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Occupational health and safety rules for specific employees

This information is provided by:Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZWMinistry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZWNederlandse versie

In certain cases, special work conditions apply to your employees. For example, in the cases below.

Employees who fall ill

Employees who fall ill usually return to work quickly. But what if the sick leave lasts much longer than expected? After 2 years of illness, the Work and Income according to Labour Capacity Act (Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen, WIA) usually covers your employee. This has financial consequences for both of you. Your employee will receive a much lower income. And you might remain responsible for supplementing that income for another 10 years. Together with your employee, you should do as much as possible to prevent this. The Eligibility for Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act (in Dutch) can help you with this.

Rights and obligations: the Eligibility for Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act

The Eligibility for Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act (Wet verbetering poortwachter, Wvp) states what you and your employee must do to get your employee back to work as quickly as possible. The most important regulation: the 'procedure for the first and second year of illness' (in Dutch). This states what you and your sick employee must do during the first 2 years of illness.

Pregnant employees and women who are breastfeeding

Do you have a pregnant employee? Then you must ensure that there is no danger in the workplace to her and the unborn child. If your employee tells you that they are pregnant, you must inform them about several matters (if relevant) within 2 weeks. For example: the possible dangers of the work for her and the unborn child. And what you can do together to prevent these dangers. If the child is born and your employee is breastfeeding, you must provide a lockable room where she can breastfeed or to express milk.

Providing information reduces absenteeism

Clear information about pregnancy and work reduces absenteeism during and after pregnancy.

Limiting risks

Especially if your pregnant employee works with hazardous substances or has to lift and carry a lot, you must modify her work assignment. There are legal obligations (in Dutch) to ensure this.

4 prohibitions

There are 4 prohibitions for pregnant and breastfeeding workers. They are not allowed to:

  • be exposed to lead and lead compounds
  • be exposed to toxoplasma and rubella (the rubella virus)
  • work under overpressure such as diving and caisson work (working in a high-pressure room)
  • work in underground extractive industries, such as mines.

Desire to have children, pregnancy, breastfeeding and work

The working conditions portal (arboportaal, in Dutch) offers you information about how to handle situations with employees with a desire to have children, pregnant employees, and employees who breastfeed.

Older employees

It goes for all employees that you must take into account what they are capable of. This is even more important for the older employee (in Dutch). You should pay extra attention if your older employee has to deal with:

  • high time pressure
  • heavy physical load
  • rapidly developing technology
  • irregular working hours and shifts

You then must find alternative tasks and positions in time. You also need to prepare the older employee for the possibility of other work.

Temporary workers

If you hire temporary workers, the temporary employment agency is also responsible for the health and safety of your temporary worker. But because the temporary worker works at your company, the main responsibility (in Dutch) lies with you. You must therefore ensure a safe workplace and good working conditions.

Employees with a disability

Usually, you can simply keep on an employee after they have incurred a disability or hire an employee who already has a disability. For example, by finding suitable work or by adjusting the workplace. The government encourages this and UWV offers various allowances (in Dutch) to employ a disabled person.

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