Sick pay laws in the spotlight, employers hit by high costs
MPs want to encourage more employers to take on permanent staff and are looking at relaxing sick pay rules for small firms to encourage this.
At the moment, as reported by website Nu.nl on 28 May, companies are required by law to pay a sick worker’s salary for two years after they become ill. But this is a particular problem for small firms, who also have to pay for a replacement, MPs say. The government’s macro-economic think-tank CPB says reducing this to one year would cost the state EUR 800m because sick workers would then be referred to official safety nets.
VVD parliamentarian Anouskha Schut-Welkzijn suggests employers should only be responsible if the absence has a work-related cause. In addition, employers should be given more options to insure themselves against the extra expense. Labour MPs want social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to develop a support system for small firms ‘without implications for income guarantees and re-integration programmes’. D66 MP Steven van Weyenberg points out that many employers have agreed to higher sick pay rates in nationally agreed pay and conditions deals. ‘In 80 percent of agreements, sick pay is above the 70 percent maximum decided on by unions, employers and ministers,’ he said. MPs are due to debate the sick pay scheme with Asscher on Thursday.