The UWV (The Netherlands National Institute for Employees’ Insurance and Regulations) will use the reintegration report prepared by you and an ill employee to assess the employee’s eligibility for a WIA benefit – a benefit for employees who have been on sick leave for more than two years. The report must be prepared with the utmost care. If anything is missing from the report, this can have major financial consequences for your organization. Which requirements must the report meet?
If any of your employees is on sick leave, law dictates you must continue to pay the employee 70% of the (maximum daily) wages in the first 104 weeks (two years) and at least the statutory minimum wages in the first year of sick leave. Moreover, together with the employee you must work on his/her reintegration. The rules for this reintegration are given in the manual ‘Werkwijzer Poortwachter’, to be found on the website of the UWV (in Dutch). Any agreements made with the ill employee on his/her reintegration must be included in a reintegration report (‘re-integratieverslag’ or ‘RIV’ in Dutch). If the ill employee applies for a WIA benefit after two years of sick leave, (s)he needs this reintegration report. It is extremely important this report is complete, otherwise you risk having to continue the payment of wages to the ill employee for a maximum of one more year as a penalty (called ‘loonsanctie’ in Dutch).
The employee can apply to the UWV for a WIA benefit at the latest in the 93rd week of sick leave. The application for the benefit is filed online. Make sure the employee receives a copy of all documents in the reintegration report at the latest in the 91st week of sick leave. These copies are for the employee’s own administration. The employer is the one who must submit the reintegration report to the UWV via the employer’s portal (‘werknemersportaal’ in Dutch) on the website. The following components must be included in the reintegration report:
- problem analysis and, if applicable, any adjustment(s) made;
- plan of action (signed);
- evaluation of the first year of reintegration and, if applicable, any other evaluations;
- up-to-date verdict by an occupational health physician or the ‘arbodienst’ (Health and Safety Service);
- final evaluation;
- medical information;
- employee’s opinion on the reintegration;
- report on work-related research (if applicable);
- report on other reintegration activities (if applicable);
- expert opinion by the UWV (if applicable);
The UWV has published a model of the documents required in the reintegration report on their website, uwv.nl (in Dutch). We recommend you use these documents. Because of medical confidentiality, an employer may not submit the component of the reintegration report containing medical information. Instead, the employee will receive the respective documents via the occupational health physician or ‘arbodienst’ and will submit these to the UWV him-/herself. The employee can also opt to submit the entire reintegration report him-/herself, including medical information. In that case, (s)he should inform the employer and the employee must then send all respective document via mail to the UWV.
The UWV will use the documents in the reintegration report to assess whether or not the employee is eligible for a WIA benefit. The assessment of the report is done in the first place by one of the UWV’s experts on work-related issues. Medical questions and specific situations are dealt with by the UWV’s insurance doctor. It will first be established whether a ‘satisfactory result’ has been reached in the reintegration. If not, it will be assessed whether or not the employer has put in enough effort to try to reintegrate the ill employee. If too little effort was put in, it will be check whether a legitimate reason for this can be provided, the so-called reasonable basis. Without this basis, the aforementioned ‘loonsanctie’ will be imposed – i.e. the employer will have to continue to pay wages to the ill employee for a maximum of one more year as a penalty. If no reasonable basis exists, but it is found that there are still possibilities to correct the shortcomings in reintegration, the UWV will give you the opportunity to do so. During these corrections, you must continue to pay wages to the employee.
Before the assessment of the reintegration report it will first be established whether the report is complete and all required documents are included. Any missing documents must be submitted to the UWV within five workdays. If you fail to do so, the UWV will impose a ‘loonsanctie’. There is room for discussion with the UWV if the employer can demonstrate there is a compelling reason for why (s)he cannot submit the missing documents.
If an employee’s application for a WIA benefit is filed too late or (s)he does not submit any of the required documents, it is possible the employer will be subject to a ‘loonsanctie’.
Final evaluation must be up-to-date
Because the UWV must have an accurate picture of the result of the reintegration process at the moment the application for the WIA benefit is filed, the up-to-date verdict by an occupational health physician or ‘arbodienst’ and the final assessment included in the reintegration report must relate to that moment (the 93rd week of sick leave at the latest).