This film explains in German what the unemployment rules are if you live in Germany and work in the Netherlands.

For the cross-border rules on unemployment, it is important that you were a cross-border commuter before you became unemployed. A cross-border commuter works in another EU country than the one where they live and they return to the country of residence at least once a week.

Complete unemployment

If you become completely unemployed, you apply for an unemployment benefit in Germany at the employment agency. To do this, you need form PDU1 from the UWV in the Netherlands. You can apply for this form as follows:

  • digitally at the UWV
  • by telephone at +31 888 982 001
  • in writing to the address:
    afdeling Verdragen
    Postbus 86
    7550 AB Hengelo
    the Netherlands

You must register as a jobseeker with the employment agency 3 months before you become unemployed. If there are less than 3 months between the date you were informed about your unemployment and the first day of your unemployment, you must register as a jobseeker with the employment agency within 3 days.

If you are unemployed and receive unemployment benefit from the employment agency, you have the option of going abroad to look for work for three months while keeping your unemployment benefit. It may be possible to extend this period by three months. The cross-border search for work does not affect your unemployment benefit.

You can also register for unemployment digitally at the employment agency using your identity card with the online ID function and claim an unemployment benefit. If you have Dutch nationality, use your DigiD.

Partial unemployment

In the case of partial unemployment, i.e. if you keep part of your job in the Netherlands, you claim unemployment benefit from the UWV in the Netherlands. Partial unemployment occurs, among other things, if you have another employer in addition to the employer with whom you become unemployed or if you are still self-employed in the Netherlands.

Unemployment due to employer insolvency

If your Dutch employer becomes insolvent, you will initially be entitled to continued payment of your wages from the UWV. Only after this continued payment of wages can you receive German unemployment benefits. For insolvency benefits, you can contact the UWV by telephone at (+31 888 982 001). However, you must immediately register with the employment agency as a jobseeker.

Severance pay

Transitievergoeding (severance pay) is a legal compensation to which an employee is usually entitled when an employment contract ends or is terminated. This compensation can be paid in the form of money. If there are other agreements in a cao (collective agreement). This may include, for example, assistance in finding another job.

Who is entitled to receive it?

Not everyone who is dismissed or whose employment contract is terminated is entitled to Transitievergoeding. In most cases where there is an entitlement, the person has been dismissed or a fixed-term employment contract has not been renewed.

If an employment contract is terminated by mutual agreement, the Transitievergoeding is not paid. There is also no entitlement to severance pay in the event of termination without notice. If the dismissal is due to reaching retirement age, there is also no entitlement to severance pay.

If the employment contract is terminated due to long-term occupational disability, there is a claim to severance pay. In this case, the employer may receive financial compensation from the UWV.

How much is the severance pay?

For each year of employment, a compensation of 1/3 of the monthly salary is paid. For each partial year, the compensation is calculated pro rata.

In the case of successive employment contracts (provided they were not interrupted for more than 6 months), all periods of employment are added together. Periods worked for the same employer through a temporary employment agency are also counted.

When calculating the monthly wage, the fixed salary including holiday pay and any other fixed allowances, such as an end-of-year bonus, are taken into account. In the case of a call-up contract, the actual hours worked and earnings are taken into account.

The (legal) severance pay is capped at € 86,000 gross (2022).

On the Dutch government website there is a calculation tool that can be used to estimate how high the severance pay could be.

Tax and social security contributions must be paid on the severance pay. The best way to find out about this is to contact the Belastingdienst [tax office].

Is the Transitievergoeding always paid in full?

If the employer has paid for certain courses and training, these costs can be deducted from the severance pay. Generally, these are courses and training attended to avoid unemployment or to find another job.

A collective agreement may also provide for other arrangements, e.g. assistance in finding a new job may be agreed, which replaces the financial compensation.

Are there any effects on German unemployment benefits?

If you live in Germany, you are dependent on German unemployment benefits in the event of full unemployment. It is possible that a severance payment will be counted towards unemployment benefits. If all termination regulations such as notice period, termination by the employer, etc. are respected, the Transitievergoedingwill not be counted against the German unemployment benefit. In many cases, the Transitievergoeding and sometimes other allowances are included in a settlement agreement (vaststellingsovereenkomst). In such a case, it may be advisable to have the settlement agreement checked by the responsible employment agency.

PAWW benefit

Additional unemployment benefit for residents of Germany who become unemployed in the Netherlands

A worker who lives in Germany and becomes unemployed in the Netherlands must apply for unemployment benefit in Germany. The duration of unemployment benefit is limited. In most cases, it is 1 year if at least 24 months have been worked. For older unemployed persons (58 years or older) the duration of benefit can be a maximum of 24 months.

A Dutch unemployment benefit depends on the years worked and is paid for a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 24 months.

Old and new unemployment law in the Netherlands

In the past, the maximum benefit duration in the Netherlands was 36 months. Employers and employees have the possibility to counteract the reduction of the benefit period by means of a collective agreement. In many collective agreements, the difference in benefit duration between the old and the new legislation has now been eliminated. This means that a calculation is made according to the old and the new legislation. If it turns out that the entitlement to social benefits under the old law would last longer, then the unemployed person can receive a PAWW benefit instead during the missing months of benefits.

PAWW Foundation

Employers’ and workers’ organisations have established the PAWW Foundation. PAWW stands for: Private Aanvulling WW en loongerelateerde WGAWW is the unemployment benefit and WGA is the reduced earning capacity pension. This foundation is responsible for collecting contributions and paying benefits during the third year of unemployment.

Benefits are also paid in Germany

This repair of the duration of benefits applies not only to residents of the Netherlands who receive Dutch unemployment benefits, but also to residents of Germany who receive German unemployment benefits.

When assessing whether a resident of Germany is entitled to the supplementary unemployment benefit from the Netherlands, the duration of the benefit is calculated on the basis of the Dutch rules. Example: If you are entitled to an unemployment benefit in Germany for 12 months and this would be 18 months in the Netherlands, then the supplementary unemployment benefit from the Netherlands will only be paid after 18 months of unemployment.

This arrangement is particularly interesting for older unemployed people. They are entitled to unemployment benefits for up to 2 years in both the Netherlands and Germany. After that, unemployed persons in both the Netherlands and Germany are entitled to social benefits for an additional year.

Partially unable to work

This scheme does not only apply to the unemployed, but also to people who have become incapacitated for work while working in the Netherlands. This benefit may decrease over time, depending on the years of employment. Here, too, there are increases in the duration of the benefit.


However, some conditions must be met:

  • There must be a collective agreement regulating WW repair.
  • The unemployed person must have worked for at least 10 years;
  • The benefit must be applied for from the PAWW 1 month before the legal benefit expires;
  • They must still be unemployed and available to work on the labour market. There is an obligation to apply;
  • In Germany, you are only entitled to this benefit after the legal German and Dutch benefit period has expired.
  • This benefit does not entitle you to Dutch health insurance; it is a private benefit.

For more information, contact the PAWW Foundation: www.spaww.nl/deutsch.