Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Netherlands - Unemployment

In what situation can I claim?

If you become unemployed in the Netherlands, you are entitled to unemployment benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act (WW, Werkloosheidswet).

What conditions do I need to meet?

The conditions for a WW benefit include the following:

  • you are insured against unemployment. This is the case if you are employed and have not yet reached the statutory retirement age (AOW age);
  • you have lost at least 5 work hours a week and the associated pay (for employees who are employed for maximum 10 hours per week, the condition is to have lost at least half of the working hours);
  • you are available for work on the Dutch labour market;
  • you must avoid becoming or remaining unemployed by, for example, sending enough applications for suitable work;
  • you have worked for at least 26 weeks in the 36 weeks before you became unemployed (if you also worked in another Member State in this period, this period of work will be taken into account when determining your right to unemployment benefit);
  • you have become unemployed through no fault of your own.

You do not have the right to unemployment benefit if you:

  • are receiving a benefit due to illness or invalidity;
  • have reached the statutory retirement age;
  • live outside the Netherlands;
  • are not staying in the Netherlands legitimately;
  • are in prison.

What am I entitled to and how can I claim?

You receive 75% of your last pay per day (up to a maximum of EUR 209 during the first 2 months and 70% of the last pay earned thereafter.

One year in employment gives entitlement to one month of WW benefit receipt for the first 10 years. From the 11th year, one year of employment gives entitlement to ½ month of WW benefit (with a maximum of 24 months). If you have received pay for at least 208 hours’ work for at least four of the last five years before the year you became unemployed, you have a right to an extension of the benefit.

To claim unemployment benefit, you must submit an application to the UWV within one week of becoming unemployed, and register as a jobseeker with the UWV.

If your benefit is less than the minimum income (sociaal minimum), you might be entitled to a supplement based on the Supplementary Benefits Act (Toeslagenwet).

If you do not meet the conditions to receive WW benefit, you may qualify for social assistance benefit under certain conditions. The amount depends on your financial circumstances and those of your family and, if applicable, your partner.

Jargon busters

  • WW benefit: unemployment benefit under the Unemployment Insurance Act (Werkloosheidswet, WW) which provides a temporary benefit to involuntarily unemployed employees with sufficient working history and who are available for work.
  • Social assistance benefit: (bijstand, as foreseen in the Participatiewet) guarantees a minimum income for everyone living legally in the Netherlands and with insufficient means to maintain themselves.
  • The Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut werknemersverzekeringen, UVW) is a Dutch welfare agency that is responsible for implementing the employee insurance schemes (unemployment, illness, incapacity for work).
  • Supplementary Benefits Act (Toeslagenwet): a Dutch law that is implemented by UWV. The law increases the income of benefit recipients to the level of the minimum income (sociaal minimum).

Know your rights

The links below set out your rights. They are not European Commission sites and do not represent the view of the European Commission.

European Commission publication and website:

Who do you need to contact?

You may apply for a benefit via:

  • werk.nl
  • information by phone: +31 09009294 (EUR 0.04 per minute).

If you are seeking advice or help with your EU rights, please apply for help from the EU.

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