Employee insurances

Are you below the retirement age and in paid employment? Or do you receive a social benefit? Then you are entitled to several employee insurances. With these employee insurances you are protected against loss of income when you are confronted with sickness, work disability or unemployment. The premiums are paid by the employer or benefit agency to the Tax Authorities. You will not have to do anything for that. But you might want to know how Dutch employee insurances are arranged. Therefore, we briefly explain below what employee insurances you have in The Netherlands and what benefits you may be entitled to through these insurances.


Employee insurances and social security in The Netherlands

The unemployment law (WW) 


When you are dismissed from your employment, you are usually entitled to an unemployment benefit. The money you receive does not come from the state. You have built up this unemployment premium through your previously earned gross salary. When you are dismissed involuntary, you can claim the reserves you have helped save up for. The longer you have paid these premiums (in other words, the longer this has been deducted from your salary), the longer you are entitled to this benefit. The extent of the unemployment benefit is, therefore, dependent on your labour history and will go on for a maximum of 24 months. The amount of the unemployment benefit is 75% of your previous salary for the first two months and after those two months 70%.


Occupational disability insurance (WAO) and the Law work and income in regard to labour capacity (WIA)


The WAO and WIA are legally obligated social employee insurances, of which the premiums are withheld from your salary or benefit. The employee insurances are paid out if you are entirely or partially incapacitated for work. The WAO only applies for people who are entitled to this prior to 2006. The WIA applies for people that have become incapacitated to work before or on January 1st 2004. When you were incapacitated to work before that date, your benefits remain under the WAO regulation.

You had to be at least 15% incapacitated to be entitled the WAO benefit. For the WIA, however, this is 35%. Another difference between the WAO and the WIA is that the WIA consist of two separate regulations: The IVA and the WGA. When you are entirely incapacitated to work you will fall under the IVA: The Income Support Provision for Totally Disabled Persons Regulation. When you are partially incapacitated to work, the WGA (Resumption of work by those who are partially incapacitated for work scheme) applies to you. You will receive the IVA benefits when you can’t or can hardly work and will most likely remain incapacitated to work in the future. The WGA is for those that can work now or in the future at least in part.

During the first two years of illness, your employer will need to continue paying you. Usually he is insured for this. However, at the end of this period and when you are not (completely) recovered, you will need to apply for a WIA benefit to keep your income. The UWV (Employees Insurance Agency) will inform you with a letter about this and is also the instance that takes care of your possible reintegration. Do you want to know what process you will need to go through to be entitled to a WIA benefit? The UWV published an online step-by-step plan in English.


Sickness Benefits Act (ZW)


When you cannot work and your employer does not continue paying for your wages, you can be entitled to a Sickness Benefit Act benefit. This can be the case when, for example, you are pregnant, you are a temp-worker, or you have a zero-hour contract. Your employer can then request a Sickness Benefit Act benefit at the UWV. When you do not have an employer, for example because you have an unemployment benefit, you can request the benefit yourself. Is the benefit granted, then you usually receive 70% of your regular income. The Sickness Benefit Act will continue for a maximum of two years. When you are not sufficiently recovered by then to go back to work (completely), you can request the WIA (see above).


Work and Care Act (WAZO)


Pregnancy and delivery
When you are pregnant and consequently have a child, you are entitled to the so-called WAZO-benefit. Through this benefit, your employer can get your salary reimbursed by the UWV, 4-6 weeks before your due date (pregnancy leave) and 10 weeks after delivery (maternity leave). You, yourself, will not have to do anything but report the pregnancy in time to your employer, and you will get your salary paid out as usual. When your partner delivers a baby you are also entitled to parental leave for one working week. Within four weeks after the delivery, you can take a week of paid leave. Do you want longer leave? Supplemental partner leave must be requested in writing with your employer. Your employer can then request compensation at the UWV for the supplemental leave.

Adoption- and foster care leave
Your employer can also request a WAZO-benefit when you, as an employee, take adoption or foster care leave. When you adopt a foster child in your family, you are entitled to a maximum of six fully paid weeks of leave.

Shot and long-term care leave
You can also be entitled to a short-term care leave under the Work and Care Act. Your employer can then get compensated for 70% of your salary for a maximum of two weeks. Would you like to take extended filial leave? Check what your Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) says about that.

Parental Leave
When you have a child below the age of eight years, you are entitled to parental leave. You can then take a maximum of six months off. However, your employer does not have to pay your salary, unless your Collective Labour Agreement states otherwise.


No Employee insurance, but still want insurance?


When you do not pay a premium in employee insurances, consequentially you would not be entitled to the benefit of those premiums. This is, for example, the case for independent entrepreneurs. When you are not insured through an employer or an instance paying your benefit for health costs, it is advisable to insure yourself for illness. There are several ways to do this. First you can set money aside for when you lose income due to illness. However, you can also decide to insure yourself voluntarily. You can do this through the Dutch employee insurance agency (UWV), a private insurance company, the sector association or the professional association. The Dutch government provides self-employed entrepreneurs with information on insurance in English.
Instead of regular insurance, you can choose to cover loss of income through illness by participating in a so-called ‘Broodfonds’ (English: “bread fund”). This fund allows independent entrepreneurs to provide each other with temporary sick leave. You can join this group (in Dutch) of entrepreneurs that reserves money that you can claim when you are ill for an extended period of time.


International secondments and employee insurances


Do you temporarily work abroad? Then your employer will have to request an A1-statement with the Social Security Bank to demonstrate in what country your social insurance premiums are paid in. Read more about international secondment and employee insurances on the website of the Dutch Social Security Bank.


Further reading on employee insurances


If you want to know more about employee insurances, you can read on at the Tax Authorities website. Additional information on leave schemes in The Netherlands can be found here. Are you an employer, and would you like to know more about the payment of payroll taxes? Click here for further information or read the manual payroll taxes (in Dutch).