Small firms want changes to sick pay rules

Small firm bosses say they should not be made to foot the bill if workers take unnecessary risks with their health and end up claiming sick pay, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.

The paper says the economic downturn means small firms are increasingly unwilling to take on new staff partly because of the requirement they fund sick pay for workers who become injured outside work.
‘To ensure small firms continue to generate jobs, we have to break through the taboo which says there is no difference between work-related and private risks,’ Mark van der Horst, the chairman of the small firms’ association MKB in Amsterdam, told the paper.
In total, some 850,000 people work in the sectors where employers are urging change, the Telegraaf says.

Too expensive

‘A window cleaning company with three employees cannot carry the extra cost of losing a colleague to injury,’ Frits Huffnagel, chairman of the Fokwa small firms association said.
The situation in the Netherlands with regard to risk is skewed, Huffnagel said, pointing out that employers would be responsible for paying staff who were injured while taking part in a riot.
However, the FNV trade union federation dismissed the plan as ‘unsavoury’. ‘No-one goes on a skiing holiday to break a leg,’ a spokesman said.
In Dutch law, employers are responsible for paying sick workers at least 70% of their salary for two years. Many pay deals include a top up to 100% in the first year.
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