Ciao Going Expat people,

Today we deal with an important topic that is often not considered when talking about life abroad: unemployment.

It can happen to anyone to loose their job, so I think it’s worth devoting an article to explain how unemployment in the Netherlands is managed, who can benefit from it, and how the system works.

Who can benefit from it?

Let’s start from a practical aspect very useful, who can apply for unemployment, in Dutch WW-uitkering  (the website is available only in Dutch).

Let’s take a step back and go at the time of signing the contract, make sure that there is a note, or whatever it is, indicating the possibility of receiving unemployment if you are fired for reasons not attributable to the employee. Even if you have a temporary contract that is not extended, you can apply for unemployment.

This condition of the contract is that you will be assured that the employer will contact the UWV (the body responsible for unemployment in the Netherlands).

In addition to that,  you must have worked in the Netherlands for at least 26 of the last 36 weeks before losing your job.
In the event of objective dismissal (by mistake of the worker) you are not entitled to unemployment benefit

Severance Payment

This is the definition of unemployment benefits in the Netherlands and provides for 1 monthly payment for every 3 years of work. Depending on the level of seniority in the company and role there may be other discriminators that increase the monthly amount you can receive.

In principle the employer has to pay the holiday allowance (8%) and, if applicable, the budget for their training. Clearly, the latter is not present in all contracts, so it is only to be considered if your company invests in your personal development, giving you an annual budget to use individually for your training.

What should I do if I am fired?

A week before the end of their employment, they must contact the UWV and provide them with the termination agreement and your BSN so that they can associate it with the information they received from the company and begin the procedures.

You will immediately make an appointment with an advisor, a consultant to fill out all the necessary forms so that you can define how many job applications you need to send per month, find contacts that can help you in finding your next job and to upload your cv on the website

Yes, you read correctly, you will have a minimum of monthly applications to submit if you want to receive unemployment. Unemployment, in fact, is not and should not be seen as a way to take a break and meanwhile earn money, the goal is to find employment in the shortest time possible.

Every month at least 4 actions must be demonstrated, so documented evidence that you are looking for work.

Through the UWV you are entitled to training. The organisation organises seminars, workshops and webinars.

How much do they pay me per month for how long?

The UWV reserves the right to decide how many months you will receive unemployment, obviously it is not a random count, but made on the basis of your tax contribution. Already on the site however you can calculate roughly how long you would have said.

As for the total, then how much will be paid, the calculation is made on the basis of the last employment contract.

The first 2 months are paid 75% all other 70%.

As already mentioned, the UWV decides how long you will be entitled to it, but there is still a time limit.

In the case of a minimum threshold, 26 working weeks in the last 36, you are entitled to at least 3 months of paid employment. If you have worked for at least 4 years of the last 5 years then unemployment will be paid for 1 year.

Payment is made within the first 2 weeks of each month.

What if I need some time to rest?

Looking for work is a job, also with the anxiety and worry of being unemployed our head may need respite.

The Netherlands always thinks of mental health, so you are entitled to 20 days off, “holidays” that must be communicated to your consultant.

With the consultant, calls are made every few minutes, depending on your situation to monitor the progress and have help/ support.

More useful info on contracts.

  • In the Netherlands verbal contracts are valid, obviously it will be difficult to prove the established hours of work, how many have been done etc…
  • The maximum working time is 12h equal to 60h per week, but you can not work for 60h for more than 2 weeks per month.
  • There are zero-hour contracts, those in which you work according to the need of the work itself. There is a guarantee of at least 3 hours per week.
  • If you work for more than 3 months for more hours than stipulated in the contract, the contract must automatically change based on the hours actually worked

More info can be found at the following links:,(wekeneis%20%E2%80%93%20%20%weekly requirement20%).

I hope this article is useful to you.

Have you had experience of unemployment abroad? Let me know in the comments and if you want to collaborate for a new article on unemployment in your country contact me.

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