Last updated on: September 19th, 2022

Labor Requirements

The main source of employment law in Belgium is the Labor Act, which came into force in 1971(last amended in 2020). The Labor Code governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, and employment relationships. Another important source of law is the Constitution of Belgium Public Holidays Act 1974, regulations on Annual Vacation, etc.

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The working hours of the employees may not exceed 8 hours per day or 38 hours per week.

 

The weekly working time may also be defined as 38 hours on average over a defined reference period However, effective normal weekly working time cannot, in principle, exceed 40 hours in certain cases:

      • work performance of 40 hours per week with the allocation of 12 compensatory rest days (over a reference period of one year);
      • effective performance of 39 hours per week with the allocation of 6 compensatory rest days.

The average weekly working hours as well as the number of working hours that must be performed over the reference period, the duration of which is one calendar year, unless another period of twelve consecutive months is determined.

 

Daily working time may be increased as follows:

        • 9 hours if the working time regulation includes half a week, a whole day, or more than one day of rest except Sunday.
        • 10 hours if the workers are absent from home for more than 14 hours a day because of the distance between the workplace and their place of residence or stay.

Shift Work – In the case of work organized in successive shifts, the maximum working limits are 11 hours per day and 50 hours per week. The successive shift means at least two shifts and each shift must consist of at least two employees. Compensation rest must be granted so that the normal weekly working time (38 hours or that determined by a collective labor agreement) is respected on average over a reference period.

 

Flexible Working Hour – The working arrangement based on flexible schedules makes it possible not only to exceed the normal limits of working hours but also to change the schedules within the framework of the alternative peak and off-peak schedules that appear in the work regulations. However, the exceeding of the working hours is limited because the daily working time may not exceed 9 hours and the weekly working time may not exceed 45 hours.

 

Continuous work for technical reasons – This concerns organizations where it is impossible for technical reasons to interrupt the work that must be continued 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the case of continuous work for technical reasons, the maximum working limits are 12 hours a day and 50 hours a week. The weekly working time can be raised to 56 hours if the daily working time does not exceed 8 hours.

 

Reduction of working hours by granting additional compensatory rest days

Working hours can be reduced in an equivalent manner, by granting additional compensatory rest days without effectively reducing daily and weekly working hours.

 

For example: by granting 12 compensatory rest days per year, the weekly working hours are reduced to an average of 38 hours on an annual basis, while the daily and weekly performance remains at 8 hours and 40 hours.

 

Minimum limit – The duration of each work period may not be less than 3 hours, interrupted by short breaks, etc.

 

Internal limit of Working Hours

The internal working time limit is the maximum number of hours exceeding the normal weekly working time limit that still has to be made up within the applicable reference period.

 

In the case of annualization, the number of hours worked above the average working hours may not exceed 78 hours during the first 3 months, and 91 hours during the following months of the reference period. In a company where the weekly working time is 40 hours, this means that during the first 13 weeks of the reference period the internal limit is set at 78 hours and then increased to 91 hours for the rest of the reference period. 

 

The internal limit is 143 hours in a 3 months period regardless of the duration of the reference period within which the normal weekly working hours must be observed on average. This limit of 143 hours can be increased (but not reduced) by a collective labor agreement. Labor Code, 10 August 2001, Art. 19.

Overtime

Overtime can be allowed when the regular work requires either indispensable preparatory or finishing tasks, urgent loading and unloading of merchandise, work with material that deteriorates very quickly, exceptional and unforeseen increase in work, etc. 

 

Overtime is considered to be work performed in excess of 9 hours a day or 40 hours a week or above the lower working hours limits set by a collective bargaining agreement. The weekly working hour can be reduced to 38 hours by the working hour limit set by a collective bargaining agreement.

 

The working hours limits for including overtime shall be a maximum of 11 hours per day and 50 hours per week.

 

Employers cannot require employees to work more than 78 overtime hours in three months or 91 overtime hours in one year.

 

Pay – Overtime work is paid at a premium rate of 50% on the regular rate of pay.  The ordinary wage includes the premiums that are directly related to the wage and that are paid together with it on each payday (eg: hazard premium, shift premium, the premium for night work, etc.). 

