Earlier clarity on reintegration obligations for small and medium-sized employers

Recently the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment announced several intended legislative amendments. One of the proposed amendments concerns the possibility for small and medium-sized employers (up to 100 employees) – after the first year of illness – to enter into mutual agreement with their ill employees to finalize reintegration in the first track, if this reintegration no longer seems appropriate. In concrete terms, this means that in such cases, the ill employee will no longer be required to reintegrate back to work with the help of the employer in order to resume his/her duties within the current organization. If the employer and the ill employee fail to reach an agreement through mutual discussions, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) can be requested for a ruling. This intended legislative amendment will provide smaller employers with quicker clarification as to whether an employee will return to the organization, enabling them to hire a replacement sooner.

It should be noted that the obligation to continue paying salary during the first 104 weeks of illness remains in effect. The employer will also remain responsible for the progress of the reintegration process during this period, which would then focus on reintegrating the employee in the second track (reintegration back to work but with another employer).

The Minister intends to introduce the necessary legislation for public consultation by the summer of this year, with the aim of presenting it to the House of Representatives in the spring of 2024.