Sickness means, as a result of a physical or mental condition, as defined in Article 7:629 of the Dutch Civil Code (BW), the employee is not able to perform or fully perform the work agreed to during the term of employment.
Reintegration [reintegratie] means working towards full recovery (if possible) and this is the main objective during the Sick Leave.
Employer and Employee
Employers, employees and the government have a strong common interest in good working conditions. The Working Conditions Act requires every employer to conduct a health and safety policy aimed to provide optimal working conditions for employees.
The employee and the employer are jointly responsible for the recovery of the employee. The aim is to reintegrate the employee back to work as soon as possible. They work together on the coaching and activities aimed at this, such as training, education, partial resumption of work and work adaptation. The employee will adopt an active approach during this process.
The law sets all sorts of obligations for both the employee and the employer to facilitate as much as possible the speedy recovery of the employee.
Occupational Health & Safety Service Provider
Occupational Health and Safety Service (OHSS) [Arbodienst] is an independent service organisation which offers services on Working Conditions, Risk Inventory & Evaluation (RI&E) and sickness absence. By law, the Sick Leave process has to be outsourced and executed by the OHSS.
A company doctor gives advice in the area of employment and health and is usually working at the Occupational Health & Safety Service provider. The Company Doctor supports during the reintegration phase, to make sure the employee will return to work as quickly and responsibly as possible. The Company Doctor will provide advice to the employer and Case Manager about the next steps.
The Case Manager is responsible to coordinate and manage the full end-to-end Absenteeism process. By law, the employer has to appoint a Case Manager to make sure the execution of the process will be followed according accurately. The main contacts of the Case Manager are with employee and employer/manager, Occupational Health & Safety Service Provider and UWV.
UWV Employee Insurance Agency is an autonomous administrative authority and is commissioned by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The Dutch employee insurances are provided via laws such as the WW (Unemployment Insurance Act), the WIA (Work and Income according to Labour Capacity Act, WGA (Return to Work (Partially Disabled) Regulations), the WAZO (Work and Care Act) and the Sickness Benefits Act.
The Sick Leave has to be reported to the UWV and forms need to be filled in during the process to comply with the required steps of the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.
In general, under Dutch employment law, there is a prohibition against termination of employment during an employee’s sickness [opzegverbod tijdens ziekte]. This is a very strict rule in the Netherlands for the reason of protecting the employee. The exception to this rule is when the employee refuses to comply with the legal obligations in case of illness without good reasons (only in exceptional situations).
After two years of illness, the employer is in principle allowed to terminate the employment contract of the employee.
The employer is obliged by law to continue payment during the first year and second year of the Sick Leave. The employer will have to continue paying in total for 104 weeks. The payment should be by law, at least 70% of the employees’ wages during 104 weeks of sickness / disability. Market practice is most of the companies will pay 100% salary during the first year of illness. For the second year of illness the % (percentage) varies per company and per industry.
Get a tailored Sick Leave Policy for your company
Each company is obliged by law to have a Sickness Leave Policy. This policy will outline the expectations and mandatory steps of employer and employee during sickness, in accordance with the Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act.
Make sure your company is compliant by law and request the Sick Leave Policy.
We will draft the documentation as it will consist of:
- 17 pages incl. policy, process and instructions in English (or Dutch);
- Explanatory of parties involved in the process;
- Reporting Sick Leave, return and partly return from Sick Leave;
- Sick pay policy and payroll process;
- Mandatory steps for employer and employee;
- Glossary of Terms.