UT is committed to the sustainable deployment of employees. It may happen that you are absent due to illness
On this page, you will find (background) information on absence & reintegration. This gives you an idea of the steps that the various stakeholders have to take in order to implement the process in accordance with the 'Wet Poortwachter'. The agreements surrounding absenteeism and reintegration are established in the Absenteeism Guideline.
Absence and reintegration
- Absenteeism and reintegration guidelines UT
The university is committed to sustainable employability of employees. However, it can happen that you drop out due to illness. Then it is important that you and your manager know what is expected of you. This guideline describes the most important topics related to absenteeism.
If you are ill and as a result are unable to perform your own work, you are entitled to continued payment of salary for a maximum of 104 weeks in accordance with the collective labor agreement NU (article 4 Sickness and Incapacity for Work Regulations for Dutch Universities). You only have this right if you comply with the regulations that apply in the situation in which you are unsuitable for your own position due to a medical cause. As an employer, the university also has obligations. These regulations and obligations arise from the 'Wet verbetering poortwachter', the Regulation on the Procedure for the First and Second Years of Illness, the Policy Rules for the Poortwachter Assessment Framework, the Working Conditions Act, the WIA Act, the privacy legislation and the NU collective labor agreement (ZANU).
Working conditions consultation hours
Even if there is no absenteeism due to illness, you may still have questions about (imminent) health problems in relation to work. Would you like to discuss this with a company doctor? Then make an appointment for the Working Conditions Consultation via 088 - 2726312 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The company doctor will only share information from this consultation with your manager if you agree.
1. Sick? Report this to your manager (and in AFAS)
On the first day of absence, you must report sick personally to your manager by telephone before the start of normal working hours, but no later than 9:00 a.m. If this person is not available, please contact the secretariat of the department/faculty/service. If necessary, leave a number where you can be reached so that your manager can contact you. Are you unable to call in sick personally (for example because of an accident or admission)? Then ask someone from your immediate environment to do this for you.
You can report your illness by going to 'My HR > Absence portal' or via the AFAS Pocket app. Use the button 'Report ill'.
(To report your recovery, use the button 'End sick report'.)
If you become ill during working hours, you must report this personally to your manager or the secretariat of the department/faculty/service. When reporting sick, your manager may ask:
- how are you;
- when you think you can go back to work;
- where, when and how you can be reached;
- to current agreements and activities that need to be transferred;
- the possibility of recovering costs from a third party, for example because of an accident.
When reporting sick, a manager is not allowed to ask what exactly you have, why you are sick and what you are going to do about it. Of course you can tell this on your own initiative. If you do this, the manager is not allowed to record this information in the online absenteeism tracking system.
2. Be reachable
Make sure that you are easily accessible for your manager and the health and safety service during a period of absence. Check in AFAS whether the address and telephone details registered by the UT are still correct and adjust them if necessary. If you are temporarily staying at a different (nursing) address, please notify your manager.
3. Stay in touch
It is important that you have regular contact with your manager during a period of absence and that you remain involved in the work and the organization as much as possible. Make agreements about this with your manager, even if reintegration is not yet on the agenda.
4. The health and safety service
A sick report is passed on within 24 hours to the health and safety service that provides the (medical) absenteeism guidance.
The occupational health and safety service will contact you within two weeks of reporting sick to assess whether you should be seen by the company doctor/employability coach. If your manager and/or HR deem this necessary, they can ask the occupational health and safety service to call you earlier.
If you receive an invitation for the consultation hour of the company doctor/employability coach, you must comply. If requested, provide them with the information necessary to establish that you are unable to perform your own work for medical reasons and are entitled to continued payment of salary. You are also obliged to cooperate in a relevant (medical) examination by or on behalf of the company doctor.
Are you unable to attend the consultation hour for a valid reason? Please notify us of this no later than 48 hours before the scheduled appointment via 088 - 2726312 or email@example.com. If you (repeatedly) fail to show up for an appointment without a notification or if you cancel it without a valid reason, the university can impose a sanction (see under 8).
