Maternity for ZZP? Get to know the benefit of ZEZ.

03/11/2023 4 min Administration / Business in the Netherlands

Are you ZZP and expecting a baby? Read everything you need to know about the ZEZ benefits for entrepreneurial mothers in the Netherlands.

What often raises concerns of entrepreneurial women, are the changes that are associated with
having a child. What’s next for my business? Can I run a business while on maternity leave? Am I
entitled to any benefits as ZZP after having a child? What is the ZEZ benefit?

Are you self-employed? You have no vacation-days!

It is a fact, the reality of entrepreneurs is completely different. However, the Dutch government
made sure that pregnant women running companies could also benefit from institutional support
and introduced the ZEZ benefit, which is to be an alternative to the benefit, during maternity leave
,for employed women.

What is the ZEZ benefit?

The ZEZ benefit is equivalent to the maternity allowance (Dutch: WAZO-uitkering), except that it is
addressed to the person running a business. This allowance is paid 4 to 6 weeks before the
expected date of delivery and applies until 10 – 12 weeks after the birth of the child.This is a total
of 16 weeks of allowance, which is corresponding to the standard duration of maternity leave in
the Netherlands.

Who is eligible for ZEZ benefit?

The ZEZ benefit is granted to people who:

  • run their own company
  • help run their husband’s/partner’s business – for example, they are a partner or a shareholder in a company or they receive a salary (Dutch: meewerkbeloning).
  • are independent professionals (for example, a GP, freelancer, or artist)

A condition for receiving the ZEZ benefit is being self-employed prior to receiving the allowance.

Another necessary condition for receiving the allowance is submitting an application for a ZEZ on
your own at the UWV (Dutch Social Benefits Agency)

When do you need to apply for the ZEZ benefit?

You can apply up to, and no later then, 2 weeks before the planned start of the maternity leave.
The UWV recommends submitting an application for a ZEZ 4 weeks before the planned start of
the maternity leave.

You can also apply for the ZEZ later on; up to a year before the end of the
period for which you are entitled to ZEZ, but then you risk not receiving the full amount of the

The amount of the ZEZ allowance and the hourly criterion.

The ZEZ allowance is equal to the rate of the minimum wage. In order to receive the allowance in
full, you must meet the hourly criterion. This means you have to work at least 1225 hours for your
company in a year. You can read why it’s still worth meeting the hourly criterion HERE.

If you do not meet the hourly criterion, the basis for calculating your benefit will be your profit from
the previous year. In the case of new companies that do not operate for a full year, the basis for
calculating the benefit is the income from the last 3 months.

A child and a company – how to coordinate them

Perhaps the minimum wage is not the amount that “settles you”, but what is the biggest
advantage of ZEZ is the ability to run a business while receiving the allowance. This means that
you can still run your business, even if it is in a limited mode, and thus – earn money!

Having a child is an intensive time. Pause or end projects that involve face-to-face contact with
clients, for the time being. And if this is an option for you, try to outsource some tasks to other
contractors and only supervise the work.

If your company is present on social media, you have a chance not to lose contact with
customers and still build good relationships with them, even on a limited scale. It will pay off once
you decide you’re ready to come back in full force.

Simplify, plan and optimise!

Whenever fate throws us a challenge, it’s best to make a plan so that you don’t get surprised later
on. When planning to enlarge your family, it is worth putting effort into changing the organisation
of work in order to best adapt one’s capabilities to professional tasks. This is where you can take
full advantage of the flexibility that self-employment gives you!

Work when you have time and space for it, outsource some of the tasks to other contractors, and
maybe look for an advisor who will help you plan it wisely.

And take care of the optimisation of management processes of important company topics in
advance! A good invoicing program will help you save time by simplifying company administration
as much as possible.