet (Sickness Benefits Act).

AOV -benefit (Disability Insurance for Employees)

Besides the voluntary insurance with the UWV, you can also choose for a Disability Insurance for Employees (From now on AOV ) with an income insurer. With an AOV self-employed professionals insure themselves against the financial consequences of the incapacity to work. In this manner, you will not suffer from a loss in income. Insurers often also provide benefits in the case of pregnancy. The period, level and conditions of the benefit differ depending on the income insurance company. When you receive an AOV -benefit, the ZEZ-arrangement still applies.