Multi-tasking posties to help the elderly and check on weeds

Multi-tasking posties to help the elderly and check on weeds

PostNL is extending its pilot schemes for multi-tasking postmen from next year, the AD writes. By taking on extra jobs, PostNL hopes to keep the delivery service profitable, now that the amount of mail is going down some 10% a year. The postal company already has a number of pilot schemes in place. In Amsterdam and Almelo postmen are reading water meters apart from their postal duties and in Almelo they have been photographing green spaces to help municipal environmental department Twente Milieu find out if they are tackling weeds efficiently. In Gelderland postmen are checking the quality of roads while in Rotterdam they are participating in a pilot aimed at keeping an eye on isolated elderly people and sounding the alarm when mail accumulates or people don’t respond to the doorbell for a long period of time. In Best a scheme to help the elderly live independently for longer also employs postmen will be started next month. PostNL employees will be handing out movement monitors which they will also read at regular intervals. Waternet is happy about the results so far. Within weeks the PostNL workers, who are being paid extra for the additional work, were able to reach 600 out of 1000 Waternet clients who never respond to letters sent by the company. ‘It’s a great score’, Waternet spokesman Bart van Dijk told the paper. According to PostNL most postmen like the greater variation that doing different jobs brings to their work.  More >

New salary ceiling for public sector staff

Multi-tasking posties to help the elderly and check on weeds Presenters on Dutch public broadcasting channels are to face the same salary restrictions as other public sector workers and earn no more than €181,000 a year, ministers have decided. The new pay limit, the same salary as a government minister, should also apply to senior health care officials, ministers say. The salary ceiling has been in place for public sector executives for several years. Introducing a ceiling on salaries will boost confidence in the public sector, home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk said in a statement. 'Organisations which carry out a public duties, paid by the taxpayer or through premiums, must be paid a socially acceptable salary,' the statement said. Several high profile presenters are known to earn well above the new limit, broadcaster RTL said. Matthijs van Nieuwkerk, who presents the popular chat show De Wereld Draaijt Door, earned some €580,000 in 2015. DJ Giel Beelen and presenters Paul de Leeuw, Antoinette Hertsenberg and Jeroen Pauw are also thought to be among the sector's high earners. Medical specialists and air traffic controllers are not covered by the legislation.  More >

Jobless total down, especially in young

Unemployment drops, especially in young people Youth unemployment has dropped below 10% for the first time since 2011, according to new figures from the UWV benefits agency. National statistics office the CBS reports on Thursday that unemployment dropped by an average of 8,000 people a month in the most recent three months of figures. In January, 480,000 people were unemployed in the Netherlands, 5.3% of the population. A total of 419,000 were claiming unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, people in paid employment increased by an average of 16,000 a month in the same quarter. There was, however, an increase in unemployment in people working in seasonal sectors such as construction, agriculture and temp agencies, particularly men and under-35s. January also saw a spike in new unemployment claims from former banking staff.   More >

Report warns on flexible workforce impact

Multi-tasking posties to help the elderly and check on weeds The increasing flexibility in employment contracts is creating new vulnerable groups in society, according to the government's policy advisory unit WRR. Too much flexibility is leading to psychological problems such as stress and a lack of future perspective, as well as growing insecurity among young people who want to buy a home or start a family, the WRR report said. In addition, the report said, too much flexibility could have an impact on the wider economy, if it leads to less innovation and education. Around one third of the Dutch working population have a short term or flexible employment contract, the highest proportion in Europe. The WRR says it does no consider a return to 'how things used to be' is either an option or desirable. However, the government should look at adapting the rules and setting a good example as an employer itself. For example, the social security system could be adapted to reduce the difference in provisions for people on permanent and temporary contracts.  More >

More sick days for permanently employed

Workers on permanent contracts take more sick days People on permanent contracts take twice as many sick days as people on temporary contracts, Trouw reported on Friday. According to a report by research institute TNO, absenteeism through illness among people on temporary contracts is 2% compared to 4% for people with permanent jobs. This means people on permanent contracts are absent through illness an average four days of every hundred working days. People on zero-hour contracts, temporary agency workers, the self-employed and free lancers also take fewer sick days. Selection TNO says one reason for the discrepancy is that employers select workers based on the state of their health. Temporary workers who have frequently called in sick are not as likely to be offered another temporary contract. Age is another factor: people on temporary contracts tend to be young and therefore generally healthier. The self-employed and freelance workers who take sick days feel the consequences in their own pocket and therefore have a strong incentive to keep working, the report says. They are also under less pressure because they have more freedom to schedule their work. Exceptions to the rule are the self-employed who work in trade, business services and transport who take even more sick days then their permanently employed colleagues. TNO says this may be because they are not as independent as their status might suggest and that they are doing the same jobs in the same circumstances as their colleagues.  More >