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Sick: still or again?

A sick employee usually gets two years of dismissal protection. How should that period be calculated if the employee calls in sick again after a short time at school?

As a gymnastics teacher, Daan is a fanatic athlete. During a crossfit class he goes through his back, making it difficult for him to move. Because work is not possible now, the teacher calls in sick. Fortunately, after a year of intensive physiotherapy, Daan seems to have made a full recovery. The company doctor also feels the same way and the employer includes the teacher in the schedule again. Full of good courage, Daan again stands in front of the class.


After a month and a half, the unlucky person is again felled by illness and this time it is corona. The infection appears to have a long aftermath, as a result of which Daan is out for a long time. The teacher discusses his future with the employer. The school believes that the teacher will soon be ill for two years and will then have to apply for disability benefit. Daan doubts this is true, because he previously suffered from other medical problems. In addition, he has fully recovered from his back problems in the meantime. He submits his question to the legal department of the AOb.

Different periods of illness may be added together, even if their cause is different. If the employee has recovered for at least four weeks in the meantime, the period of illness will come to an end

A trade union lawyer writes to him that according to the main rule, different periods of illness can be added together, even if the cause is different. If the employee has recovered for at least four weeks in the interim, the period of illness will come to an end. In the event of a new report of illness, the employee then has two years of dismissal protection. The counter will then start running again.
The opinion of the company doctor seems clear here and Daan was back at work for at least four weeks. With his failure due to corona, a new period of illness has started. A benefit application is therefore not on the agenda for the time being, because Daan is entitled to wages. Also, the employer cannot yet terminate the employment contract due to illness.

New illness period

The teacher submits the email to his employer and the teacher receives a message from HR. It states that Daan was still partially ill in the administration when he had recovered from his back. The employee admits that it is actually incorrect, because according to the company doctor he had fully recovered. The organization corrects the data and Daan is given the space to work on his recovery again. The benefit application is not yet on the agenda, because a new period of illness started when he got corona.

With some regularity, the AOb similar situations occur. It is advisable to always look critically at the period of illness. The employee may be entitled to dismissal protection for a longer period of time. Also, only then does a benefit entitlement have to be used up later.

This section is based on practical experience of AOblawyers and is published every month in the Education magazine. All members receive this sheet. Become a member! 

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