Bonum Certa Men Certa

When the Employer Makes You Too Sick to Go to Work (New EPO Document)

posted by Roy Schestowitz on Jun 24, 2024

Back to Basics: What to do when you fall sick? How to proceed when you or a colleague is sick, at home or abroad

THE EPO's staff representatives in the Hague (LSCTH) unleashed a new document this month. "There are many administrative tasks that we need to keep in mind, including the procedure to follow when we fall sick," they said. "The Local Staff Committee The Hague produced a simple guide with fool-proof ways of registering when you are sick, or a colleague is sick. We recommend that you archive this document for your future use."

Here's the full text (redactions would be unnecessary):

Staff Committee The Hague
Comité du personnel de La Haye
Personalausschuss Den Haag

Rijswijk, 12 June 2024

Back to Basics:
What to do when you fall sick, at home or abroad?

There are a large number of administrative tasks that we need to keep in mind, including the procedure to follow when we fall sick. Here, we give a simple guide with fool-proof ways of registering when you are sick, or a colleague is sick. We recommend that you archive this document for your future use.

There are essentially two main scenarios, which are:

A. you fall sick while at your place of employment, or

B. you fall sick abroad or while on holiday.

The first scenario (A) is the case where you fall sick (this includes anything from a cold to a broken arm) while you are at your place of employment, be that teleworking from home or working from the EPO premises.

In that case there are 3 steps to follow to take sick leave and get it certified:

A1. Contact your line manager to inform them that you are sick and request to be registered on sick leave. It is advised not to share any details of your health condition with anyone other than health professionals: your doctor, or the staff at the Health and Safety department.

A2. Call your GP service provider (Huisartsenpraktijk in NL) or get in touch with Health and Safety at the EPO, explain your complaints and follow their instructions. These instructions might vary, from being advised to take some rest and paracetamol, to an actual appointment on the phone or a visit to the doctor. Regardless of whether you are given an appointment for a visit or not, this second step is complete once you actually talked to the GP service provider or Health and Safety at the EPO and follow their instructions.

A3. When you have recovered, you follow the “return to work” link (first link, see image below) from the email with subject “Sick leave registered” in your inbox (http://q/sick_return). To certify the leave, you can either follow the third link in that email (http://q/medical_cert), and in the form click on “doctor consulted” providing name, phone and address of your GP service provider and name of your main doctor if you have one (many GP service providers have a rolling doctor presence and you may be talking to a health professional in every other consultation). Alternatively, if you had a medical consultation with a doctor or nurse from the OHS department in the Office, they may have already certified the sick leave. The sickness certificate indicated in Circular 367 is rarely available in the Netherlands, as doctors don’t issue such certificates. Providing the doctors address and name indicated above obviates the need to provide that certificate.

EPO sickness mail

The second scenario (B) is the case where you fall sick while abroad and/or while on holidays. In that case the steps are as follows:

B1. You let your line manager know as in the case above, indicate that you are sick, and ask them to register you on sick leave. If you are abroad, indicate the address you are staying at. It is advised not to share any details of your health condition with anyone other than health professionals: your GP service provider, or the staff at the Health and Safety department.

B2. You call your GP service provider as in the first scenario above, and you follow their instructions. In the case you are abroad and are invited to an appointment, you might be offered a phone consultation or be invited to visit a doctor abroad. In any case you follow their instructions.

B3. You send an email to Health & Safety ( with your line manager in cc indicating that you are sick, that you have contacted your line manager and that you have consulted your GP service provider. It is advised to do this promptly so that your leave days can be reverted into sick leave days.

B4. When you have recovered:
- if you are on holidays, send an email to putting in copy your line manager and indicating that you have recovered;
- If you are teleworking abroad, follow the steps under A3 of the first scenario (click on return to work, etc...).

We would lastly advise you to keep in your agenda the contact of your Staff Committee (, OHS (+31 70 340 4040), the email of your line manager, along with the present guide.

Your staff representatives,

EPO colleagues have often become sick and even suicidal due to the strenuous nature of their work, including bullying from managers. This is well documented. To make matters worse, when they were off sick the Office sent people to their home to check they were not "cheating", even if that was patently illegal. Thank Benoît Battistelli for this.

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