News and events Tilburg University

New research into effectiveness of reintegration policy for long-term sick workers

Published: 03rd January 2023 Last updated: 03rd January 2023

Professor of Labor Expertise Roland Blonk has received a ZonMW grant for research into the effectiveness of reintegration policies in the second track, for long-term sick employees. This is a project in cooperation with Dutch nationwide reintegration company P-Centrum, a collective of employers, experts and researchers. The goal is to create a learning network of employers within which people who have limitations due to illness find it easier to connect to new work.

The goal of reintegration is to help employees who have long-term disabilities due to illness return to work as quickly and completely as possible. Both employer and employee have an obligation to make efforts to achieve this. Sometimes this fails. After a year, a second track process follows, in which a new, suitable employer is sought.

"The effectiveness of second track reintegration is sadly low at the moment," says Roland Blonk. "From a sample of 100 files of the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) , only 7 people found a job with another employer within the current reintegration process. We can do better than that. Given the current labor market, it is also about time. With the ZonMW grant we are going to build a research portfolio from a broad vision. The starting point is to create a network of organizations that offer work-study programs so that the long-term sick have more to choose from and find a suitable connection sooner. But how do you get that done? Under what conditions is it effective and what are the limiting factors? Inclusive employment is an important part of the studies. What exactly is this and how can you encourage it? Many people within the second track have physical or mental disabilities. They too often come off badly now."

Raymond Sweers, P-Center: "We expect companies and absentee workers to benefit greatly from this initiative and many clients and customers are already involved. This is a great starting point and we hope that during this project even more companies will join the innovative network. With a larger network, we can develop our services even further in quality and effectiveness for both employers and job seekers."  

Note for the press

ZonMw's grant is part of a total of seven awarded projects around better guidance for reintegration of sick employees into another organization. For questions, contact Femke Trommels, press officer Tilburg University at or 013-466 26 85