Written by Stichting Burnout on 18 October 2019 in blog English

Because of the ‘malus’ of bezava (read: https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/behandeling/de-enorme-invloed-van-bezava-op-werkgever-en-bedrijfsarts-bij-burn-out/), the punishment of 200.000-800.000 euro by UWV when an employee leaves a company whilst ill, quite some employers try to deny burn-out, and maximally increase the pressure on employees in order to drive them into despair (in the hope they leave the company out of own initiative, with no rights, and with UWV not knowing).

A cruel practice, probably crime against humanity.

Here you find a typical cry for help of a non-Dutch speaking employee:

i am having a burn out and staying at home. i recently felt that my employer is starting to threatening and coerce me and I don’t feel safe and it made me even more anxious. they told me that I have to stand by and be available whenever they or Arbo calls me. if I miss a call, even unscheduled call,  it is considered me not cooperating.

yesterday (wednesday) they arranged an appointment for me with Arbo without any input from me on Friday. the Arbo sent the email about the appointment at 13:28 wednesday and the appointment is at 13:00 Friday. The email also states that the rescheduling can only be done by the employer and can only be done 48hours before.

i read the email at 16:22 and immediately called my manager that I had an appointment at hospital at the same time therefore I cannot make it.
later I received an email from my employer saying that they wish me to reconsider and if my behavior is considered uncooperative, they will withhold salary.and they say that I should have inform them before hand about my medical appointment, even though the appointment with Arbo was made without my knowledge and input and I have no idea when the next appointment with Arbo will be.

I wonder if any of what my employer is doing is within the limit of law:

– i have to standby, and shall not miss a single unscheduled call from the employer/ Arbo. 
– the employer don’t need to check with me when they set an appointment between me and Arbo.
– only the employer can cancel/ reschedule the Arbo appointment, i cannot.- only the employer can cancel/ reschedule the Arbo appointment, and the employer does not need to tell me the cancellation of the appointment.
– if I cannot make it to the Arbo appointment, due to reasons such as an medical appointment at hospital, it is considered that I do not cooperate.
– I should inform my employer on which time period that I am not available. For instance, if I have a medical appointment at the hospital or psychologist appointment, I should call in my employer and let them know;
much appreciated with any help or pointers,

best regards,



‘Dear Karolyna,

Thank you for your mail.

What you describe is, unfortunately, typical of how employers treat burn-out employees, especially when they know no Dutch and do not know Dutch law.

In fact, Dutch law quite protects you when you are ill, but you will have to document your illness, by finding a psychologist or physician that follows attached burnout guideline including tests (NVAB burnout richtlijn).

On our website, https://burnout.nl/sb_wp/diagnose/burn-out-diagnose-hoe-herken-je-een-burn-out/, we describe the process of diagnosis. There we also mention psychologists that can diagnose:
– Amsterdam-Noord: vanaf 1 februari 2020: info@arjanoud.nl, drs. psychologie, tel 020 618 3844 linkedin profiel, A&O en GZ psycholoog https://www.linkedin.com/in/arjan-oud/
– Putten: dunsbergen@kpnmail.nl, psychologe
– Nijmegen: info@bartdonkers.nl, psycholoog
Kosten: zelf te betalen, 350 euro ex BTW.

You can do the tests of the guideline with us, and then mail one of the psychologists to have a burnout diagnosis in writing.

After having obtained latter:

1) send your diagnosis to UWV, afdeling ziektewet = illness department PO box 57015 1040 CT Amsterdam and ask for help. DO ALSO TELL your employer you updated UWV, that will change their attitude in positive way. Do also read our attachments hereby.

2) get yourself a good lawyer googling ‘advocaat arbeidsrecht reintegratie HOMETOWN’ (hometown: fill out yours, like ‘Amsterdam’). Give the diagnosis to the lawyer. The lawyer should strive for:
a) prevention of being sacked
b) claiming your rights
c) ensuring you a period of sickness leave, 100%
d) ensure you an external burnout coaching intervention of your choice, like with Stichting Burnout
e) more….

If you have no good lawyer the employer will not take you seriously, in order to avoid Bezava costs of 200.000 – 800.000 euro (see bezava explanation). Employer may give you bad performance appraisals, and pick a fight with you in order to sack you on basis of ‘disturbed working relationships’. Be sure you have a diagnosis in writing before employer picks a fight.

3) have an orientational meeting with one of our (Stichting Burnout) burnout consultants/psychologists, have a recovery plan drafted by us, and together with us and UWV press for payment of your recovery program with us.

Employer’s attitude is a sign they want to get rid of you anyway. Ask them whether that is indeed the case. Because if it is the case, your path should be:

  • recovery paid by the employer
  • after recovery: outplacement paid by the employer

Stichting Burnout can help you with both. It is unwise to leave the company without burnout treatment, because burnout does not heal out of itself…and being burnout you can not really apply for another job (a) because you are lying about your condition, when new employer finds out you can be dismissed instantly b) a new full time job will be too heavy for you whilst burnout).

Do also ask yourself whether you want to stay in a corrupt country as the Netherlands, with such practices. Neighbouring countries as Belgium and Germany are far more decent towards employees.

Re. your questions about being 24/7 available for ‘arbo terror’: ask your lawyer.

Talk everything over within expats communities.