However, a lot of men are in the dark as regard their entitlement to take parent leave or “time credit”. Mr Peeters hopes to remedy this with a new public awareness campaign.
Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’, Mr Peeters said that “In 2004 just 15% of parents that took parental leave were fathers. Since then this has risen to 32%”. Although the number of men applying for parental leave has risen, it is still relatively small compared with the number of women applying. 68% of applications for parental leave come from mothers.
Mr Peeters says that this is at least in part due to men not being well informed on how to apply.
"Research shows that many fathers would like to take parental leave, but think they can’t and wouldn’t be allowed to do so by their employer. Of course parental leave is a right also for fathers”, Mr Peeters said.
In future, new fathers will be given an information leaflet outlining the procedure for applying for parental leave.