Jobless benefit plan under fire

A minister’s plan to bring back worker contributions for unemployment benefit (ww) has been criticised by MPs from across the politicial spectrum.

Junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma said in an interview with Saturday’s Volkskrant she wanted to bring back employee contributions, which were scrapped a year ago. She told the paper she was considering a premium of 0.5% of gross salary.
The money would be used to fund the part-time unemployment benefit scheme which allows companies to reduce staff hours by up to 50%.
‘It would be good if people in safe jobs did something to help those who are threatened with losing theirs,’ the minister said.
‘This would be against all agreements with the cabinet,’ a spokesman for the ruling Christian Democrats told the paper.
And a spokesman for the FNV trade union federation said: ‘Employers and workers have already paid a lot. There are billions of euros in the benefit funds.’
Spending power
The Volkskrant says social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner is opposed to bringing back a worker ww premium because of the effect on spending power. Instead, he plans to pay for part-time ww by cutting spending on training and reintegration schemes.
Last week the unemployment benefit office warned that the part-time ww scheme was depleting the benefit’s reserves which will shrink by €3bn to €6.8bn this year.
The benefit office called for the employers premium to be doubled to 7%.

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