Social affairs ministry inspectors and tax officials fined staffing agencies a total €5m for breaking employment rules last year, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher told parliament on Monday.
The fines, handed out after normal inspections revealed irregularities, included offences such as illegal employment, paying below minimum wage level, forgery of documents and exploitation of workers.
In total, 1,300 staffing agencies were visited by government inspectors and 42 formal investigations were started, the minister said in a briefing.
Parliamentary researchers said last year some 6,000 illegal employment agencies were recruiting workers for seasonal and temporary jobs in the Netherlands, mainly from central and eastern Europe. Many are put up in sub-standard accommodation and paid below the minimum wage.
Asscher also wants to stop people convicted of running rule-breaking staffing agencies from starting up a new operation and is also looking into the possibility of publishing lists of staffing agencies which have been fined.
In total, 400 staffing agencies had their licences withdrawn last year and 4,000 were written to, ordering them to apply for a formal licence, the minister’s report shows.