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Netherlands – New law to ‘encourage’ staffing agencies to get sick temporaries back to work

03 October 2012

The Dutch Senate has approved a bill to “modernise” sick leave for workers on temporary contract to get them back to work faster, the Government reported on Tuesday.

The Government said that there was an “unbalanced” proportion of temporary workers on sick leave in the country, something it is keen on changing. It said that employers, including staffing firms, should intensify their efforts to reintegrate those workers back into the labour market.

A spokesperson for the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment confirmed to Staffing Industry Analysts that the change in the law aims to overhaul the system. The new law will work as a kind of benefit scheme with employers expected to pay premiums to workers who are off sick.

“Employers will get penalised if they are not getting employees back into work and must pay more money in terms of taxes. This aims to stimulate employers to take more responsibility,” the spokesperson said to Staffing Industry Analysts.

Under the new law, temporary workers have a right to sick pay for two years, which currently consists of 70% of their latest salary, but will now be reduced after three months. For temporary workers, sickness benefits are dependent on the number of years they have worked. Their sick pay could drop to the lowest level, the national minimum wage, the spokesperson said. 

The law will come into force in January 2014.

The UWV, an autonomous administrative authority to implement employee insurances and provide labour market and data services, will also be part of this scheme.

Employer organisations have condemned the bill, saying it will lead to increased costs. 

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