The company doctor/employability coach examines your capacity to work and assesses whether your treatment is adequate and effective, advises you and your manager and, where possible, provides a prognosis for returning to work. If necessary, the company doctor will request medical information from a practitioner in consultation with you.
During the entire reintegration process you will have regular contact with the company doctor/employability coach. Sometimes a 3 interview (company doctor/employability coach, employee and manager) or a 4 interview (company doctor/employability coach, employee, manager and HR) is useful.
If you do not agree with reintegration advice from the company doctor, you can request a second opinion from another company doctor. You request this through your own company doctor. The second opinion company doctor works for another occupational health and safety service. The costs of the second opinion are borne by the university.
You can also request an expert opinion from UWV. You will find more information about the procedure and costs on the UWV website.
In connection with your privacy, the company doctor/employability coach may not share medical information with the university (supervisor, HR). Medical information includes information about diagnosis and treatment.
You reintegrate together with your manager. This requires a positive, active attitude and some flexibility from both sides. That is why we expect you to think along about options for returning to work. It is important that you actively work on recovery, do not carry out any activities that could hinder this and that you, together with your manager, give a practical interpretation to the advice of the company doctor/employability coach. The approach: use the possibilities that you do have.
The primary focus is on returning to your own position. In the first instance, all reintegration efforts are aimed at this. This is a continuous process in which you and your manager continue to investigate whether this is possible. It is possible that you will temporarily do other work (adapted own work or other suitable work) in the context of your reintegration. Even then, the goal remains to return to your own position.
The company doctor/employability coach advises on the pace and method of reintegration. He/she also advises on interventions that can contribute to a sustainable return to work. These recommendations are recorded in consultation hour reports. You will receive a copy of these reports. Your manager and HR can view the reports via the UT's online absenteeism tracking system.
Are you unable to perform your own work due to illness, but according to the company doctor/employability coach you can perform other work (adapted own work or other suitable work)? Then look at how you can organize this together with your manager. HR (decentralized and central) can support you with this.
During the reintegration, it appears that you can no longer carry out your own work permanently - not even with adjustments - and is there no other suitable work available for you within the university? Then, together with your manager and HR, you will look for opportunities outside the university. In this so-called '2nd track', HR calls in external expertise. For example, a labor expert and/or a reintegration company.
The process during reintegration is supported by and transparent in a number of mandatory documents. These documents together form (the core of) the reintegration report (RIV). For more information, see the Appendix Documents 1st and 2nd year of illness.
Is your reintegration stuck and you can't figure it out with the university? Then you can ask UWV to provide an independent and expert opinion about the situation. The university can also ask UWV to assess the reintegration efforts. You will find more information about the Expert Assessment on the UWV website.
During a period of absence, you simply accrue leave hours. In the case of full-time employees, however, the accrual of flexible working hours stops after 6 months of (partial) absenteeism due to illness.
The intention is that you continue to take normal leave during a longer period of absence. During this leave, you are exempt from reintegration obligations. You request leave digitally from your manager via the Employee Portal. When taking leave, the hours are written off in accordance with the work pattern that you would work if you were not ill.
Leave should not be a barrier to recovery or reintegration into work. Discuss this with the company doctor/employability coach.
If you do not take leave or take insufficient leave, there is a chance that leave hours will expire because you did not take them on time (see University of Twente Leave Regulations). An exception applies to employees who were unable to take (part of) their leave hours for medical reasons because there were no usable opportunities to reintegrate into work. They reserve the right to take these hours at a later period. In general, this is only the case if you have been admitted to a hospital or other healthcare institution and/or are bedridden. Or if you depend on others for activities in daily life and are not self-reliant. The company doctor advises in assessing this.
7. Recovered? Pass this on to your manager
You resume your own work as soon as you are able to do so. Have you fully or partially recovered? In that case, immediately pass this on to your manager personally. Full recovery is when you can perform your own job with all associated tasks and responsibilities again without restrictions and sustainably. There is partial recovery if you can carry out your own work in terms of content and results again at full wage value, but are still limited in hours.
