Council officials’ jobless benefits ‘too good’

The government should slash the unemployment benefit package for politicians and local council executives because it is too generous and complicated, according to Rotterdam official Domininc Schrijer in the NRC.

‘It is impossible to explain to ordinary citizens that they have to apply for jobs while former politicians and council chiefs can sit at home on the taxpayer,’ Schrijer told the paper.
On Saturday, the AD reported that Rotterdam city council has to pay almost €1.5m a year to former council officials. Last week, Rotterdam’s education chief stepped down, becoming the fifth council executive to resign in the current 2006-2010 period.
Executives who quit can claim jobless benefits on the basis of how many years they were in office. For the first year they get 80% of their annual income – or €105,000. In the following years that is reduced to 70%, the paper says. Civil service benefits are known as wachtgeld or waiting money.
Executives who are over the age of 50 and have worked in politics for the past 10 years can claim benefit until reaching retirement age. Nor do they have to apply for jobs.
Ordinary workers who lose their jobs get 75% of their last earned salary up to a maximum of €183.15 a day for two months. After that the benefit is cut to 70%. The jobless are entitled to one month’s unemployment benefit for every year in work for a maximum of just over three years. The unemployed must also apply for any suitable job.
Schrijer wants the home affairs ministry to introduce a new code of conduct for council officials who quit. ‘They resign and we are left paying the bill,’ he said.

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