Thursday, July 30, 2015 - 10:37
"Dormant employment" latest strategy to avoid severance pay
In another effort to avoid the severance pay attached to the new Work and Security Act that was implemented on July 1st, employers are now keeping sick workers employed on a dormant, unpaid basis, instead of dismissing them. By doing so they do not have to pay those workers thousands of euros for the so-called transition allowance, the Volkskrant reports. "Employers see it as highly unfair that have to give sick employees a severance payment after two years", Pascal Besselink, labor lawyer at legal service DAS, said to the newspaper. "These employers have already paid wages for two years without receiving anything in return. And they often have made every effort to get the sick employee back to work." According to him, it smarts even more if the employee's illness is completely unrelated to the job. The new dismissal rules for the Work and Security Act means that an employee who has been working for a company for two years or longer is entitled to a transition allowance upon dismissal. This also includes temporary workers and workers who are unable to work due to illness. A spokesperson for benefits agency UWV told the Volkskrant that they are aware of this "dormant employment", but they do not know how it will turn out. According to the spokesperson, there are risks involved in this strategy, such as a sick employee coming back to work after a time in a position that has already been filled. Or another, working employee having to be laid off in the sick employee's place during reorganization. The UWV could not say how many sick employees have been switched to dormant employment. Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs and Employment does not approve of this latest effort to avoid the transition allowance, saying that it does not fit with decent employment practices. "An employee that is unable to work has, like any other, the right to a transition allowance upon dismissal. He or she has to find a new job, the allowance can help with that."