Long-term illness? These are your rights and obligations
January 16 2020
If you are ill, you have to reintegrate: a shared responsibility of you, your employer and the health and safety service or doctor. Together you will see how and when you can return to work. All parties have obligations during the first two years of your illness and reintegration program - the period in which your employer must continue to pay your wages. The steps and obligations are laid down in the Gatekeeper Improvement Act.
The first year of illness (weeks 1 to 52)
- Within one week of reporting sick, your employer must notify the occupational health and safety service or company doctor that you are sick.
- If you have been ill for six weeks, the health and safety service or company doctor must make a problem analysis. It explains why you can no longer work, what your recovery options are and when you think you will be able to work again.
- Within eight weeks after you report sick or no later than two weeks after the problem analysis, you will draw up a plan of action (PvA) together with your employer. It will tell you what you are going to do to get you back to work.
- Is there imminent long-term absenteeism? Then your employer must keep a reintegration file. It states the course of the illness and all activities that you and your employer have undertaken to enable a return to work. The PoA is also part of this file.
- You discuss progress with your employer every six weeks.
- You and your employer choose a case manager together, who supervises and monitors the implementation of the PoA.
- In week 42, your employer reports you sick to the UWV.
- The first-year evaluation takes place between weeks 46 and 52. You and your employer evaluate the past year. Together you determine the reintegration goal for the second year and how you achieve it.
The second year of illness (weeks 53 to 104)
- Are you still not fully at work after 80 weeks? Then your employer will draw up a reintegration report in consultation with you. This contains all agreements and concrete results of the planned resumption of work.
- Have the efforts not resulted in you being able to work again? Then you will receive an application form for a WIA (disability benefit) from the UWV in week 87. You must return this form to the UWV within three weeks. The UWV then assesses the reintegration report and carries out a WIA inspection.
What if you do not cooperate enough with your reintegration?
If your employer thinks you are not cooperating sufficiently, he can suspend or stop your wages. A wage suspension can serve as a means of pressure when you do not comply with the inspection regulations, for example by not showing up for the company doctor's consultation or being unreachable for your employer. As soon as you comply with the inspection regulations again, you will still receive the suspended wage.
This is different with a pay freeze. Your employer can, for example, impose this as a sanction if you seriously hinder or delay your recovery, or if you refuse to perform suitable work without good reason. Will you fully cooperate with your reintegration after the pay freeze? Then you will not get the stopped wage back. Doesn't a pay freeze also ensure that you fully cooperate with your reintegration? Then that could be a reason for dismissal.
What if your employer does not cooperate enough with your reintegration?
Your employer must also fulfill his obligations in your reintegration process. When assessing the WIA application, the UWV is the first to check whether your employer has done enough. If not, the UWV can impose a wage penalty on him: your employer must then continue to pay you wages for a maximum of one year.
Would you like more information about long-term illness, reintegration, and your rights and obligations? Don't hesitate to contact us. We are available every working day from 8.00 a.m. to 18.00 p.m., on 0345 851 963 and firstname.lastname@example.org.