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Sickness benefits

Who pays my salary when I am sick?

Who pays your salary when you are sick depends on your contract. Are you in permanent employment? If so, your employer must continue paying your salary. Don’t have an employer? In this case, you may be able to get sickness benefits from the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen (UWV)). How much will you receive? How long will you receive the benefits for? And what do you have to do for them?

When will I be covered by the Sickness Benefits Act?

You will be covered by the Sickness Benefits Act if you do not have an employer who can continue paying your wages. You are eligible for sickness benefits from the UWV in the following cases.

  • You are a temporary worker.
  • Your employment contract came to an end when you were ill. This can be a permanent or temporary contract, or a contractor agreement.
  • You became ill within four weeks of your employment contract coming to an end.
  • You receive unemployment benefits. You will usually receive sickness benefits after 13 weeks of illness.

How long will I receive benefits for?

You are entitled to a maximum of two years (104 weeks) of sickness benefits. The benefits stop when:

  • You are better and back to work within two years.
  • The UWV believes that you can earn 65% of what you were paid before. The UWV assesses this at the end of your first year of illness.

How much are sickness benefits?

Sickness benefits amount to 70% of your daily wage. Your daily wage is what you earned on average per day in the year before you became ill.

When does my employer have to continue paying my wages?

If you are employed by an employer and become ill, your employer will continue paying your wages. There are a few exceptions:

  • You are ill due to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • You are covered by a no-risk policy. This is a policy that encourages employers to hire people with an illness or disability.
  • You are an organ donor.

In these cases, you are entitled to sickness benefits equal to the salary you had previously been earning.

Who do I get sickness benefits from?

Sickness benefits are paid out by the UWV. You will be notified within four weeks whether you are eligible for sickness benefits and if so, how much you will receive.

When will I receive the benefits?

You will receive your first benefits payment within four weeks of reporting illness. The UWV will also help you return to work (reintegration).

Have you been working as a contractor or temporary worker and became ill? If so, your entitlement to salary depends on the type of contract you have.

Contractor agreement with preliminary agreement

Do you have a contractor agreement with a preliminary agreement? If so, you have an agreement with your employer that you will only start working when called upon. You are free to accept the work.

70% of your pay

Did you become ill when you were scheduled to work? In that case, your employer must pay at least 70% of the salary for the agreed period. This can be up to 100%, depending on the agreements in your CAO (collective labour agreement). Have you recently been earning less than 70% of the minimum wage? In this case, you are entitled to the minimum wage.

No longer entitled to your salary

Once the agreed period has ended, your temporary employment contract will also end. You are no longer entitled to your salary.

Sickness benefits

Did you fall ill within four weeks of your last call-up period? In this case, you are entitled to sickness benefits from the UWV.

Zero-hours contract

With a zero-hours contract you are obliged to start working if your employer calls upon you. Did you become ill when you were scheduled to work? If so, you are entitled to 70% of the wage for the agreed-upon, rostered period. Depending on the agreements in your CAO, this might be up to 100%.

Not entitled to your salary

Are you still sick following the period when you were scheduled to work? In this case, you have no right to be paid. Your employer is only obliged to continue paying your salary for the period for which you are scheduled to work.

No sickness benefits

You are also not entitled to sickness benefits from the UWV as long as the employment contract is in force. You may only be entitled to sickness benefits when the employment contract has ended.

Pay entitlement

Sometimes you are entitled to continued payment of wages after the agreed-upon, rostered period. That is the case when you have been called upon and worked very regularly for three months in a row. You almost always work the same number of hours. In this case, you are entitled to an employment contract with a fixed number of hours, which consists of the average number of hours worked.

Temporary employment contract

An agency clause is included in most agency work contracts. This means that your employment ends as soon as you report sick to the employment agency. In that case, you can only claim sickness benefit from the UWV. The amount of the sickness benefits is 70% of your benefit daily wage. The benefit daily wage is your average wage for the period before your illness. This amount is determined by the UWV.

NB: The ABU and NBBU CAOs (Federation of Private Employment Agencies collective labour agreements) stipulate that as a sick temporary worker you are still entitled to a supplement of up to 91% of your wages in the first year. In the second year you will receive a supplement of up to 80%.

Pay entitlement

The longer you work for the temporary employment agency, the more rights you will receive as a temporary worker. One of those rights is continued payment of wages in the event of illness.

Do you have a permanent contract? In this case, your employer must continue to pay at least 70% of your salary when you are ill. Does 70% of your salary equal less than minimum wage? If this is the case, your boss must pay at least the minimum wage during your first year of illness.

Sometimes you might get more than 70%

Many CAOs stipulate that your employer must continue to pay your full salary if you are off sick, or in any case your entire salary in the first year of illness and 70% in your second year of illness. There may also be agreements for this in your contract. Check this if you are ill.

NB: You may never receive less salary during your illness than provided for in the CAO.

Sometimes you might not get your sick pay right away

In some CAOs it has been agreed that your employer can withhold 2 days' wages or 2 days of leave in the event of illness. These are also known as waiting days. If this the case, you will only be paid after these waiting days. We recommend you check this in your CAO. Don’t have a CAO? Then this arrangement must be included in your contract. Otherwise, your employer must pay you for all your days of illness.

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