A company doctor is someone who gives advice in the area of employment and health. Companies can engage a company doctor, usually through an occupational health and safety service, to give advice and support on improving working conditions. They also help employees return to work as quickly and responsibly as possible. Moreover, individual employees can go to the company doctor if they have questions about individual and personal work-related health issues. This is called consultation hour. The new Dutch Working Conditions Act 2017 extended the preconditions. As an employer, you have the obligation to actively alert employees to the walk-in surgery hour, and the company doctor must have free access to the workplace.
Model text to inform employees
The company doctor can offer more than just advice and support in the areas prescribed by the Dutch Working Conditions Act. ArboNed's company doctor offers services to enable people to stay healthy at work and help people get healthy and return to work. We call this sustained employability.
Company doctor is a legally protected title and companies have the obligation to work together with these specialists. Since the new Working Conditions Act, employers are also under an obligation to enter into a basic contract with a working conditions service provider, laying down the minimum terms of service. Moreover, the company doctor's tasks are subject to three other statutory obligations. A company must engage a company doctor for:
- absence support and reintegration of employees
- pre-employment medical examinations
- periodical occupational health check (PAGO)
Company doctor, employment expert or doctor of medicine?
Employers and employees sometimes use the terms employment expert and company doctor interchangeably. But are they the same thing? No. Company doctor is a legally protected title and filed in the BIG register. All company doctors have trained as doctor of medicine, followed by a four-year specialist training. Employment experts have not had any specialist training. Under the statutory obligation from the Eligibility for Permanent Incapacity Benefit (Restrictions) Act, a company doctor is also consulted in the event of problem analysis. Employment experts are not authorised to do so. As such, ArboNed does not employ employment experts and only works with certified company doctors and doctors of medicine. A doctor of medicine is someone who has successfully completed their study of medicine. Doctors of medicine at ArboNed always work under supervision.
Tasks and responsibilities
A company doctor is a health and employment specialist. They work for the employee as well as the employer and give independent advice. They are bound by medical professional secrecy and have to comply with various privacy regulations. Their responsibilities include:
- They support employers in drafting prevention and absence policy and supporting and reintegrating sick employees.
- They have free access to the workplace at all times to get a better understanding of the working conditions and workload.
- They can be contacted by employees for questions, with or without health-related complaints, about their work in relation to their health.
- They can consult the prevention officer, works council and/or employee representative body.
- It is possible that an employee doubts the correctness of the advice given by the company doctor. In that case, they can always ask for a second opinion. The company doctor must always comply with this request, unless there are important reasons not to do so. A second opinion cannot be requested by the employer.
- Company doctors are under an obligation to report occupational diseases to the Netherlands Centre for Occupational Diseases.
Company doctor together with HR
If an employee is ill, effective communication between the employer, employee and company doctor is essential. What are the do’s and don’ts? The new Dutch Working Conditions Act has given the company doctor more powers in relation to prevention.
What are the benefits?
The professional field is very diverse, which stems from the fact that company doctors work for a wide variety of industries, employers and employees. An employee often faces inconvenient personal consequences of (long-term) illness, such as a decrease in income. But there also are negative consequences for companies. The continuity of work is under threat. And when you know that one day of absence costs €250, not taking action is not an option for an employer. So engaging a specialist to help with absence support, preventing absence and reducing the duration of absence helps both employees and organisations. By means of active absence support and management, the ArboNed company doctor helps you reduce absence and keep it at a low level.
The ArboNed company doctor
ArboNed company doctors are known for their specialist knowledge on absence and reintegration. They keep abreast of the latest developments by means of research, training courses, and other scientific methods. This way, they can do more for you in the area of absence and reintegration.
Taking out an absence subscription
Taking out a subscription with ArboNed means you will join one of the most renowned occupational health services in The Netherlands. Once you have taken out a subscription, you will receive the legally mandatory basic contract and have access to the company doctor.