 

Time off in Lieu – A collective agreement can arrange for compensatory rest in lieu of overtime payment. So, the employee shall be entitled to equivalent compensatory rest time for each hour of overtime work performed.

 

Voluntary Overtime

A new form of overtime called voluntary overtime was introduced, which would allow employees to supplement their wages. In order to volunteer for these overtime hours, the employee must conclude a written agreement with their employer prior to performing these hours. This agreement is valid for 6 months and can be renewed to the extent that the employee still wishes to work these overtime hours.

 

The maximum limit of 11 hours per day and 50 hours per week cannot be exceeded. 

 

The employee will be able to perform up to 100 voluntary overtime hours per calendar year that give rise to the payment of overtime pay, 50% for the hours worked during the week and 100% for the hours worked on Sundays and public holidays, but they will not give rise to compensatory rest.  

 

The quota of 100 overtime hours can be increased by a sectoral collective labor agreement that has been declared universally binding by a royal decree. However, the increase is limited to 360 hours per calendar year. Labor Act, 1971, March 16 (as amended), art.  25ibis, 29.

Night Work

Night work is considered as the hours worked between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m with work consistently provided between midnight and 5 a.m. There is a general prohibition on night work but various exceptions exist to this general prohibition.  

In principle, employees who engage in night work (between 8 pm and 6 am) are not entitled to a supplement to their wages/salary (bonus). Night work is paid in the same way as work carried out in the daytime. There are two exceptions to this principle:

  • In particular sectors, the joint committees have concluded collective agreements which make provision for additional remuneration for night work;
  • In the absence of collective agreements, it is additionally provided that specific compensation should be granted to workers employed under schemes that regularly involve work between midnight and 5 am. From 1 June 2017, EUR 1.16 (EUR 1.41 for employees of at least 50 years).

Labor Act, 1971, March 16 (as amended), art 35 – 38.

Breaks

When the workday exceeds 6 hours, employees are entitled to a rest period of at least 15 minutes. The duration of each working period may not be less than three hours. Labor Act, 1971, March 16 (as amended), arts. 38quater.

 

Daily Rest Period

An employee is entitled to at least 11 consecutive hours per period of 24 hours.  However, an interruption with a duration of fewer than 11 hours or the non-combination of this interruption with Sunday rest is permitted in cases of successive shifts, continuous work, etc. Labor Act, 1971, March 16 (as amended), art. 38ter.

Sunday Work

Sunday is a mandatory day of rest. An employee who works on a Sunday is entitled to compensatory time, which is generally taken within six days after the Sunday worked. 

 

The obligatory daily rest duration of 11 hours must be combined, depending upon the situation, either with the Sunday rest (24 hours) or with the compensatory rest in case of work performed on Sunday, so that the employee has a total weekly rest period of 35 consecutive hours.

 

An employee may be employed on Sundays 12 times a year, without however being allowed to exercise this right for more than 4 consecutive weeks:

      • in companies that work for only part of the year or in which seasons of the year, work is done more intensively;
      • in companies that are carried out in the open air and where work can be hindered by unfavorable weather.

    The compensatory rest should not be deducted from the working hours. For example, the rest should not necessarily coincide with the employee’s normal working day: this rest may coincide with the day on which the company usually does not work (usually Saturday). 

     

    However, the rest may not coincide with a public holiday, nor with a day of catch-up rest granted within the framework of the regulations on public holidays, nor with a day of rest granted due to exceeding the normal working time limits( another compensatory rest).

     

    Employees who work in successive shifts may be employed on Sundays, provided that their work is interrupted once a week for a period of 24 consecutive hours, of which at least 18 are on Sundays. 

     

    Compensatory Rest Employees who perform Sunday work are entitled to compensatory rest during the 6 days following the Sunday in question. The length of the period of compensatory rest is granted as follows:

          • a full day if the work on Sunday lasted for more than four hours;
          • half a day if the work on Sunday did not last more than four hours; compensatory rest should be granted before or after 1 pm and on that day the worker may not work for more than five hours.

     

    Overtime on Sunday – If work is done on Sunday, the worker is entitled to his normal remuneration unless they are entitled to receive overtime. Overtime worked on Sundays is paid at a 100% premium on the regular rate of payLabor Act, 1971, March 16 (as amended), arts. 11 – 18.

