Unemployment in the Netherlands
I receive unemployment benefits from my own country. How do I maintain this once I move to the Netherlands?
In general, to receive unemployment benefits you need to stay in the country which pays them. Under certain conditions you can transfer your benefit(s) to another EU country, that is continue to receive your unemployment benefits from the country where you became unemployed. You can find more information at:
In brief, the rules require that you have a U2 form before you leave your country of origin, register as a jobseeker in your new country of residence, fill in your U2 form and submit it to the national unemployment agency in your new country. See below what you may bear in mind:
Staying abroad for three months
You can carry on receiving your unemployment benefit for at least three months from the EU country where you were last working – and up to a maximum of six months, depending on the institution paying your benefit.
Staying abroad longer than three months
If you want to stay abroad for longer than 3 months, you will need to apply for an extension from the national employment service in the country where you became unemployed: they may extend the 3-month period up to 6 months.
Apply for the extension as early as possible. You must apply before the end of the initial 3-month period. For full information please see :
Before leaving, you must:
- have been registered as an unemployed jobseeker with the employment services in the country where you became unemployed for at least four weeks (exceptions can be made)
- apply to your national employment services for a U2 form (formerly E 303). This is an authorisation to continue receiving unemployment benefits while looking for a job in another country:
On arrival in the new country, you will need to:
- register as a jobseeker with the national employment services within seven days from the date on which you ceased to be available to the employment services in the country you left. In the Netherlands, you will have to contact the UWV Werkbedrijf (Public Employment Service). More information at: https://www.werk.nl/werkzoekenden/eu/working-netherlands/uwv/index.aspx
- submit your U2 form when you register
- agree to any checks made on unemployment benefit claimants in your new country, as if you were receiving unemployment benefits there
I receive unemployment benefits in the Netherlands. How do I maintain this once I move abroad?
Applications for benefits under the Werkloosheidswet – WW (Unemployment Insurance Act) have to be submitted to the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV). If you move to another EU country or a country that belongs to the EEA in order to find a job there, you can take your WW-uitkering (Dutch unemployment benefit) with you for a maximum of three months. For more detailed information please have a look at https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/unemployment-and-benefits/transferring-unemployment-benefits/index_en.htm. Before you leave, you need to arrange this with Public Employment Service (UWV Werkbedrijf). Please bear in mind that the employee who becomes unemployed after resigning from a job is not entitled to receive this benefit.
More information at the UWV website (in Dutch only): www.uwv.nl/particulieren/werkloos/index.
Find the contact of the administration that you may have to get in touch on the country that you are moving to at: europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/national-contact-points.
I am currently unemployed. Am I entitled to an unemployment benefits?
If you become unemployed due to no fault of your own, for example as a result of the termination of a contract for temporary employment or if you are made redundant, you are entitled to a WW-uitkering or werkloosheidsuitkering (unemployment benefit). These benefits are intended to be a temporary form of subsistence income whilst you search for new employment.
Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV) determines whether you are entitled to a benefit, the amount you will be paid and how long the payments will continue. The amount and duration of your benefit will be determined on the basis of your previous salary, your age at the time you became unemployed and your work history. When determining if you are eligible for a benefit, UWV will, amongst other things, check if you have become unemployed through your own fault.
Information on receiving unemployment benefits can be found by visiting the UWV website (in Dutch only):
What are the requirements to be eligible for unemployment benefits?
The WW (unemployment insurance act) insures employees and civil servants in the Netherlands who become unemployed. If you are eligible for the WW-uitkering (unemployment benefit), you will receive 75% of the wage most recently earned (up to a maximum) in the first two months, thereafter 70%. To be eligible for the unemployment benefit, you must be available for work and satisfy the following criteria:
- You are insured for unemployment. This is usually the case if you were an employee within a company or organisation operating in the Netherlands
- You are below the retirement age of 65 and above the age of 26
- Your working hours have been reduced by your employer by at least five working hours per week and you are no longer entitled to be paid for these lost working hours
- You are immediately available for paid work
- Before becoming unemployed, you have worked for at least 26 weeks during the past 36 weeks (if you are a citizen of a European Union state or European Economic Area country and you have worked for less than 26 weeks in the Netherlands, the UWV will take into account the time you have worked in your previous resident country over the applicable 36-week period)
- You are not receiving a sickness, incapacity (IVA) or disability (WAO) benefit that precludes you from working
For occupational groups such as artists, musicians and film employees, a lower requirement of employed weeks applies. The length of your entitlement to this benefit depends on your employment history.
What is the procedure for claiming unemployment benefits?
Applications for a WW-uitkering (unemployment benefits) are processed by the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV).
The application for a WW-uitkering (unemployment benefits) is a three-stage process as follows:
You can apply for your unemployment benefit from 1 week before your last working day and up to 1 week after your last working day. Applying later than this can have an impact that your benefit will be lower. You can apply via the internet at werk.nl/werkzoekenden/uitkering-aanvragen/ww/ (in Dutch only).
You will need a DigiD (digital identification code). If you are not registered with DigiD, you can find out how to get one here. Please note that the application for your DigiD can take up to five days to process.
