The aim of social security in the Netherlands is to provide income for persons for whom it is not (or no longer) possible to support themselves independently by working. The underlying principle is that people who are afflicted by unemployment, invalidity, or illness must be given the opportunity to exercise their civic rights on an equal footing. The money required to do this is generally provided by the working population on the basis of the philosophy of solidarity of shared risk. However, for the first two years of absence from work through illness, sick pay (see sickness benefit) has to be provided by the employer. The amount of sick pay is at least 70% of your gross income, but the actual amount varies per area of discipline.

Social security in the Netherlands can be divided into:

  • the Volksverzekeringen (National Social Security scheme) and

  • the Werknemersverzekering (Employee Social Security scheme).

National Social Security scheme applies to all residents of the Netherlands and the benefits are not related to someone’s salary. The Employee Social Security scheme is confined to employees. The benefits are related to the employment income last earned and are received in the event of loss of income because of illness (after the first year of absence), permanent disability for work or unemployment.