    Public Holidays

    Employees are entitled to the following 10 national holidays per year with pay:

    • Jan. 1: New Year’s Day
    • Easter Monday
    • May 1: Labor Day
    • Ascension
    • Pentecost
    • July 21; Independence Day
    • Aug. 15: Assumption of Our Lad
    • Nov. 1: All Saints’ Day
    • Nov. 11: Armistice Day
    • Dec. 25: Christmas

    Work on Public Holiday – If an employee was employed during a public holiday, he is entitled to compensatory rest.

        • The compensatory rest must be a full day if the work has lasted longer than four hours.
           
        • If the performance has not lasted longer than four hours, you can enjoy half a day of compensatory rest. This rest must be granted anytime and no more than 5 hours of work may be performed on that day.
        • This rest is granted within six weeks following the public holiday unless other allocation modalities for the compensatory rest are provided for in accordance with a royal decree for some branches of industry or categories of employees.
        • The compensatory rest must be charged during the working hours, which means that the compensatory rest must coincide with a normal working day for the employee.

     

    Overtime Work on Public Holiday – Overtime worked on holidays or replacement rest days are paid at a 100% premium on the regular rate of pay.

     

    Replacement day – When a public holiday falls on a weekend, employees are entitled to an additional day off, which is typically the first working day following the public holiday.

     

    The catch-up rest must coincide with the employee’s normal day of activity. The catch-up rest may therefore not coincide with a normal day of inactivity or with a rest day granted if the normal working time limits are exceeded or in the context of a reduction in working time.

     

    Pay – The employer must pay for the public holidays, the replacement days, and the recovery days. The wages for a public holiday or a replacement day are equal to the wages that the employee would normally have earned if he had actually worked that day.

     

    If the public holiday falls during a period of suspension of the performance of the employment contract, the employee may retain his right to wages. Act Regarding Public Holidays Art. 4  – 11.

    Annual Leave

    An employee’s entitlement to vacation is based on the amount of time worked in the preceding year. After one year of full employment, an employee is entitled to:

        • 24 working days if they work 6 days per week; and
        • 20 working days if they work 5 days a week
        • 16 working days if they work a 4-day week system.

    An employee is entitled to a maximum of 4 weeks of vacation per year. The vacation days to which an employee is entitled are in relation to the benefits for the year preceding the year in which an employee takes a vacation. This includes –

        • the actual working days  (the days when you worked);
        • the days of inactivity  (days when you did not work) that are related to actual working days.

    Part-time employees are entitled to annual leave in proportion to their service performance. In concrete terms, this means that an employee who is employed on a part-time basis is entitled to 10 days of vacation, which can be taken at times when they usually work.

     

    The holiday must be granted within 12 months following the end of the holiday service year. An uninterrupted holiday period of 1 week must in any case be granted.

    Vacation Pay

    An employee is entitled to vacation pay which consists of simple holiday pay (continued payment of the monthly salary during the vacation period) and double holiday pay (holiday bonus) which is a supplement on top of the monthly gross salary to cover extra holiday expenses. The double holiday pay corresponds to 92% of the monthly gross salary (for a complete holiday leave).

     

    If an employee is fully or partially remunerated on the basis of variable remuneration, this is taken into account for the calculation of the single pay and the double vacation pay. The simple vacation pay is calculated on the basis of the daily average of the 12 months preceding the vacation.

    Vacation Pay upon Termination

    An employer shall pay:

            • for the vacation year during which the contract ends, the simple allowance for the balance of days of vacation to be taken and the double allowance if the employee has not yet received it;
            • for the vacation year following the one during which the contract ends, the single and double vacation pay in advance.

    Vacation Pay on Reduced Working Time

    In December of the year in which an employee reduces his/her working time, the employer will pay single and double pay on the basis of wages for the past year. The employer will first deduct the single and double pay that an employee has already received.

    In December of the year following the year in which an employee reduces his/her working time shall be paid by the employer single and double pay on the basis of wages earned during the previous year. The employer shall first deduct the single and double pay that you have already received. Royal Order of 30 March 1967 14-24 and 35-36.

    Minimum Wage

    Effective August 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Belgium is 1,842.3 euros per month.

