Further public sector pay limits on the cards, 5,000 may be hit

Up to 5,000 people would be affected if the government reduced the maximum salary in the public sector to that of a government minister, home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk told the NRC on Wednesday.


The figure is a rough estimate, a spokesman for the minister confirmed.
On Tuesday the senate approved new legislation limiting salaries in the public and semi-public sector to a maximum of 130% of a government minister’s pay packet.
10 years
The new law, which has been 10 years in the making, effectively seals top pay scales in the public sector at around €190,000. Some 700 people will see their pay packages cut from January 1, the NRC said. The lower pay levels are being phased in over a four-year period.
But the new cabinet has plans to reduce the upper limit in line with a ministerial salary at a later date.
A Dutch government minister earns €144,000 a year plus expenses according to the government website rijksoverheid.nl.
The legislation passed on Tuesday also fixes golden handshakes in the public sector at a maximum €75,000 and bans bonuses, profit sharing schemes and other forms of performance-related pay.
Across the board
The new rules will cover all government departments, plus the healthcare system, housing corporations, education and other public sector bodies. Voluntary agreements are already in place in most areas but are widely flouted.
For example, in September the Financieele Dagblad reported one third of housing corporation chiefs earned more than the maximum agreed for public sector officials.
Of the 285 pay packages which came under the spotlight, 83 broke the official pay barrier. And 25% of the big earners were in charge of small institutions with fewer than 10,000 houses, the paper said.
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