Costs of sickness absence

Under legislation introduced in January 2004, employees in the Netherlands who cannot work because of illness or disability are entitled to the continued payment of their wages for two years. In the second quarter of 2011, employers paid a total of 2.6 billion euro in wages for employees who were absent because of illness or disability. This is 3.95 percent of the total wage sum. There are a number of reasons that this percentage is lower than the absence rate itself: employers do not always have to pay 100 percent of the wage, sometimes they are only required to pay 70 percent; for people in high-wage categories the wage is capped at a maximum day wage; people with lower wages are ill more often; only the basic wage is paid, this does not include special payments such as bonuses.