Once UWV has received your unemployment benefits application, you will receive an email from them as confirmation of receipt. You will then receive an email with information about what to do to quickly find a new job and how to use your personal UWV environment (Mijn UWV) and the Werkmap. Werkmap is the environment where you can place a CV, look for jobs, and track your job search activity.
You can track the status of your application for unemployment benefits on Mijn UWV if you are logged in with your DigiD (mijn.uwv.nl/iam/inloggen/).
UWV will contact you if they need extra information from you in order to assess your request.
UWV will get back to you with a decision letter within 4 weeks after you’ve submitted your application. The letter will contain information on whether you will receive an unemployment benefit, how high this benefit will be, and how long the benefit will last.
When you receive unemployment benefits, UWV will be monitoring that you are actively seeking a job. One of your obligations as a job seeker with unemployment benefits is to submit your job search activities to UWV via your Werkmap on werk.nl. Make sure to apply for a job at least 4 times per 4 weeks.
What is the transitievergoeding (transition compensation)? And do I qualify for it?
As of 1 July 2015, the transitievergoeding (transition compensation) was introduced. This compensation replaces the severance payment in cases of termination of an employment contract by the employer either via a court or the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV).
You are entitled to a transition allowance if you are dismissed or if the temporary contract is not renewed on your employer’s initiative. This right also exists if you resign yourself due to serious culpable acts or omissions on the part of your employer.
From 1 January 2020, you are entitled to a transition payment upon dismissal from the first day of your employment contract. The transition compensation is calculated as follows:
From your first working day, you will receive 1/3 monthly salary per entire year of service.
The transition payment for the remaining part of the employment contract is calculated according to the formula: (gross salary received on the remaining part of the employment contract / gross monthly salary) x (1/3 gross monthly salary / 12). This formula is also used to calculate the transition allowance if the employment contract has lasted less than a year.
Example: An employee is dismissed during his probationary period. The employment contract lasted a total of 5 days. The gross salary over these 5 days is € 800. This is considered as the monthly wages.
The calculation is then as follows: (€ 800 / € 800) x (1/3 x € 800) / 12) = 1 x (€ 266.67 / 12) = € 22.22. The employee will, therefore, receive € 22.22 transition compensation for the 5 days that he was employed.
If the dismissal took place after 1 January 2020, you can make use of the Transition Allowance Calculation Tool (in Dutch only) on rekenhulptransitievergoeding.nl/.
There are some exceptional cases in which the transition compensation does not apply, as follows:
- you are less than 18 years of age on dismissal and you have not worked more than 12 hours per week during your employment,
- your temporary contract is expiring, and you and your employer agree in advance that your contract will be continued within a maximum of six months and that the new contract can be terminated prematurely,
- your employer is bankrupt, has a moratorium, or is involved in a debt rescheduling scheme for natural persons,
- you have reached the age of retirement,
- you have been dismissed due to a serious culpable act such as theft or fraud,
- your collective labour agreement (collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst – CAO) contains an equivalent provision for a transition payment.
For further information, please visit the government’s website (in Dutch only):
What type of benefit is available if I don’t have any revenue/income?
The Wet Werk en Bijstand – WWB (Work and Social Assistance Act) grants a minimum income to anyone legally residing in the Netherlands who has insufficient means to support themselves. Social assistance is provided to a household and not to an individual. Therefore, if someone within the household has an adequate income, the household is not eligible for assistance. This means that someone without income living with a partner or parents with adequate income is not entitled to a grant. Social assistance is exclusively reserved for those in financial difficulty (due to no household income) to prevent hardship or poverty. Applications for social assistance should be submitted to your municipality. Depending on your country of origin and the time you have been in the Netherlands, applying for WWB might result that the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND) withdraws your residence permit.
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?
The period of sick leave during which the statutory wage will continue to be paid is two years. During this period, both the employer and the disabled worker must do all they can to improve the worker’s chances of returning to work and to make use of all opportunities to reintegrate the worker into the employment process. After two years, there is a review for Wet Werk en Inkomen naar Arbeidsvermogen – WIA (Work and Income according to the labour capacity act) qualification.
Under this Act, a fundamental distinction is made between employees who are both fully and permanently disabled after two years and those who are temporarily disabled.
An employee who is both fully and permanently incapacitated is no longer able to earn their own living; due to sickness, their work capacity has diminished to less than 20% income protection under the regulation governing income protection for individuals registered as completely disabled, Regeling inkomensvoorziening volledig arbeidsongeschikten – IVA.
A person can also qualify for IVA before the two years of sick leave have expired if it is clear that the relevant criteria have been met (i.e. the individual is totally and permanently incapacitated). The IVA is 75% of the last full daily wage.
Employees with a partial occupational disability can be divided into employees who after two years of sick leave are less than 35% disabled and employees with a substantial occupational disability, i.e. who are at least 35% incapacitated. Employers are responsible for maximising the employment capacity of employees who are less than 35% occupationally disabled. After two years of sick leave, workers who are partially disabled (at least 35%) may qualify for disability benefits under Regeling werkhervatting gedeeltelijk arbeidsongeschikten – WGA (the regulation governing the re-employment of partially disabled workers). The benefit depends on how much you are disabled and – if you still have a job – your wages.
Applications for the WIA have to be submitted to the Government’s Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen – UWV) at: www.uwv.nl/particulieren.