     

    The minimum wage stated above is subject to change and may not be updated. Kindly access the link to get the current rates.

    Special Leave

    Sick Leave

    An employee is entitled to take up to 30 days of sick leave at 100 percent pay. The employer pays the normal wage (guaranteed weekly wage) for the first 7 days. From the 8th day to the 14th day the employer pays 85.88% of the normal wage. From the 15th day, you are covered by the health and disability insurance; the health insurance fund will pay the employee 60% of the wages and the employee will also receive 25.88% of the wages from the employer. 

     

    If an employee returns to work and has a relapse within 14 days, the employee is not entitled to an additional period of sick leave benefits. Article 54, § 2 of the Employment Contracts Act of 3 July 1978.

    Maternity Leave

    An employee who is about to give birth are entitled to maternity leave of 15 weeks. If multiple births is expected, the maternity leave is in principle 17 weeks but can be extended to 19 weeks (see below).

     

    Maternity leave is made up of two periods: the leave taken before childbirth (called prenatal leave or maternity leave) and the rest that, in principle, starts on the day of the birth (called postnatal leave or maternity leave).

     

    Under no circumstances may the employee perform work activities in the period of seven days preceding the expected date of birth and in the nine weeks that in principle start on the day of the delivery. The other weeks can be taken either before or after delivery.

     

    If the employee gives birth to a lifeless child, maternity leave is granted on the condition that the pregnancy has lasted at least 180 days from conception.

     

    A female employee is entitled to 6 weeks of paid prenatal maternity leave immediately prior to the expected date of childbirth or 8 weeks prior to that date if she is expecting more than one child. She must take maternity leave beginning no later than seven days before the due date; the remainder of the prenatal leave is optional. If she does not take the full amount of available prenatal leave, she may extend her post­ child birth leave by the amount of unused prenatal leave.

     

    The employee is entitled to nine weeks of postnatal paid maternity leave plus any remaining prenatal maternity leave. The employee also may choose to stockpile two weeks of unused prenatal maternity leave and take that leave at any time during the first eight weeks after she returns to work. If childbirth requires hospitalization of more than seven days, maternity leave may be extended by the amount of time hospitalization exceeds seven days, up to a maximum of 24 weeks of post ­child maternity leave. 

     

    In the event of the mother’s death, the remaining part of the maternity leave can be converted into leave for the father or the co-mother.

     

    Breast Feeding Break – Women employees who work for more than 4 hours are entitled to 30 ­minute rest periods per day  and who work for at least 7 and half hours are entitled to a 1-hour break. Such breaks are considered working hours and are paid by social insurance. After her child is born, a female employee is entitled to rest periods for as long as 9 months after childbirth to breastfeed her child. 

     

    Paternity Leave

    Every employee, regardless of the working regime in which they are employed (full-time or part-time), has the right to be absent from work for 15 days following the birth of a child whose parentage has been established on the father’s side. The number of days of leave will be gradually increased to 20 days in 2023.

     

    The first three days of leave are paid by the employer; the remainder is paid by social security. A father may take the remainder of the mother’s postnatal leave to care for his newborn child if the mother is hospitalized or dies during maternity leave.

     

    These days may be freely chosen by the employee within four months from the day of the delivery. They do not necessarily have to be admitted all at once but can be spread over a period of four months from the time of delivery, at the choice of the employee. The day of delivery is the first day of that four-month period. 

     

    In the case of twins or multiple births, the days of birth leave are only granted once. 

     

    During the first three days of the birth leave, the employee retains his full salary at the expense of his employer. To be entitled to this wage, the employee must notify the employer in advance of the delivery. 

     

    Foster Parent Leave

    An employee who takes in a minor child in his family as part of a long-term placement is entitled to an individual credit of a maximum of 8 weeks of foster parent leave. This means that this credit of six weeks of foster parent leave cannot be transferred to the other foster parent.

     

    The six-week individual credit can be doubled if the child is affected by a physical or mental incapacity of at least 66%. or has a condition that results in at least 4 points being awarded in pillar 1 of the medical-social scale within the meaning of the child benefit regulations or that at least 9 points are awarded in the three pillars of the medical-social scale within the meaning of the child benefit regulations. The individual credit can be extended by two weeks in the event of simultaneous reception of several minor children as a result of placement as part of long-term foster care.

