Report sick leave and recovery to the company doctor or health and safety agency
If your employee calls in sick, report sick leave and recovery to your company doctor or health and safety service (arbodienst). You must do this within 4 working days. If your employee has recovered by then, report this as well. You do not have to do anything if your employee is a temporary agency worker or payroller.
Check if you have to report sick leave to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)
Sometimes you will have to register your employee as sick with the UWV (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen). You must do so if:
- your employee is sick for 42 weeks;
- the employment contract expires during the period of sickness. If so, register your employee as sick with the UWV on the last working day;
- your employee is entitled to benefit under the Sickness Benefits Act (Ziektewet). This is also the case if you are a self-insurer under the Sickness Benefits Act. You must register the employee as sick with the UWV within 4 working days. Recovery must be reported within 2 working days. Both can be done using the online sickness notification (Verzuimmelder, in Dutch).
Continue paying salary during the period of sickness
You must pay your sick employee at least 70% of their last earned salary and holiday allowance. If the employment contract or Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) prescribes a higher percentage, you must comply with this. The maximum duration of continued payment is 104 weeks. If your employee’s contract finishes during that period, register your employee as sick with the UWV (in Dutch) on their last working day. Your obligation to continue payment of salary ceases from then on. Your employee will then receive a sickness benefit from the UWV.
Note: Sickness does not lead to loss of holiday. If your employee becomes ill while on holiday, they do not lose their leave hours. However, they must report sick during the holiday.
Compensation for workplace adjustment
If you have to incur extra costs to adjust your employee's workplace, you can apply for compensation from the UWV. For example, if you need to purchase a modified desk. Apply for compensation for the employer (in Dutch).
Do not dismiss a sick employee
You can only dismiss a sick employee in certain situations, namely:
- after 2 years of sickness, unless the UWV has imposed a wages penalty on you;
- during the trial period;
- in the event of instant dismissal;
- in the event of bankruptcy;
- if your business ceases to exist;
- if your employee falls sick during the UWV dismissal procedure;
- if your employee falls sick after you have filed a dismissal application at the sub-district court; sickness must not be the reason for such a dismissal application.
Help your employee return to work
The Eligibility for Permanent Incapacity Benefit Restrictions Act (in Dutch, Wet verbetering poortwachter, Wvp) requires you and your employee to find ways together on how to get them back to work as soon as possible. This is called ‘reintegration’. This act requires you to:
- Keep and record all records, documents and data. For example, the reintegration report and the correspondence with the health and safety service.
- Have a progress interview with your employee every 6 weeks. You make a report of this.
- Call in the company doctor within 6 weeks at the latest. The company doctor assesses what your employee can still do and draws up a problem analysis (in Dutch).
- In the 8th week of illness, you draw up an action plan together with your employee. UWV has a format (plan van aanpak, in Dutch) available.
- Ask UWV for an expert opinion if reintegration gets stuck.
- If possible, adjust tasks, workplace, hours, and working hours.
Your employee is obliged to cooperate
Your employee must actively participate in their reintegration. This includes:
- Discuss the health situation with the company doctor.
- Discuss work progress with you every 6 weeks.
- Draw up and approve a reintegration plan with you.
- Accept suitable work.
Your employee's rights
- does not have to inform you about the nature of the illness or incapacity for work.
- is not obliged to give the company doctor permission to request their medical data.
- may ask UWV for an expert opinion if they disagree with the opinion of the company doctor.
When your employee remains incapacitated for work
You can dismiss your long-term employee after 2 years with the permission of UWV. You then pay transition payment to your employee. You may be able to apply for compensation (in Dutch) from the UWV for transition payment.
If, despite all reintegration efforts, your employee turns out to be incapacitated for work for 35% or more after 2 years, they can apply for a benefit under the Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA, Wet werk en inkomen naar arbeidsvermogen). There are 2 WIA benefits: the WGA benefit and the IVA benefit. With a WGA benefit you always have to pay. How much depends on the number of employees from your company that are included in the WGA. You do not contribute with an IVA benefit.