Unemployment Benefits in the Netherlands

How to register for unemployment benefits when sacked or made redundant...

The UWV WERKbedrijf manage unemployment and job seekers in the Netherlands. There are WERK branches throughout the country.

Unemployment benefits are paid at around 75% of the original wage for the first two months and 70% of the original wage for the following months. Benefits are paid for 3 months (minimum) up until 38 months (maximum) depending how long the beneficiary was previously employed. While receiving unemployment benefits the recipient must be actively looking for work, and must be able to show proof of job-seeking.

Note: If a person waits longer than 20 days after losing their job to register with the UWV they will lose their entitlement to benefits. It is best to register immediately upon becoming unemployed.

Eligibility

In principle, people are eligible for unemployment assistance if they fall into one of the following categories:

  • Dutch nationals
  • EU nationals living or working in the Netherlands, and their spouses and partners (even if these spouses and partners are not EU nationals)
  • Nationals from Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland (EER) and Switzerland
  • Non-EU nationals formerly in the possession of an employment-related residence permit, whose current unemployment is involuntary and who applied for an extension of their residence permit in time, as long as no final decisions were taken and no deportation measures were initiated
  • Foreigners who hold a valid residence permit with the annotation "Arbeid vrij toegestaan. Een tewerkstellingsvergunning is niet vereist" (work permit not required)
  • Non-EU nationals holding a valid asylum-related residence permit with the annotation "Arbeid is toegestaan indien de werkgever beschikt over een tewerkstellingsvergunning" (work permit required)
  • Non-EU nationals holding a valid employment-related residence permit without the annotation "Arbeid vrij toegestaan. Een tewerkstellingsvergunning is niet vereist" (work permit not required), whose current unemployment is involuntary

In all cases, a person must experience involuntary unemployment. In other words, if you resign you get nothing. Also, if it is reasonable that a person's right to work in the Netherlands was almost at an end (e.g. a contract worker or a worker on a secondment) it is unlikely that an application for employment benefits will be approved.