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Netherlands – ABU appeals against Return to Work Scheme

28 June 2013

The Dutch Federation of Private Employment Agencies (ABU) has challenged the Government’s planned implementation of partial disability benefits, claiming that it will have harmful effects on the labour market, particularly the temporary labour market.

The Return to Work Scheme for the Partially Disabled (WGA) is intended for employees who are partially or temporary incapacitated. The scheme is intended to support the employee continuing to work where possible.

ABU has appealed to the government claiming that the WGA scheme could create obstacles for partially or temporarily incapacitated people seeking employment. ABU director Aart van der Gaag said, “I don’t think that this is what the government had in mind when they reached this agreement.” 

The Dutch Employment and Income Act, in accordance with the Capacity to Work Act, guarantees an income replacement benefit to employees under the age of 65, should they become incapacitated. Employers are therefore responsible for the continued payment of all employees up to two years.

The greatest concern for the staffing agencies is, in theory, a partially incapacitated employee could be employed through an agency and, after a short period of time, their condition could worsen. The employment agency would then be responsible for their salary for up to two years.

ABU has warned that the financial obligations on staffing agencies will create barriers for partially or temporarily incapacitated people entering the work force.

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