     

    Foster Care Leave

    The duration of the foster care leave is set at a maximum of 6 days per calendar year. During these days, the performance of the employment contract is suspended and the employee cannot claim wages at the expense of his employer. To compensate for this loss of wages, a benefit is provided for the employee who makes use of his right to foster care leave.

     

    If the foster family consists of two employees, who are jointly appointed as foster parents, the 6 days of foster care leave should be divided between them. To this end, each of them must submit a declaration on their honor to their employer, stating exactly how the number of days of foster care leave will be divided among them each year.

     

    Adoption Leave

    An employee is entitled to 6 weeks of leave in case of adoption of a minor child. The leave shall be taken at the latest within 2 months of the registration of the child in the population register. An employee shall take such leave only in periods of one-week duration.

     

    The adoption leave of maximum 6 weeks per adoptive parent is increased by 2 weeks for the parent concerned or for both parents together.

     

     The individual credit can be extended by 2 weeks if several minor children are adopted at the same time.

     

    The individual credit of six weeks can be doubled if the child is affected by a physical or mental incapacity of at least 66 pc. or has a condition that results in at least 4 points being awarded in pillar 1 of the medico-social scale within the meaning of the regulations regarding child benefits or that at least 9 points are awarded in the three pillars together of the medico-social scale scale within the meaning of the regulations on child benefits.

     

    The employer shall pay for the first 3 days of leave, and the remaining leaves shall be paid by the social security except for Sundays.

     

    Parental Leave

    Any employee, male or female, is entitled to take parental leave of up to 4 months at any time during the first 12 years after the birth or adoption of a child. 

     

    Every full-time employee can continue to work part-time for a period of 8 months (‘half-time parental leave’); the eight-month period can be split at the employee’s discretion. However, a duration of two months or a multiple of this must be taken into account for each application. There is also a right to parental leave in the case of adoption. Article 30, § 2 of the Employment Contracts Act of 3 July 1978.

     

    Educational Leave

    Employees are entitled to the time credit for educational purposes, provided:

        • either recognized by one of the three Belgian Communities (French, Flemish, or German-speaking) or by the sector;
        • totals at least 360 hours or 27 credits per year or 120 hours or 9 credits per academic term or per uninterrupted period of 3 months;

    In addition, this time off can also be obtained if an employee wishes to follow an education provided in a center of basic education or training focused on obtaining a diploma or a certificate of secondary education, the limit of which is fixed at 300 hours per year or 100 hours per school term or per uninterrupted period of 3 months.

     

    The time credit allowed for this period is 36 months maximum. The amount of this allowance is fixed. Employees are paid a monthly interruption allowance by Social security(ONEM). Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Family Events Leave

    Employees are entitled to take short periods of paid leave for family events such as marriages, funerals, and a child’s first communion, as well as for civic events such as jury duty, voting, and military enrollment. In addition, employees are entitled to paid leave of up to one day a month to attend to duties relating to local political office, such as membership in a provincial council. Although the employer must pay the employee’s salary during such leave, the political entity served by the employee is required to reimburse the employer for the expense. Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Family-Care Leave

    An employee is entitled to take family care leave to attend to any sick relative who lives with the employee. Similarly, an employee is generally allowed to take leave to care for a person with a terminal illness, who in this case need not be a family member. An employee who seeks family care leave must give the employer seven days’ advance notice; the leave may be deferred at the request of the employer but not refused. Family care leave is limited to an initial period of one month and may be extended an additional month. Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Bereavement Leave

    Employee shall be entitled to  10 days in the case of the death of one of the following:

        • spouse of the employee;
        • cohabiting partner of the employee;
        • child of the employee;
        • child of the spouse or cohabitant partner;
        • a foster child in the context of long-term foster care.

    The 3 days will have to be taken between the day of the death and the day of the funeral, and the remaining seven days in the year following the day of the death. However, at the request of the employee and with the consent of the employer, it will be possible to depart from these two rules.

