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Sickness Benefits Act

When you fall ill and are no longer employed, you can claim sickness benefit. The Sickness Benefits Act provides for this. You need to apply for sickness benefit at the Social Security Agency (UVW). The UWV is also responsible for absence counselling and reintegration.

You are insured for the Sickness Benefits Act when you satisfy the following requirements.

You are:

  • in employment (or have been);
  • under 65 years of age;
  • contractor of work, but not working in your own company;
  • a trainee and receiving a reimbursement for your traineeship;
  • working from home, a musician or an artist.

When you are insured, you may claim sickness benefit in the following situations:

  • you are a temporary worker (without a permanent contract with the temping agency);
  • you are an on-call employee (depending on the type of on-call contract);
  • your temporary contract expires during your illness;
  • you are working from home;y
  • you are receiving an allowance according to the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) and fall ill;
  • you become ill as a result of pregnancy or giving birth. When you are in paid employment, you are entitled, during your pregnancy leave, to an allowance according to the Work and Care Act. But if you fall ill as a result of your pregnancy before or after giving birth, you will receive sickness benefit;
  • you donated an organ, and as a result you are temporarily unable to work;
  • you are partially fit for work and become ill within five years of being hired. In that case your employer is not obliged to continue to pay your wages, but you will receive sickness benefit (no-risk policy).

Not for self-employed

Entrepreneurs and directors with majority shareholding can only claim sickness benefit when they are voluntarily insured.

What is the amount of the sickness benefit?

The sickness benefit is at least 70 per cent of your daily wage. This is the average wage you were earning per day in the year before you fell ill. But note: there is a maximum: € 188.88 gross (2011). The benefit is payable for up tot 104 weeks (2 years)

In some cases, the benefit you receive under the Sickness Benefits Act may be more than 70 percent of your daily wage:

  • if you become ill as a result of pregnancy or giving birth before or immediately after pregnancy leave, you will receive the full amount of your daily wage;
  • if you are unable to work due to illness resulting from an organ donation, you will receive the full amount of your daily wage;
  • if you returned to work as an occupationally disabled person and become ill. In this case, the amount you receive will be determined by the provisions of the applicable collective labour agreement (CAO).

Other income

When you receive, during your illness, other earnings besides your sickness benefit you must report this to the Social Security Agency (UWV) before the benefit is paid out. The UWV will take these other earnings into account and will not pay the full sickness benefit. The sickness benefit is then a supplement to the level of your original daily wage. Benefits will not be cut if you were already receiving these earnings before you became ill.

How long will you receive sickness benefit?

Sickness benefit is payable for up to 104 weeks (two years). If in the meantime you get better, but fall ill again within four weeks, your periods of sickness will be tallied up. After two years of illness there will be a review to assess whether you are entitled to an occupational disability allowance as defined in the Work and Income according to Labour Capacity Act (WIA).

The benefit will start from the first day of your illness. If you are working from home or a temporary worker (without a permanent contract with the temping agency) your entitlement to sickness benefit starts on the third day of your illness.

Your benefit will stop:

  • when you get better;
  • when you die;
  • when you become 65;
  • after 104 weeks (two years) of illness.

Sickness benefit during pregnancy

Have you become ill during pregnancy? Then sickness benefit stops six weeks before the date the baby is due to be born and from then on you’ll receive a pregnancy allowance and a maternity allowance for a period of sixteen weeks. If you’re still ill after that period you’ll go back to receiving sickness benefit.

The duration of the benefit varies depending on the situation:

  • If your illness after giving birth is different from the illness during your pregnancy the benefit’s duration could be up to 104 weeks. The period of illness during pregnancy is not deducted.
  • If your illness after giving birth is the same one as during pregnancy the two sickness periods will be tallied up. No new period of 104 weeks will start after giving birth; the old period just continues.


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