Are you carrying out adapted work or other suitable work in the context of reintegration? Then you have not (yet) recovered for the hours involved. In consultation with your manager, you can always resume work on your own initiative, unless the company doctor expressly advises not to do so yet. This is therefore not determined by your GP or a practitioner. The company doctor will, however, contact a practitioner if necessary.
In the event of absenteeism due to illness, you are obliged to comply with the (statutory) regulations. If you don't, this could have consequences. As an employer, the university can impose a sanction. For example, if there is insufficient cooperation, the salary payment can be stopped. A persistent lack of cooperation can even be grounds for dismissal.
As an employer, the university must also adhere to the rules. According to the UWV, has the university not done enough for your reintegration and are you applying for WIA benefit after 104 weeks of absenteeism due to illness? Then UWV can oblige the university to continue to pay salary for a maximum of 1 year longer.
- Sick while on vacation
Getting sick while on vacation is annoying. Under certain conditions, leave hours already written off can be added back to your leave balance in consultation:
- Report sick to your manager before 9:00 a.m. on the first day of illness. Just like you would if you weren't on vacation.
- Pass on your holiday address (or the address where you are being nursed) and the telephone number where you can be reached to your manager. Also let us know if you are able to travel.
- Make sure you can be reached by phone at all times.
- Are you staying outside the Netherlands? Then visit a doctor on site and ask for an official doctor's statement (in Dutch or English) showing that you are unable to perform your own or other activities due to illness. The statement contains at least the name, address and telephone number of the treating physician; the onset date of illness; a clear description of the degree of incapacity for work and an estimate of the probable duration of the incapacity for work. Are you staying in the Netherlands? Then heed the call of the company doctor/employability coach.
- Better again? Immediately report this to your manager. Just like you would if you weren't on vacation.
- Holiday leave during illness
During a period of (partial) absenteeism, you simply accrue leave hours. However, for employees with full employment and a 40-hour working week, the accrual of flexible working hours stops after 6 months of (partial) absenteeism due to illness.
The intention is that you continue to take normal leave during a longer period of absence. During this leave you are exempt from reintegration obligations. You request leave digitally from your manager via the Employee Portal. When taking leave, the hours are written off in accordance with the work pattern that you would work if you were not ill. Please note: leave should not hinder recovery or reintegration into work. Coordinate this with the company doctor/employability coach.
If you do not take leave or do not take enough leave, you run the risk that leave hours will expire because you have not taken them on time (see University of Twente Leave Regulations). An exception applies to employees who were unable to take (part of) their leave hours for medical reasons because there were no usable opportunities to reintegrate into work. They reserve the right to take these hours in a later period. In general, this is only the case if you have been admitted to a hospital or other healthcare institution and/or are bedridden. Or if you depend on others for activities in daily life and are not self-reliant. The company doctor advises in assessing this.
- The process in accordance with the requirements of ‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter’
The following flow chart shows the various stages in the absence and reintegration process for the first and second years of illness.
- Documents in first and second years of illness
The process during reintegration is supported by and clarified in various mandatory documents during the first and second years of illness. Together, these documents constitute the core of the Reintegration Report (Re-integratieverslag, RIV). UT sends the Reintegration Report in digital form to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) by no later than week 93 of a period of absence. The UWV then assesses on the basis of the Reintegration Report whether there was a reasonable basis for the reintegration efforts which were undertaken by the employer and employee. The Reintegration Report hence provides the basis for the WIA assessment. The mandatory documents are listed below, accompanied by a description for each document of its contents, the responsible person and when the document must be finalised.
The company doctor assesses which medical and non-medical factors are causing and having an impact on the absence. He/she describes the employee’s limitations and how they impede the work now and in the future as well as the possibility of a return to work. The Problem Analysis also includes advice on how the possibilities for recovery and return to work can be utilised or enhanced.
It is possible that the employee’s capacity to work improves or worsens. In that case, the Problem Analysis is adjusted or supplemented by means of the consultation report.