     

    Death of a First-Degree Relative

    Bereavement leave is extended to two days in the event of the death of one of the following living with the employee:

          • sister or brother of the employee;
          • brother-in-law or sister-in-law of the employee;
          • grandparent of the employee;
          • a grandchild of the employee;
          • great-grandparent of the employee;
          • a great-grandchild of the employee;
          • son-in-law, daughter-in-law, or cohabiting partner of the employee.

    These days must be taken between the day the individual dies and the day of the funeral. If the deceased did not live with the employee, the bereavement leave remains at one day, to be taken on the day of the funeral. In both cases, as for the timing of the leave days, parties can agree otherwise at the employee’s request.

     

    Senior Vacation

    If employees are over 50 and return to work after a period of complete unemployment or disability, then most often employees are not entitled to 4 weeks of paid leave, instead, they can take a senior vacation in addition to incomplete vacation entitlement. For senior vacation days, employees are paid by social security, senior vacation allowances equal to 65% of capped salary. Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Leave for Unforeseen Events

    Employees are entitled to up to 10 days of unpaid leave per year for compelling reasons relating to unforeseen events. Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Sabbatical Leave

    Employees who have the requisite seniority can take a sabbatical or work reduced hours. Collective Agreement No. 45 of December 19, 1989, Time Credit – General Scheme.

     

    Time Credit

    An employee is entitled to time credit which allows to either completely or partially interrupt services for one of the below reasons –

              • For the purpose of providing care to his/her child under the age of 8 – The minimum duration per request is 3 months.
              • Per palliative care patient, – An employee can receive only a period of 1 month, extendable by 1 additional month.
              • Caring for a seriously ill household or family member: Employees can obtain the time credit for this reason by period from a minimum of 1 month to a maximum of 3 months, per request.
              • Caring for his/her disabled child under the age of 21: Employees can receive a minimum duration of 3 months per request.
              • Caring for a seriously his/her minor child or minor child belonging to the household: You can obtain the time credit for this reason by period (s) from a minimum of 1 month to a maximum of 3 months, per request.

    For “care” reasons, an employee can obtain a complete interruption or a partial interruption part-time or half-time for a maximum of 51 months. The amount of this allowance is fixed. Employees are paid a monthly interruption allowance by Social security(ONEM).

     

    In addition, from the age of 55, an employee can also obtain an end-of-career time credit, in order to reduce benefits half-time or by 1/5 time, up to retirement. The end of career time credit must not be justified by a reason.

     

    However, it requires at least 25 years of salaried professional past. During the end of career time credit, the ONEM can grant a monthly interruption allowance if an employee has reached the age of 60. As an exception, this allowance can be granted from age 55, if one of the derogatory conditions provided for by the regulations is met. (eg: an employee has at least 35 years of salaried professional experience, has carried out a heavy profession, etc.). The amount of this allowance is fixed.

     

    Political Leave

    Political leave gives private-sector employees the opportunity to be absent from work to exercise a political mandate. Any employee from the private sector can take political leave under the following conditions. Employees from the public sector and employees employed in educational institutions of the freely subsidized sector are not covered by this scheme. The maximum duration of political leave and the formalities to be complied with depending on the office or mandate held.

     

    Palliative Care Leave

    Every employee has the right to suspend work performance completely or to reduce their work performance in order to devote himself to the palliative care of a person suffering from an incurable disease. Palliative leave can be taken in one of the following ways:

        • each employee (full-time or part-time) can suspend work performance completely for a period of maximum 1 month per patient. This period can be extended twice with 1 month;
        • each full-time employee can reduce work performance by 1/5 or ½ during a maximum period of 1 month per patient. This period can be extended twice with 1 month.

     

    Informal Care Leave

    Every employee who is a recognized informal carer of a person in need of care is entitled to a leave for informal care in the form of a complete suspension of the performance of their employment contract or a reduction in the work performance.

     

    Leave for informal care can be taken in one of the following ways:

          • every employee (full-time or part-time) can completely suspend the performance of their employment contract for a period of three months per person in need of care. The full interruption must be taken per month or a multiple thereof.
          • each full-time employee can reduce their work performance by 1/5 or half over a period of six months per person in need of care. The reduction in work performance must be included per period of two months or a multiple thereof.

     

    Each full-time employee can also combine both forms of admission on the understanding that the leave for informal care for the same person in need of care may not exceed the equivalent of three months of complete interruption.