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Both the employer and the employee have obligations during a period of incapacity for work. These are aimed at getting the employee back to work as quickly as possible. The employee is obliged to cooperate in his rehabilitation. He has to, for example, comply with any reasonable requirements of the employer, cooperate in the preparation of a plan of approach and carry out any suitable work offered to him.

When an employee makes it impossible to check whether he is incapacitated for work, the employer may suspend the wages over such period, since the employer can in that case not establish whether he is obliged to continue to pay the wages.

If it turns out later that the employee was indeed incapacitated for work, the employer will have to pay the wages as yet.

This will be different when the employee does not cooperate in his rehabilitation because, for instance, he refuses suitable work. In that case, there may be a ground to stop the payment of wages. When an employee decides to cooperate in his rehabilitation as yet, wages will only be payable as from that moment; and therefore not with retroactive effect over the period that the employee did not cooperate in his rehabilitation.

The employer will have to inform the employee in writing about its intention prior to applying such a sanction, and communicate the alleged grounds therefor.

Employers should note that continuing to pay the wages of an employee who fails to comply with his rehabilitation obligations, may have adverse consequences for the employer: the UWV may impose a sanction upon the the employer, which will extend the period during which the employer is obliged to continue to pay an employee’s wages (‘loonsanctie’), because the employer has failed to stimulate the employee to comply with his rehabilitation obligations.

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