Social security

The social security 'safety net' is strong in the Netherlands. Employees who are made redundant, fall ill or become unable to work are almost always entitled to receive part of their final salary. At least for a temporary period. This income security is enshrined in social legislation. Employees must pay social insurance premiums. These are deducted from wages at source, with the employer ensuring that they are paid to the relevant agencies. 

Health care in the Netherlands

Every citizen in the Netherlands is obliged to insure himself for medical expenses. The minimum is the basic health insurance package.

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Health insurance


Sickness and incapacity benefits

Employers must continue to pay workers who fall ill. The Sickness Benefits Act (Ziektewet) provides a "safety net" for those without an employer. Self-employed people don't have a right to this benefit but can get insurance voluntarily.

Employees are insured against long-term inability to work under the Law Work and Income according to Capacity (WIA). WIA is not available to the self-employed. Self-employed people are responsible for their own turnover and profit, including any loss of income due to sickness or incapacity for work. They can insure themselves privately against this, but they are not required to. 

Unemployment benefits

Unemployment Benefit (Werkloosheidswet-uitkering, WW) is an insurance-funded payment for those who lose their job. You are entitled to a minimum of three months unemployment benefit if you are involuntarily unemployed and pay social security contributions. You must have worked at least 26 of the past 36 weeks to qualify. You are not entitled to unemployment benefit if you are self-employed or if you, being a a performing artist, play only at weddings and parties.

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Unemployment Benefit


If you are in employment you will probably build up a compulsory pension depending on the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO). If you are self-employed, you must make your own pension arrangements, otherwise upon reaching pensionable age you will only be entitled to the Old Age Pension (AOW).

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Income support

If you are unable to support yourself, in some cases you may be entitled to claim benefits under the Participation Act (Participatiewet). The self-employed are not covered by this: provision for them is governed by the Decree on assistance to self-employed (Bbz).

Are you a member of a copyright organisation and are you facing socioeconomic problems or are you looking for extra support? If so, take a look to see if you are eligible for a contribution from the social fund of this organisation. Organisations like Buma/Stemra, Sena, Lira and Pictoright apply a so-called ‘sociocultural levy’ (sociaal culturele heffing, SoCu levy) on copyright fees, as a result of which a fund is accrued for social and cultural purposes (sometimes also educational). This fund is used for special provisions, such as an old-age provision with Buma/Stemra, and a social fund for the members and professional group.