No later than week 6
Plan of Action
The employee and employer jointly lay down what concrete steps they will take to increase the possibilities for work. These can include a temporary modification of work activities, the workplace, how the work is organised or the working hours. It may also be agreed to make use of internal or external assistance. The agreements in the Plan of Action are based on the Problem Analysis and are regularly discussed and evaluated.
The Plan of Action is not a static document: the employee and manager discuss the agreements that have been made on a regular basis and adjust them, where necessary. Because, for example:
- the return to work is not going to plan;
- the employee’s capacity to work changes;
- the return to work is not stable;
- the medical treatment stagnates;
- periods of work alternate with periods of incapacity;
- the employee has worked for too long without wage value;
- work has been resumed at too low a level or for too few hours, without the prospect of own work or other suitable work.
No later than week 8
At least once every 6 weeks
The employee and manager review the reintegration activities in the first year of illness. They also determine which reintegration result can be achieved in the second year of illness and which activities will contribute to that aim. They should analyse whether the reintegration is on the right track, how agreements that were made have been implemented and what else is needed to ensure the success of reintegration. Basic choices have to be made about reintegration within the university or at a different employer, i.e. outside UT. If necessary, the reintegration programme being followed is adjusted for the coming period. UWV policy rules may determine that an occupational health assessment should be carried out or a second track process needs to be started.
46 and 52
For the purpose of the Final Evaluation and the WIA application, the company doctor describes the employee’s capacity to work and the current status as regards reintegration (limitations and work possibilities, course of incapacity for work, future prospects, etc.). This is an update of the Problem Analysis.
78 and 91
In the Final Evaluation, which is part of the Plan of Action, the employee and manager set out their views with regard to the possibilities for reintegration during the entire period of absence. The manager also gives his/her opinion regarding the employee’s future possibilities for reintegration. The information in the Current Assessment is included in the Final Evaluation.
By no later than
If, despite all the employee’s and the employer’s efforts, the employee has not been able to return fully in his/her own position, the employee should submit a WIA application to the UWV. The UWV will inform the employee about this application in week 88.
By no later than
All the important documents relating to the employee’s reintegration together make up the Reintegration Report
(Re-integratieverslag, RIV). The employer submits these documents in digital form using the UWV employer’s portal.
By no later than
- Occupational health assessment
An occupational health assessment is an analysis of the work situation and employability of a sick employee. The law obliges employers to assess how employees who are absent can continue to work according to their capacity. If you are incapacitated, whether fully or partially, for a long period, an occupational health assessment can provide insight into the possibilities, limitations and suitability of work content and the working environment. The assessment is carried out by an occupational consultant who records his/her findings and advice in a report.
The assessment normally consists of an interview with you and your manager and may also include a visit to your workplace. You and your manager receive a report containing the conclusions of the assessment as well as advice concerning the next steps in the reintegration.
The occupational consultant answers the following questions, among other things:
- Can you still perform your own work at UT, on a sustainable basis going forward?
- If not, is it possible to make your own work suitable with adjustments (content, conditions, scope, etc.)?
- If not, can you carry out other suitable work at UT?
- If not, are there possibilities to assist you in finding work outside UT and is a follow-up programme (second track reintegration process) desirable?
The occupational health assessment and the accompanying report form the basis for the further process and implementation of reintegration.
- UWV expert opinion
The UWV expert opinion is an independent opinion on the progress of reintegration and the current medical status of a sick employee. If an expert opinion is requested, the insurance medical adviser (and/or the occupational consultant) of the UWV will form their own opinion regarding the work possibilities and the current state of health. They will generally also carry out their own investigation for that purpose and, if necessary, will request information from the person or persons treating the employee.
The expert opinion provides an answer to one of the following questions:
- Can the employee resume his/her work in full on a certain date?
- Is the work that the employee performs, wants to perform or must perform suitable?
- Has UT done enough to promote the employee’s reintegration?
- Has the employee done enough to facilitate his/her reintegration?
