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The Netherlands (Holland) - Social Security

Social Security Overview

Everyone who is living and working in the Netherlands is required to make contributions to the Dutch social security system, unless their home country has a social security agreement with the Netherlands and they continue to make social security contributions in this country under the terms of the treaty. A certificate confirming social security coverage in their home country is likely to be required in order to apply for exemption from the Dutch social security system.

In general, foreign nationals posted to the Netherlands on a temporary basis of up to twelve months or another specified period are eligible for continuation of social security coverage under the legislation of their home country, if covered by a treaty.

Foreign nationals posted to the Netherlands who are not covered by a social security treaty may be required to pay contributions in both the Netherlands and their home country and will also be eligible for benefits in both countries. People on short-term postings of less than six months may be exempt from having to contribute to employee insurance schemes in the Netherlands but are still required to contribute to the national insurance schemes.

Under recent changes to Dutch social security legislation, eligibility criteria for claiming welfare benefits have become more restrictive, and now exclude many temporary, self-employed and fixed-term contract workers. In general, however, everyone who has a residence permit and a work permit, if this is required, will be covered by the Dutch social security system.

All members of the Dutch social security system are issued with a SoFi number (sofi-nummer) by the tax office, which is used to record their tax and social security contributions and eligibility for social security benefits.

Netherlands has separate compulsory insurance schemes, which apply to the general population and to all employees, respectively, unless they are exempt because covered by another country's social insurance scheme.

Social Security Schemes

The National Insurance schemes (volksverzekeringen) apply to all residents of the Netherlands, and consist of the General Old Age Pensions Act (AOW), the General Surviving Relatives Act (AnW), the Exceptional Medical Expenses Act (AWBZ) and the Child Benefit Act (AKW). Contributions are paid in the form of income tax, at 2007 rates of 17.9% for the AOW, 1.25% for the AnW and 12% for the AWBZ. People aged over 65 do not contribute to the AOW. The AKW is not a contributory scheme.

Under the AOW, pensions are payable from the age of 64, with amounts dependent on the duration of employment in the Netherlands or another country that has a reciprocal pensions agreement with the Netherlands. Two percent of the full pension amount is payable for each year of full contributions made to the scheme. The AnW pays income-related benefits to the widow or widower and any dependant children of a deceased person insured under the Act. The AWBZ provides payment for medical expenses and treatment in excess of coverage already provided by the Health Insurance Act and any private health insurance. Under the AKW, regular payments are made to families for each child under the age of 18.

All employees are required to belong to the Netherlands' Employee Insurance Schemes (werknemersverzekeringen), consisting of the Sickness Benefits Acts (ZW/WULBZ), the Disability Insurance Act (WAO), the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW) and the Health Insurance Act (Zorgverzekeringswet), and must contribute to these schemes (with the exception of the WAO) up to a specified annual income. Employers are also required to make contributions to these Schemes for each of their employees. WAO contributions are made by employers only, at a rate of 5.15% of salary in 2007. Contributions to the WW are currently at a rate of 3.85% of salary for employees and 4.40% for employers.

The WULBZ requires employers to pay at least 70% of an employee's salary per day, up to a specified maximum amount, during the first 104 weeks of sick leave, while the ZW provides similar cover of 70% of normal wages, for temporary staff and others who have no regular employer. Maternity leave payments for at least 16 weeks of leave are also paid under this Act, which along with sick leave payments account for 100% of normal salary.

The WAO provides insurance cover for people unable to work after 52 to 104 weeks of disability, with amounts dependent on factors such as the age, severity of the disability and previous salary.

Unemployment benefits payable under the WW consist of 70% of the minimum wage or the last wage received if this is lower, for six months, for a person previously employed for 26 of the preceding 39 weeks before becoming unemployed. If an unemployed person was also employed in at least 52 days in at least four of the last five years before becoming unemployed, they are eligible to receive 70% of their most recent salary in unemployment benefits, for a duration dependent on their length of time in employment.

The Netherlands introduced a new compulsory Health Insurance Act in 2006, which replaced both the previous public health insurance system which provided cover for all employees with gross wages below EUR33,000 per year, as well as the private health insurance systems required for employees earning above this amount. Under the new scheme, employees are required to pay a nominal contribution of around EUR1,100) to their health insurance company, as well as an income-dependent contribution of 6.5%, up to a maximum of EUR2,080, with the income-dependent contributions generally being reimbursed by employers. The self-employed are also required to make these contributions. Non-working spouses are only required to pay the nominal contribution; dependant children receive free cover. Health insurance companies are required by law to accept all eligible individuals for cover for a wide range of medical and dental care. Additional private insurance can be purchased to supplement the basic health insurance package.

Useful Contacts

Hoofdkantoor SVB
Visiting address: Van Heuven Goedhartlaan 1
Postal address: Postbus 1100, 1180 BH Amstelveen
Telephone number : 020 656 5656
Fax number: 020 656 5000

College voor zorgverzekeringen (CVZ) (The Health Insurance Board)
Postbus 320
1110 AH Diemen
Tel: (020) 797 8555
Fax: (020) 797 8500

Read more about this country

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