Less work due to the Corona virus?

Shortening working hours and a temporary unemployment benefit for employees may offer relief. In special situations, companies can have their staff work shorter hours. For example in case of an epidemic such as the Corona virus.


Conditions for short-time working

The following conditions can be applied for for a permit to reduce working hours from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW):

  • The company has been affected by a situation that does not fall under normal business risk.
  • The company expects at least 20% less work for a period of 20 to a maximum of 24 calendar weeks.

For which employees can working hours reduction be applied for?

The scheme applies to employees for whom the employer has an obligation to continue to pay wages. This arrangement does not apply to temporary workers and on-call workers with a zero-hour contract.



The permit is valid for a maximum of six weeks. If there is no improvement in the company after this period, an extension of the permit can be requested. The maximum term for short-time working is 24 weeks.


Procedure after receiving a permit

  • Immediately report the reduction in working hours to the UWV;
  • Apply for temporary unemployment benefit for employees no later than one week after the end of the permit period;
  • If the employees concerned meet the requirements of the Unemployment Insurance Act, they will receive this temporary benefit;
  • UWV reimburses afterwards the number of hours they did not work during the permit period;
  • This only applies to the hours for which the permit was granted;
  • The temporary benefit is paid to the employer. As a result, the employer has less labor costs, while the employee simply remains employed.

Need help?

Dutch Legal Experts is ready to advise you. If you need help with applying for a permit or unemployment benefits, this is of course also possible.


March 16, 2020