- Is it possible that the employee’s frequent sickness absence will decrease within 26 weeks if the work or working environment is modified? Or by transferring the employee to another suitable position, possibly assisted by training.
The expert opinion gives a judgement on an employee’s capacity or incapacity for work as well as the possibilities for reintegration. It is a non-binding opinion issued by the UWV and not a formal decision. As a result, it is not open to objection or appeal by the employee. Nor does the opinion constitute a recommendation or advice on what further steps should be taken in relation to reintegration. It is a snapshot in which an assessment is made as to whether UT and the employee are meeting the obligations and responsibilities in case of sickness and absence.
Both UT and the employee can request the UWV to give an expert opinion. An expert opinion requested by the employee carries a charge of €100, payable by the employee.
More information on the expert opinion can be found at the UWV website.
- Second track reintegration
Occasionally, it becomes clear during a period of absence that there is little or no prospect of the employee resuming his/her work on a sustainable basis and that there is also no other suitable position available within UT. In that case, a ‘second track process’ is started. UT usually engages an external reintegration agency for this purpose. An occupational health assessment may already have been carried out to determine what work might be suitable.
A ‘second track process’ is focused on finding a suitable position outside UT. It goes without saying that your personal employability capacities are taken into account with regard to this process. Key elements of the second track process are job application counselling and active exploration of new job opportunities. A temporary work experience placement or a trial placement at another employer can also be a stepping stone to a sustainable return to work elsewhere.
A return to the employee’s own work or transfer to another suitable position within UT (first track) is always the preferred option. To ensure the greatest chance of a sustainable return to work, the first and second track processes can run in parallel during reintegration. It is also possible to alternate between the first and second track processes, depending on developments (increased or no increase of work capacity). A second track process may only be waived if, after 12 months’ sickness absence, partial or otherwise, there is a firm prospect of a sustainable return to work in the employee’s own position or another suitable position within UT (first track).
After 104 weeks’ sickness absence, partial or otherwise, the UWV will assess the joint reintegration activities. The UWV expects an active attitude from all the parties involved and will investigate whether UT as well as the employee have made sufficient efforts to achieve the maximum result in the process of reintegration.
Long-term sickness absence
- Salary reduction in the case of long-term sickness absence
Salary reduction after 9 months
Employers in the Netherlands have the obligation to continue paying an employee’s salary during the first two years of illness (104 weeks). The employer must pay at least 70% of the salary per year during this period. This obligation is set out in the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities as follows:
- You will receive your full salary for the first nine months.
- After nine months, your salary is reduced to 76% for the hours you do not work. You will receive your full salary for the hours that you have worked (own work/your own adapted work/other work).
After more than six months of sickness absence, partial or otherwise, you will receive a letter from HR containing information on several topics of importance with regard to long-term sickness absence. The letter includes notification and details of the salary reduction after nine months of sickness absence, amongst other things.
We kindly request that you keep a record of the number of hours you have worked after nine months of sickness absence, partial or otherwise so that we can correctly calculate the applicable salary reduction, avoid having to make corrections later on and provide you with clarity on how we make the calculation. These hours include the hours when you fully perform your usual duties because you have recovered as well as hours during which you perform suitable work (your own adapted work or other suitable work). From the tenth month, you will receive a form for this purpose by email at the start of each calendar month, in which you can fill in how many hours you have actually worked in the current calendar month. Please return the completed form before the 10th of the following calendar month. Your manager will receive a copy of your statement of hours worked for verification purposes.
Payroll administration will calculate your salary deduction on the basis of your statement of hours worked. The deduction will be specified on the payslip that you will be able to view at the end of the month in the Staff Portal.
The salary reduction is always processed one month in arrears, therefore. This means that your salary in the calendar month in which you have again fully resumed your duties for the entire month will be the last month subject to the salary reduction.
- Long-term sickness absence folder
This information is intended for UT staff members who have been absent for more than six months. In the seventh month after the onset of illness, the employee will receive a letter about the salary reduction after nine months of illness as well as the “Long-term sickness absence folder”.