Unemployment in the Netherlands

I receive unemployment benefits from my own country. How do I maintain this once I move to the Netherlands?

What are the requirements to be eligible for unemployment benefits?

What is the procedure for claiming unemployment benefits?

What type of benefit is available if I don’t have any revenue/income?

What kind of benefit is available if I become ill?

Employers must pay at least 70% of the salaries of sick employees for the first two years. In the first year, sometimes 100% of the salary is paid. The first two days of sick leave may be at the expense of the employee, but this needs to be set out in the employee’s contract or in the collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst – COA (collective labour agreement).

The Ziektewet- ZW (Sickness Benefit Act) serves only as a ‘safety net’ for employees who do not have an employment anymore and in some special situations such as:

  • Employees who have lost their job in the first or second year of their sickness
  • Temporary workers on sick leave who do not have a permanent contract with their employment agency
  • Home workers
  • Student trainees
  • Unemployed persons who receive a benefit from the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV)
  • Sickness prior to or following the 16 weeks of maternity benefit (female employees are entitled to benefits for pregnancy and delivery under the Wet arbeid en zorg (Work and Care Act) amounting to 100% of the daily wage for a period of at least 16 weeks)
  • Bankruptcy of the employer responsible for continuing to pay the salary
  • In the event of sickness in the first five years of having taken on a person who is partly incapacitated for work
  • Sickness due to organ donation

After 104 weeks of sickness (two years), a review takes place to determine whether the employee qualifies for the benefit under the Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen – WIA (Work and Income according to the labour capacity act). See more information on this section.

If you become ill in the Netherlands and want to recuperate in your own country, you need permission from your employer’s health and safety service (ARBO service) or from UWV. A doctor checks if this will not delay your recovery.

Applications for benefit under the sickness benefit act have to be submitted to the UWV. You can contact them on 0900 9294, or visit their website (in Dutch only) at: www.uwv.nl.

What kind of benefit is available if I remain ill for a long time?