Wage freeze or wage suspension?

published by: Marieke Hartkoorn posted on August 29, 2022 reading time

In order to effectively deploy a wage freeze or wage suspension, it is crucial to know the distinction and how to deploy the means. In this article we will further discuss the wage freeze or wage suspension as far as these are related to incapacity for work.

The commitment

Choose the right tool and deploy it in the right way!

The choice of a wage freeze or suspension is not free. The law prescribes in which situations which means can be chosen (see below).

Furthermore, it is important that the chosen remedy is deployed in the right way. A pay freeze or pay suspension can only be lawfully used if the employer immediately informs the employee of the use of the remedy and also states why the remedy is being used. If an employer fails to do so, this cannot be rectified afterwards and the salary will always have to be paid back, possibly with a statutory increase and interest.

Wage freeze


The basis for the wage freeze is found in Section 7:629 (3) (d) of the BW. This article is an exception to the main rule of the general obligation to continue to pay wages in the event of incapacity for work of Article 7:629 (1) of the Civil Code.

Impact of the measure

The measure has a permanent effect. A wage freeze imposed on good grounds and properly, is permanent. The employee cannot receive back pay for the period of the wage freeze. If the situation for which the wage freeze was imposed has ended, then the wage payment will start again.


The wage freeze may be imposed in the following - briefly defined - cases, for the duration that those cases occur.

As an employee:

  • intentionally caused the disease;
  • provided false information at the time of the employment examination;
  • hinders or delays his healing;
  • does not perform or is prevented from performing the suitable work;
  • Failure to cooperate in the creation, evaluation and adjustment of a plan of action;
  • fails to submit the application for WIA benefits or submits it late.

Wage Suspension


The basis for the suspension of wages is found in article 7:629 paragraph 6 of the Civil Code. The purpose of the wage suspension is to induce the employee to comply so that the employer can establish entitlement to wages.

Effect measure

The measure has a temporary effect. If at any time the employee does return to compliance, wages must be paid, retroactively.


A wage suspension may be imposed if an employee fails to comply with the employer's regulations necessary to establish entitlement to wages.

The main rule is that a sick employee, who cannot perform the stipulated work, is entitled to continued payment of wages. The employer must therefore know when the employee is ill and must also be able to determine whether or not the employee can perform the stipulated work.

For this purpose, the employer may establish regulations with which the employee must comply. For example, the obligation for an employee to report the incapacity for work to the employer immediately after it occurs, to keep himself available for check-ups, to visit the company doctor and to make announcements about the incapacity for work and any treatment initiated.


If you would like advice on deploying a wage freeze or wage suspension, please do not hesitate to contact our specialists.