Employers in the Netherlands can save on labour costs in case of less work due to coronavirus


The Dutch Cabinet has classified the coronavirus as an exceptional circumstance that does not fall under the normal entrepreneurial risk. This means that Dutch companies coping with financial problems as a result of the spread of the coronavirus can apply for a short-time working permit at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. By means of a reduction in working hours, non-worked hours are paid by the UWV (“Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen”) as unemployment benefit (“WW-uitkering”).


In order to qualify for the permit, companies must demonstrate that there will be at least 20% less work for a period of at least 2 to a maximum of 24 calendar weeks and that there is a direct link with the coronavirus.

The permit
If the conditions are met, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment may grant a permit for reduced working hours for a period of no more than six weeks. This period may be extended three times at the employer's request.

Unemployment benefit
Once the permit has been received, the unemployment benefit can be applied for. The unemployment benefit will be paid to the employers directly, while the employees remain employed and receive their wage in the usual manner.

No reduction in working hours for on-call employees and temporary workers
A reduction in working hours is not possible for on-call employees with a zero-hours contract and temporary workers.

For more information with regard to the coronavirus in the area of employment law, such as the rights and obligations of employees in connection with the coronavirus, please contact us.