Sick pay

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO | Statistics Netherlands, CBS

If you own a company in the Netherlands and one of your employees becomes ill, you are required to pay at least 70% of their last earned wages. You are obliged to do this for a maximum period of two years.

How much to pay

You should pay:

  • 70% of the employee's normal wages during the first year of illness. If this amounts to less than the minimum wage, you should supplement it up to the minimum wage amount
  • 70% of the employee's normal wages during the second year of illness. You do not need to supplement if the amount is less than the minimum wage

If your employee is off sick because of organ donation, pregnancy or giving birth, you need to pay 100% of their normal wages.

Whom to pay

This obligation is applicable to all your employees, such as:

On-call employees

Do you employ on-call workers? If they get ill during the time they are contracted to work for you, you need to pay at least 70% of their wages. You should supplement this pay to at least the minimum wage. This applies to employees on fixed-hours and zero-hours contracts

End of contract

Does your employee's contract come to an end while they are ill? You do not need to pay them after their contract ends. They can apply for sickness benefits (ziektewetuitkering).

Older employees

If your employee is older and entitled to old age pension (AOW), you need to pay 70% of their normal wages for 13 weeks. Again, if the amount is lower than the minimum wage, you need to supplement it.

Disabled employees

If you have a disabled employee who becomes ill, you can apply for a sickness benefit at the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV). This regulation is called the no-risk policy (no-riskpolis, in Dutch). In this case you will continue to pay your employee's salary and offset the benefit against this.

Returning to work

You must consult with the employee about their returning to work. Within the two-year period, you have the option of temporarily discontinuing payment of wages if they do not cooperate sufficiently. Insufficient cooperation can even serve as grounds for dismissal.

Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA)

After two years, the employee may be eligible for a benefit pursuant to the Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen, WIA, in Dutch). You can then dissolve the employment contract. The employee can apply for a WIA benefit after one and half years. If it is absolutely evident that your employee cannot get back to work within this period, they can, after consulting you and your company doctor, apply for a WIA benefit earlier.

UWV assesses whether you and your employee have done enough to avoid a benefits claim. If not, they may reclaim the benefit from you.

One-stop SME absenteeism insurance

The government has introduced a raft of measures to make dealing with the absenteeism of sick employees cheaper and easier for small and medium-sized businesses. Aside from exemption of the 21% tax on sick pay insurance for employers, these measures include introducing one-stop SME absenteeism insurance to support your reintegration obligations towards sick employees and changes in the role of company doctors:

  • This insurance acts as a safety net to alleviate the financial risks and helps you, as an employer, meet your financial obligations and administrative requirements when an employee goes on sick leave.
  • The €450-million set aside for reimbursement towards the costs of paying wages during sick leave will mainly benefit small businesses.
  • The company doctor’s medical advice will play a leading role in determining whether enough is being done to reintegrate an employee. On the basis of the doctor’s recommendation, you can set up a reintegration programme with your employee. This measure is due to be introduced on 1 January 2021.

Statistics: sickness absence rate

The total number of sick days of employees, as a percentage of the total number of available (working-/calendar)days of employees in the reporting period.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Statistics Netherlands, CBS