The WIA benefit for your employee

Published by:
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW
Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV
Employee Insurance Agency, UWV
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS

Is your employee not able to work after 2 years of illness? Or can they only work for a part of the time? And have you done enough to reintegrate them? Then your employee will receive a WIA benefit from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). From that moment on, you no longer have to pay (full) wages. Also read about transition payment and other relevant rules.

What is a WIA benefit?

WIA is a Dutch abbreviation for the Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act. It is an income for your employee in case of (partial) incapacity for work. Your employee gets a WIA benefit if they are at least 35% incapacitated for work after 2 years.

When is someone eligible for a WIA benefit?

Your employee is eligible for a WIA benefit in 2 situations:

  • your employee cannot work or must work less due to health reasons
  • your employee can no longer earn the previous salary due to health reasons

Types of WIA benefit

There are 2 types of WIA benefit provided by UWV.

  • IVA is the Dutch abbreviation for the Fully Disabled Persons Scheme. An IVA benefit is for when your employee is unable or almost unable to work. Your employee is at least 80% incapacitated for work. Or they can earn 20% or less of their previous wage. And there is little or no chance of this changing.
  • WGA is the Dutch abbreviation for the Return to Work (Partially Disabled Persons) Scheme. A WGA benefit is for when your employee can still (partly) work, either now or in the future. Your employee must then reintegrate into the workplace. Your employee is at least 35% incapacitated for work.

UWV decides which benefit your employee will receive.


You can also choose to become a self-insurer for the WGA. You will then pay less in contributions to UWV. And your business becomes responsible for helping your employee get back to work. For example, you are responsible for the reintegration of your employee for 10 years. That is from the moment your employee receives the WIA benefit. If your business goes bankrupt, your insurer or UWV will take over the reintegration process.

When does your employee apply for a WIA benefit?

Does your employee remain ill for a long time? And is it impossible for them to return to work? Then your employee must apply for a WIA benefit no later than in the 93rd week (after 1 year and 9 months of illness). After 1.5 years, you and your employee will receive a letter from UWV to apply for the WIA benefit (in Dutch).

No WIA benefit after 2 years

If your employee is less than 35% incapacitated for work, they can earn at least 65% of their old salary. Your employee will not receive a WIA benefit in this case. An additional unemployment benefit or social assistance benefit is sometimes possible. Your employee will remain in employment and you will look together at how your employee can continue to work. Can your employee no longer do their old job? Then you must offer the employee suitable work.

Avoid a fine from UWV

If your employee applies for a WIA benefit, UWV will assess if you and your employee have done enough during the first 2 years of illness to get them back to work. You must put all agreements and efforts regarding their reintegration on paper. There are 2 options for the assessment:

1. UWV decides that you have done enough

Then you may stop paying wages after 2 years. If your employee applied for the WIA benefit too late, you must continue to pay the wages for longer. UWV will then send you a letter about this.

2. UWV decides that you have not done enough

Then UWV can impose a fine (wage sanction) on you. You must then continue to pay wages for a maximum of 1 year. You may not dismiss your employee during this period.

Check if you need permission for dismissal

You may dismiss your employee after 2 years of illness. You can terminate the employment in consultation if you both agree with the dismissal. This is called dismissal by mutual consent. In that case, you do not need permission from UWV (in Dutch). Make sure you put the agreement of the dismissal in writing. If your employee does not agree with the dismissal, you must request permission from UWV (in Dutch).

Due to the dismissal, you must pay a transition payment to your employee. You may be able to apply for compensation from UWV (in Dutch) for the transition payment.

Benefits and schemes if your employee remains employed

Does your employee receive a WIA benefit, but will they remain employed? Then you may be entitled to subsidies or allowances (in Dutch). For example, for adjustments to their workplace. You can also get part of their wage costs reimbursed if they fall ill again.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, SZW