Thursday 27 April 2017

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Unskilled and flexible contractees most likely to claim invalidity benefits


People doing low skilled work or who are on flexible contracts are more likely to end up claiming invalidity benefit, a government committee said on Wednesday. More than half the people currently claiming invalidity benefits had a short-term or flexible contract and of those deemed unfit to work again, two-thirds have no qualifications, the committee of senior civil servants said. The research, which includes 15 recommendations for improvement, will be discussed by the outgoing cabinet on Wednesday and will also be used in the ongoing coalition negotiations, the Volkskrant said. The civil servants conclude that the overhaul of the system in 2006 has been effective, cutting the number of new claims from 100,000 a year to around 40,000 now. Some 1.5 million people are currently working on flexible contracts, while seven million have a permanent job. Income The civil servants say that so many people without skills have been labeled unfit to work is partly due to the system which is based on income, rather than the reason why someone is unable to work. Almost three quarters of people who are on 100% invalidity benefits could do some sort of job, but that is discouraged because of the likely effect on their income, the Volkskrant says, adding that ‘benefits have become an important income guarantee.’ Responsibility By contrast, people who have a permanent job are paid for the first two years of their illness by their employer and it is the employer’s responsibility to get them back to work. Employers also have to pay higher premiums if their staff claim invalidity benefit. Although this has led to a substantial drop in employer contributions and higher participation in the jobs market, employers do now tend towards tougher selection procedures for new staff or give shorter contracts, the report says.  More >

Deal to expand jobless benefits not final

Jobs The two big Dutch employers organisations said on Friday that they are not yet ready to agree a deal with the government and unions on expanding jobless benefit from two to three years. Social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher gave the green light for the deal on Thursday and it had appeared as if the deal had been finalised. However, the VNO-NCW and small firms association MKB-Nederland both said on Friday they needed more time to win approval for the agreement. ‘It is extremely complex which is why we want to talk it through properly with our members,’ the organisations said in a joint statement. ‘We expect the unions to understand our position as we have taken theirs into account.’ The outgoing government agreed when it came into power in 2012 to reduce unemployment benefit from three to a maximum of two years. However it left the window open for change, if unions and employers agreed. They reached agreement in principle on a new scheme in 2013. Although the longer period applies to all workers in principle, only older people are likely to qualify because the length of time people can claim ww depends on how long they have been working.  More >

Dutch jobless rate continues to fall

Jobs For the first time, more than half the women in the Netherlands over the age of 45  have a job, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday. The Dutch unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1% with the number of people in paid employment rising by 14,000 a month for the past three months. Almost 62% of women and 71% of men are now in work and the number of over-55s claiming unemployment benefit has also gone down, the CBS said. At the same time, the consumer confidence index has reached 26, its highest level since February 2001. Over the past 20 years, the index has averaged -3 but reached its highest level ever of +36 in January 2000. Consumer spending also continues to go up, rising 0.8% in February, although this is lower than in previous months, the CBS said.  More >

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