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Sick Leave Entitlements in Netherlands: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Any employees you may have abroad are entitled to the benefit entitlements of their host country, such as annual leave, sick leave and healthcare.  In a country like Netherlands these benefits may be much greater than in your home country, so it is important to learn the local rules to stay in compliance.

How will a company that is just entering Netherlands offer the correct sick leave entitlements?  What type of support will you need in country if an employee becomes seriously ill?

This guide will give you an outline of the entitlements, and how to manage any long term illnesses for your employees in Netherlands.

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Annual Sick Leave Entitlements in the Netherlands

The minimum sick leave entitlement in Netherlands is a payment of 70% of their most recent wage level, up to a maximum period of two years.  This is a generous benefit and does reflect the Netherlands social policy. Some employers will even pay 100% of the wages.

Leave in the Event of Serious Illness in the Netherlands

While the sick leave benefit may seem reasonable for short illnesses, there is always the possibility of a serious long term illness.  Because it is prohibited in Netherlands to terminate an employee who is ill, it becomes important to assist the employee with their health and recovery, and when possible, have them return to work.

Client Case Example: Sickness Policy Requirements in the Netherlands

One of our clients has an employee in Netherlands who became ill shortly after starting employment.  Although the employee was still on their probationary period, our client wanted to provide sick leave benefits anyway to support the employee, and eventually bring them back to work.

Reintegration Plan

We advised them of the steps they could take to implement a reintegration plan to help get the employee back to work, using a ‘minimal involvement’ approach:

  1. Engage a ‘arbodienst’ for the Problem Analysis, which is an occupational safety and health service to assess the employee’s status.  This is to be done by a labor doctor.
  2. The labor doctor consults with the employee and the local employer of record, and provides a report that describes the possible reintegration plan and recovery expectation (without medical details).
  3. A Plan of Action is created by either the labor doctor or employer to describe the process to bring the employee back to work, including timelines, check points and increased hours of work each week.
  4. The employee must also cooperate with the employer, doctor and client to comply with the plan and reintegrate, or they will risk losing the sick leave benefit.
  5. Social security will need to stay informed on the progress in the event that a disability claim is needed.

Do you need more information about the Netherlands?

The involvement of third parties to assess sick leave for ill employees may be new to you, and there may be additional questions such as:

Is the labor doctor a government provided benefit, or paid for by the company?

For a long term illness, at what point can you find a replacement for the employee without it looking like a termination?

How to ensure that the employee will follow the Plan, and attempt to return to work?

Our local employer of record can answer many of these questions, and offer full support in the areas of labor law, employee benefits and running a compliant payroll abroad.  We make international employment simple.

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Looking to hire an employee in Netherlands? Get in touch.


The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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