Self-employed and Pregnant: the ZEZ benefit

As a self-employed woman, you have been entitled to maternity benefit since June 2008. This paid leave is paid out by the government under certain conditions. This makes it easier for self-employed women to go on maternity leave. What does a ZEZ benefit entail and what conditions must you meet as a self-employed person? A woman who is employed is automatically entitled to maternity leave. The employer and the UWV arrange this together. As a woman, you often don’t even think about how this should be arranged. You assume this will be easy. This is different for self-employed women. There is no employer who arranges maternity leave and you will not automatically receive your salary. Fortunately, the Self-employed and Pregnant benefit has been available since 2008.

When are you entitled to a ZEZ benefit?

To be eligible for a ZEZ benefit, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You are self-employed with or without employees
  • You are a cooperating spouse or partner
  • You are an independent professional. (co-owner, freelancer, home worker, home help, artist, general practitioner, etc..)

When are you, as a self-employed person, not entitled to a ZEZ benefit?

You are not entitled to the ZEZ benefit if you have voluntarily taken out health insurance for a daily wage that is higher than the statutory minimum wage.

Duration of the benefit

The ZEZ benefit starts, just like a normal maternity leave, four or six weeks before the due date. Just like with normal maternity leave, you are entitled to 16 weeks of benefits.

Baby born prematurely or later than expected?

If your baby was born prematurely, you are entitled to 16 weeks of benefits. If the baby arrives later than expected, you are still entitled to benefits for 10 weeks from the moment of birth. In this way you may receive benefits for longer than 16 weeks.

Amount of the benefit

The amount of the benefit depends on the income in the previous year and has a maximum of the minimum wage. You will also receive an 8% holiday allowance on your benefit. Have you worked at least 1225 hours in the previous year? Then you will receive the maximum benefit. If less than 1225 hours per year, the profit/income of the year before the benefit is paid out is taken into account. An assisting spouse of a self-employed person is also entitled to a ZEZ benefit. This takes into account the profit that the partner made. On this basis, part of the profit is allocated to the pregnant woman.

I am voluntarily insured

If you have already taken out voluntary insurance as a self-employed person, you will only receive a ZEZ benefit if this is higher than the benefit from the voluntary insurance. If you are voluntarily insured for (more than) 65 euros per day, you are not entitled to a ZEZ benefit.

How do I apply for a ZEZ benefit?

You can apply for a ZEZ benefit from the UWV. You can start the procedure via the Application for ZEZ benefit for pregnant self-employed persons form. Do this 4 to 2 weeks before you want the leave to start. Please enclose a pregnancy certificate from your midwife, GP or gynecologist. Also provide a copy of the income tax assessment for the past tax year. Thanks to this ZEZ benefit, pregnant self-employed people are no longer left empty-handed during their leave. Not working used to mean no income. Fortunately, the government has changed that and it is a great relief for self-employed people that they also receive money during their leave.