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Dismissal in case of long-term illness

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Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

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In some case you can dismiss an ill employee. For instance, if they have been ill for 2 years and you have both tried enough to have the employee reintegrate in the workplace. You must pay an ill employee on a temporary contract until the end date of the contract.

Check if you are allowed to dismiss your employee

You may only dismiss an ill employee in specific circumstances. For instance, during the probationary period or when you are facing bankruptcy. You can dismiss an employee after 2 years of long-term illness. During that time you must have done all you can to ensure they return to work as quickly as possible in a responsible way. You must be able to demonstrate this.

If your employee cannot go back to work after 2 years and you have not done enough for their reintegration, the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) can impose a fine (loonsanctie, in Dutch). You may not dismiss your employee and you must pay their wages for 1 more year.

Dismissing an employee

Did you and your employee do all you can for the employee’s reintegration, but is the employee still incapacitated for work or ill? Then you are allowed to dismiss the employee.

Your employee agrees with the dismissal

You can end the employment contract in consultation with the employee. This is called dismissal by mutual agreement (in Dutch). You must record this in a settlement agreement or a termination agreement (in Dutch). If this is the case you do not have to apply for approval from UWV.

Your employee does not agree with the dismissal

If your employee does not agree with their dismissal, you must apply to UWV for a dismissal permit.

Transition payment

You must pay your employee a transition payment over the full period of employment. You also pay over the period the employee was ill, until the day of dismissal.

You may apply for compensation (in Dutch) of the transition payment for ill employees to UWV. You qualify for this compensation (in Dutch) if:

  • The employment contract was (partly) terminated because of long-term illness.
  • At the time of dismissal your employee was still unfit for work.
  • You have paid your employee a transition payment.

Ill employee on a temporary contract

Is you ill employee on a fixed term (temporary) contract? Then you pay their wages until the end date of their contract. After that the Sickness Benefit Act (Ziektewet, Zw) takes over and you have no more obligations.

Are you a self-insurer for the Sickness Benefits Act? In some cases you also pay the premium for the Sickness Benefit Act after the contract has ended.

Statistics: Sick-leave in the Netherlands

On average, sick-leave is about 4.5 percent. This means that on average, employees call in sick for 4.5 days per 100 working days. The sickness absence rate is generally highest in the first quarter and lowest in the third quarter of the year.

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Statistics Netherlands, CBS