Written by Stichting Burnout on 19 November 2019 in blog English

Above situation is quite common in the Netherlands, unfortunately! Not something NL can be proud of.

The LAWS in the Netherlands are quite good, however, firing whilst ill is generally forbidden by
– ziektewet (illness law)
– ‘Wet Verbetering Poortwachter’ (‘gate keeper law’, for long term illness).

First, the main reason WHY the employer wants to fire, especially in case of burnout. It is not sickness payment he is afraid of, he is insured for that. It is more: being afraid burnout will not cure, and after 2 years of illness end in ‘ziek uit dienst’, leaving the company ill, and for that a fine of 200.000-800.000 euro given by the tax authority and UWV to the employer. That is the culprit.

See amongst others http://bezava.com

Knowing this, you have to do the following:

  1. get a diagnosis of burnout in writing, following the burnout guideline (‘burnout richtlijn NVAB Lesa’). You can get this at some psychologists, as mentioned on https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/diagnose/burn-out-diagnose-hoe-herken-je-een-burn-out/ including their email addresses and town, and you can get a burnout diagnosis in writing from SOME ‘bedrijfsartsen’, ‘company doctors’. Be aware ‘bedrijfsartsen’ have a mutual tendency to deny burnout (because they are paid to do so by employers), so you have to pick a bedrijfsarts that sticks to the NVAB burnout guideline https://nvab-online.nl/sites/default/files/bestanden-webpaginas/MDRL_Overspanning-Burnout.pdf. In the form of a ‘second opinion bedrijfsarts’. An organisation for this is for example https://expertise-instituut.nl/, especially bedrijfsarts Jaap Dogger. Ask upfront, for certainty, whether they will apply the burnout guideline
  2. In case of 2nd opinion bedrijfsarts, pay the costs yourself (800-1000 euro for a diagnosis is normal, because of lack of bedrijfsartsen that want to admit burnout), but then send a copy of the bill for reimbursement to your employer. Legally, the employer has to pay. If employer refuses, mail niels@medicas.nl, debt agency, with forms https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Collectieve-overeenkomst-Stichting-Burnout.pdf and https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Medicas-Informatiebrochure-1.pdf. You will get your diagnosis money back.

    Pick a second opinion bedrijfsarts from https://www.bedrijfsartsensecondopinion.nl/bedrijfsartsen
  3. Send a copy of diagnosis (2nd opinion) to employer, and write you give them permission to keep it in their files (otherwise they will try to say ‘not allowed to keep, to read’ and all those silly games that are typical Dutch). Furthermore, send a copy to UWV, afdeling ziektewet (sickleave department), PO Box 57015 1040 CT Amsterdam, saying your employer does not want to comply with law and wants to fire you.

4. Google for a ‘advocaat arbeidsrecht reintegratie [hometown]’ to help you.

5. Do the burnout guideline tests with Stichting Burnout, starting with 4DKL and SCL 90 in English, and then Ubos through a paste of Ubos

6. Have a free orientational meeting with one of the Stichting Burnout experts/psychologists, in English

7. If you like it, Stichting Burnout sends a recovery coaching plan to your employer

8. With help of argumentation (‘werkgeversbrochure Stichting Burnout’ – https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Werkgevers-brochure-Stichting-Burnout-versie-1-1-1-1.pdf – there is a win-win for the employer after denial has become impossible), your lawyer, UWV and us we convince the employer to pay for burnout recovery, eventually followed by outplacement (recovery intervention + outplacement = ‘tweede spoor’)

9. Your lawyer will ensure you get salary whilst ill, because if you have an unethical employer he will not pay salary anymore on pretext ‘you would not cooperate with re-integration’

10. Stichting Burnout is your guidance during your travel! Not the FIGHTER against employer, that role should be fulfilled by your lawyer. But alongside we know the law and all tips and tricks.