‘Shorter working scheme to be extended’

Social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is to extend the government’s short time working scheme (wtv), possibly by two months, sources in The Hague say in Tuesday’s Volkskrant.

The scheme, which allows employers to cut staff hours or lay workers off temporarily for up to 24 weeks without it affecting their salaries, is due to end on March 1.
Companies which can prove that their turnover has gone down by at least 30% for a period of two months are eligible for the scheme. The government has set aside €200m from the unemployment benefit fund to pay for it.
The Telegraaf reports that electronics giant Philips has applied to the scheme for staff at its Middelburg car lamp production site. It wants to reduce hours for 150 workers by 41%.
The Volkskrant says that Donner is due to meet unions over the coming weeks to discuss ways of avoiding mass redundancies. For example, he wants unions to agree to a maximum 1% pay demand.

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