Sickness means, as a result of a physical or mental condition, as defined in Article 7:629 of the Dutch Civil Code (BW), the Employee is not able to perform or fully perform the work agreed to during the term of employment. Reintegration [reintegratie] means working towards full recovery (if possible) and is the main objective during the Sickness Absence.
Employer and Employee
The Employee and the Employer are jointly responsible for the recovery of the Employee and to reintegrate the Employee back to work as soon as possible. They work together on the coaching and activities aimed at this, such as training, education, partial resumption of work and work adaptation. The Employee will adopt an active approach during this process.
Occupational Health & Safety Service Provider
Occupational Health and Safety Service (OHSS) [Arbodienst] is an independent service organisation which offers services on Working Conditions, Risk Inventory & Evaluation (RI&E) and Sickness Absence. By law, the Sickness Absence process has to be outsourced and executed by the OHSS.
A company doctor gives advice in the area of employment and health and is usually working at the Occupational Health & Safety Service provider. The Company Doctor supports on improving working conditions and helps Employer and Employees in the reintegration phase, to make sure the employee will return to work as quickly and responsibly as possible. The Company Doctor will provide advice to the Employer / Case Manager about the next steps.
The Case Manager is responsible to coordinate and manage the full end-to-end Absenteeism process. By law, the Employer has to appoint a Case Manager to make sure the execution of the Sick Absence process will be followed according accurately. The main contacts of the Case Manager are with Employee and Employer/Manager, Occupational Health & Safety Service Provider and UWV.
UWV Employee Insurance Agency is an autonomous administrative authority and is commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The Dutch employee insurances are provided via laws such as the WW (Unemployment Insurance Act), the WIA (Work and Income according to Labor Capacity Act, WGA (Return to Work (Partially Disabled) Regulations), the WAJONG (Disablement Assistance Act for Handicapped Young Persons), the WAO (Invalidity Insurance Act), the WAZO (Work and Care Act) and the Sickness Benefits Act. The Sick Leave has to be reported to the UWV and forms need to be filled in during the Sick Absence process to comply to the required steps of the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.
Free Publication on Sick Leave
In case the Employee is ill and temporarily not working, the intention is to work intensively to make sure the employee will be recovered soon. The Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act (abbreviated Wvp) is drawn up and specifies the mandatory steps to be taken, by Employer and Employee. Since Dutch employment law regarding employee illness is quite complex, this free guide will give you an outline of the parties involved, mandatory steps and how to manage (long term) illness for employees in The Netherlands.
COMPLIANCE: SICKNESS ABSENCE POLICY
Sick Leave Regulation / Protocol
Employers, employees and the government have a strong common interest in good working conditions. The Working Conditions Act requires to every employer to conduct a health and safety policy aimed to provide optimal working conditions for employees.
The law sets all sorts of obligations for both the employee and the Employer to facilitate as much as possible the speedy recovery of the Employee. Each company has to have a Sickness Absence Policy outlining the expectations and obligations of Employer and Employee during Sickness Absence, in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.
The purpose of the Sick Leave Regulation/ Protocol is to provide guidelines, expectations and obligations, during Sickness Absence, for Employer and Employees in accordance to the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.
Under Dutch Labour Law, Employers are obliged to continue payments for at least 70% of the Employees’ wages during 104 weeks of sickness / disability. The 70% of the Employees’ wages is capped to a maximum daily wage. [Max. dagloon]. If the amount is lower than the statutory minimum wage, the employer is obliged to supplement it to the minimum wage in the first year of illness.Exception by law: Organ donors, pregnant or recently delivered women who are ill in the second year will receive 100% of their daily wages instead of 70%.
The Employer is obliged by law to continue payment during the first year and second year of Sickness Absence. The Employer will have to continue payment in total for 104 weeks.In market practise, most of the companies will pay 100% salary during the first year of illness. For the second year of illness the % (percentage) varies per company and per industry. Companies will apply the statutory 70% and others will use a percentage above the statutory baseline.
Dismissal after two years of illness
In general, under Dutch employment law, there is a prohibition against termination of employment during an Employee's sickness [opzegverbod tijdens ziekte]. This is a very strict rule in the Netherlands for the reason of protecting the Employee. The exception to this rule is when the Employee refuses to comply with the legal obligations in case of illness without good reasons (only in exceptional situations).
After two years of illness, the Employer is in principle allowed to terminate the employment contract of the Employee. The Employer has to submit a request to the UWV and once the UWV has granted permission, the termination of employment can be effectuated. In case the UWV is of the opinion Employer did not follow the requirements during the Sick Leave process, the Employer is obliged to continue to pay the Employee's salary. [loonsanctie]
The termination of the employment contract is like other dismissal cases, whereas the Employee is entitled to a severance pay.
Request the Sick Leave Regulation / Protocol
Are you compliant? Contact us and receive a tailor-made Sick Leave Regulation / Protocol for Employer, Employee and HR Professionals. The documentation will consist of:
- 17 pages incl. policy, process and instructions in English (or Dutch)
- Explanatory of parties involved in the process
- Reporting Sick Leave, return and partly return from Sick Leave
- Sick pay policy and payroll process
- Mandatory steps for Employer and Employee
- Glossary of Terms