Sickness Benefits Act

The Sickness Benefits Act is a safety-net for people who do not have an employer (any more) because they are no longer able to carry out their work as a result of illness or an accident. Such as employees whose temporary contract expires during an illness, temps, people with a special form of employment: those who work at home, paid trainees on placement, commission workers and performing artists who work in accordance with the Scheme for Artists (Artiestenregeling). The Health Law is administered by UWV Work and Benefits agency.

Application and duration of paid sick leave

You have to tell your employer about sickness or pregnancy if you are still employed. If not, you must report that to the UWV Work and Benefits agency.

If you are ill and are no longer insured, for instance because you regularly change your job and are occasionally a couple of weeks without work, you can still apply for benefit provided you fall ill within four weeks of the end of the insured period.

Paid sick leave is for a maximum of 104 weeks. If you recover in the meantime but fall ill again within four weeks, the periods of sick leave are added together. The minimal allowance is 70% of your daily wage. The Sickness Benefits Act applies a maximal daily wage. If you are still ill after 104 weeks, your case is considered to see whether you are entitled to benefit on the basis of the Law on Work and Income according to Capacity for Work (WIA).

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During sick leave

You must collaborate on your reintegration, otherwise your sick pay may be stopped. You must ask for permission to go on holiday abroad and you are not allowed to engage in any activity that might obstruct the healing process.

If during your illness you are in receipt of other income besides sick pay, you must report this to the UWV Work and Benefits agency before your sick pay is paid. The UWV Work and Benefits agency takes this income into account and does not give you the full sick pay. In that case the sick pay tops up your original daily wage or pension.


A self-employed person does not pay any contribution to employee insurance schemes and is therefore not entitled to a benefit in the event of illness, for example. As a self-employed person, you are not therefore compulsorily or automatically insured against the loss of income that arises if you become (chronically) ill/unfit for work.

You can insure against the risk via an invalidity insurance policy, but other options and combinations are also possible. Examples include participation in a so-called ‘solidarity fund’, often referred to as a ‘broodfonds’ (bread fund) or ‘schenkkring’ (donation circle) in Dutch (a fund which self-employed people make monthly payments into, which can then provide a basic income for anyone in the group who becomes too ill to work), a voluntary insurance policy with the UWV, saving money or a part-time job in salaried employment. Read more about this in the download Self-employment and illness.

If you are pregnant and have an enterprise of your own, you can apply for the Self-employed and Pregnant (ZEZ) allowance.