Employee insurance the Netherlands The Hague region

Employee insurance

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What is an employee insurance?

Employee insurance (werknemersverzekeringen) is required for those that work in the Netherlands and provides employment-related benefits. These cover 3 areas: unemployment benefits (WW), sick leave (Ziektewet) and disability benefits (WIA).

Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)

The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) is the organisation that implements these employee insurances and provides labour market and data services. All matters related to unemployment, welfare and extended sick leave will be handled through UWV. They will be of assistance in case your job position is jeopardized. Keep in mind that if you no longer have a job, you will probably also lose your sponsor for your residence permit.

Employee insurance for freelancers or Zzp'ers

Self-employed individuals, known as freelancers or Zzp’ers (self-employed without staff), do not get to profit from the benefits of social security in general. However, they can enrol with an insurance company to receive benefits from a social security fund to cover sickness, unemployment or disability.

Unemployment benefits (WW)

When you become fully or partly unemployed in the Netherlands, you may be entitled to receive the unemployment benefit (WW). Your benefits will be calculated based on 2 measurements:

  • Week requirement. You are only eligible to WW benefit if you have worked at least 26 out of the 36 last weeks. In this case you will receive 3 months of unemployment benefits.
  • Year requirement. In at least four out of the five calendar years before unemployment, you have received at least 52 days of salary and worked at least 208 hours. In this case, the duration of the benefit depends on the unemployment history. The benefit will be payable for as many months as the number of years the person was employed. The maximum duration of unemployment benefits is 3 years.

For the first 2 months of being unemployed, initial unemployment benefits are paid out at 75% of the average wage you have earned over the last 12 months (the current month not included). After 2 months, you will get 70% or your average wage, depending on your circumstances.

Sick leave (Ziektewet)

There is a difference between sick days and sick leave. Depending on what is in your contract, or what your union has negotiated, many jobs will not hold your pay when you call in sick for a couple of days. There is no maximum of allowed sick days. If you take sick days more than 2 or 3 times a year, you can expect a meeting with HR to evaluate what is causing you to get sick frequently.

If you become sick for a longer period of time, for example because of a burnout or physical damage, your employer will have to pay up to 70% of your salary for a maximum of 2 years. Sick leave benefits are calculated on your Dutch social security income.

Disability benefits (WIA)

When you have been sick for over 2 years and remain at least 35% disabled, you may apply for social security disability insurance (WIA). There are several conditions you must meet and at all times it is encouraged to work as much as you possible can.