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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Act on improvement of gatekeeping for disability benefits

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This innovation which is part of a broader reform of disability and sickness law aims to prevent entry of sick workers into disability benefits by giving employers and employees a bigger responsibility for re-integration into work during the first two years of sickness.
Target group
Disabled
Policy Field
  • employment
  • social
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Since 2002
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
This act stipulates obligations for employers and employees to make a plan for re-integration back into work during the first two years of sickness, the so-called waiting period for disability benefits. If, after two years, proof of re-integration efforts is not available, the claim for disability benefit is not processed. If the plan is considered to be insufficient, the employer is sanctioned. During the two years of sickness the employer can ask permission to stop paying wages and file for dismissal with the social security agency UWV when the employee does not accept a reasonable adapted job that the employee could fulfill. Companies for control of labour conditions (ARBO) offer re-integration services to support the employer and employee. The objective is to prevent entry intro disability benefits and re-integration back into work, preferably with the same employer.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
part of structural reform of disability and sickness policy
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • governance (This act increases the responsibility of employers and employees to prevent entry intro disability benefits)
  • others (regulations with regards to obligations for employers and sick employees)
Intended target group
Sick workers
Working age population
  • employment situation (typical work)
  • main source of income: paid work
Employers-private institutional actors
all employers
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (judges the re-integration plan and implements re-integration for sick workers without an employer)
  • central state (law making)
  • employees (organised or individual) (responsible for the re-integration plan)
  • employers (organised or individual) (responsible for the re-integration plan)
Clarification of the role of various actors
Main actors are employers and employees, who implement the re-integration plan. The social security- agency UWV (which implements the disability act) judges the plans and private companies which support implementation of the plans.
Intended output
  • governance (new, strictly controlled responsibilities for employees and empoyers)
  • others (re-integration plans for sick workers)
Intended and unintended outcomes
the evaluation concludes a trend shift in the percentage of sick workers and the number of new disability recipients following the introduction of this act. No exact quantification is available
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
This innovation can be considered to be effective, in combination with other disability policy reforms in the same period (WIA, law on payment of wages during sickness, adaptation of judgement of disability). This specific innovation has stimulated prevention of entry into disability benefit by regulating more strictly that employers and employees effectively try to re-integrate when they are long-term sick. It thereby stimulates labour participation in general and prevents people from leaving the labour market.
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