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Dutch insurer offers policy for World Cup "sick days"

Written by: Staff

AMSTERDAM, May 9 (Reuters) A Dutch insurer is offering employers in the country the chance to insure themselves against the sudden rise in staff sick days expected during next month's soccer World Cup.

Tens of thousands of Dutch workers phoned in ill during the European Championships in Portugal in 2004, with sickness levels rising 20 per cent on days when the Dutch national side played.

''We are expecting a lot of claims,'' said Dennis Massaar of insurer SEZ.

Under Dutch law, companies must pay employees who are too ill to report to work. They can insure themselves against this, but most policies apply only to absences longer than two weeks.

SEZ said it would waive the usual two-week time limit and pay out for any employees absent on the day of a Netherlands match or the day after, regardless of the excuse given.

''Obviously nobody will phone in and say they're ill because they want to watch the match or because they drank too much.'' REUTERS PG HT1938

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