Regrettably, sick reports are often a great source of misunderstanding between employers and employees. Apart from differences of opinion concerning the “true nature” of the employee’s illness, there is the question as to whether there is sufficient and appropriate re-integration effort on the part of the employer or the employee, with often endless misery.

In principle it is usually the employee who decides if he or she reports sick. Next, it is for the employer to respond. In most cases this will be no problem at all. It would go way too far to suggest that each sick report demands instant legal advice.

Employee illness obviously is a nuisance for employers and their business. On the other hand there are huge interests on the part of the sick employee. Employees who think they are ill without stating sufficiently clear arguments are not entitled to a salary for instance. A salary right may also be suspended when the employee does not observe reasonable regulations for control and suitable employment.

A sick report implies rights and duties on the part of both employer and employee. Pursuant to the law, a sick employee is entitled to two years’ continued payment. The employer has the right to arrange suitable work for a sick employee either within or outside the organisation. The obligation of “doing everything” in order to remain at work or in suitable employment rests on both employer and employee, and both of them may be sanctioned by the UWV employee insurance agency if insufficient effort has been made during the first two years of illness. However, the re-integration obligation nevertheless does not stop at these first two years.

Employers and employees often wrongly assume that a sick employee cannot be dismissed. Practice however shows great variations. The question as to whether an employee was well-advised to report sick “out of the blue” and the question as to whether an employer can make a successful attempt to dismiss a sick employee are not easy ones to answer.

So do not hesitate and go for an affordable specialist in case you have questions about absence due to illness!

For questions and answers concerning work and illness, go to www.werkenziekte.nl.