What happens when you are sick?

Ziektewet in the Netherlands

Nobody likes to be sick, not only because of a runny nose or a headache, but also because it’s a hassle. First, you call your account manager, and you already know he or she will not be happy about it. Second, you need to stay in touch and report on you state of health regularly and in detail. And finally, because, as a temporary worker, you have to jump through some hoops in order to receive your sickness allowance from UWV.  But being sick is human and it happens to everybody once in a while. So it’s important to know what to do to make sure sickness allowance is coming your way.

In this article we explain:

  • why temporary workers receive their sickness allowance from UWV, and not directly from the job agency
  • how the procedure works
  • what are your obligations and responsibilities in the process

What is ziektwet and who receives it?

Ziektewet uitkering is a special form of benefits paid out by UWV to workers in the Netherlands without permanent employment. Temporary workers, in Dutch uitzendkrachten, fall within this category. So if you work for a job agency and you get sick you will probably have to deal with the procedure of receiving ziektegeld from UWV.

Why won’t my employer pay me?

It all depends your employment contract. Your employer, even if it is an uitzendbureau, is obliged to pay you sickness allowance till the end of your contract. However, you will not receive 100% of your regular salary. For example, at Direct People and Progress sickness allowance is 91% of your regular earnings.

So, if you have a permanent contract, you will never get UWV ziektewet. Your employer will pay out the sickness allowance until you get better. In case of Fase B contract your employer will pay you sickness allowance until the end of your contract. Only after the end of your contract will register you with UWV.

Consequently, temporary employees on Fase A contracts, are the ones who most often take advantage of UWV ziektewet. However, to make things even more complicated, there are two types of Fase A contracts: ‘met uitzendbeding’ (with temporary employment clause) and ‘zonder uitzendbeding’ (without temporary employment clause). This small difference has direct influence on how and when you will have right to sickness allowance from UWV.

 

  • Fase A contract met uitzendbeding means the the moment you are not capable to work you immediately become unemployed and your employer, the job agency, immediately registers you with UWV
  • Fase A contract zonder uitzendbeding means that even if you get sick you stay employed with the job agency until the end of your contract.

How does it work at Direct People and Progress?

At Direct People and Progress we give our employees 2-week Fase A contracts zonder uitzendbeding with automatic extension. This simply means that your contract renews itself automatically every 2 weeks.

But when you get sick and stay sick till the end of this 2-week period your contract won’t be renewed. Consequently, the job agency will pay your sickness allowance till the end of the 2-week period and then will register you with UWV.

 

Still unclear? Here is an example:

 

You sign your 2-week Fase A contract zonder uitzendbeding with automatic extension on March 4. Consequently, your contract both ends and renews on March 18, April 1, April 15, April 29, May 13, and so on, for a maximum of 78 weeks.

 

On May 7 you get sick. This means that the job agency will pay out your sickness allowance till May 13. If by that date you get better and return to work, your contract will be automatically renewed. However, if on May 13 you are still sick, the contract will end and job agency will register your with UWV for ziektewet.

 

How to make sure you get sickness allowance from UWV

It is the responsibility of the job agency to register you with UWV for sickness allowance. It is done by a standard form where we provide UWV with your contact details. Once UWV receives the registration from us they send the confirmation to you.

However that is not the end of it. Soon after you should expect a phone call from an UWV employee. The UWV employee will ask you about the expected date of your return to work or, if your sickness is long term, will make an appointment for you with a doctor or reintegration guide. Only after the phone call, and the appointment, UWV decides whether you should receive sickness allowance. The process usually takes no longer than 4 weeks. Afterwards you receive your sickness allowance every week. Again, it is not your full salary, but most often 70% of your regular earnings.

 

It is of utmost importance that you do not ignore messages from UWV. Pick up the phone, read their messages. Sometimes UVW misses some of your data, like for example your bank account number. Sometimes they may need your confirmation on something. Sometimes they need to talk to you to evaluate your right to sickness allowance.

The responsibility to provide UWV with necessary information is on you, and if you fail you may never get the sickness allowance.

 

If you cannot understand letters from UWV, because they are in Dutch, you can always use Google Translate to help you get an idea what it is about. It won’t be perfect, but it is better than nothing. If you don’t know how to use Google Translate for documents, check our other article 6 Apps to make your life easier in NL