New redundancy rules will hit older staff

Plans to reduce golden handshakes and make it easier for companies to sack staff will hit older workers particularly hard, according to the Dutch personnel officers’ organisation NVP.

The organisation says it is raising the alarm because it wants to ensure a ‘reasonable’ approach to redundancy. ‘We work for employers but we also see the other side,’ NVP board member Andries Bongers told Trouw.
The new measures, which have not yet gone through parliament, are aimed at making the workforce more flexible. However, Bongers says workforces are already extremely flexible and no-one is offered a permanent contract any more.
Dutch redundancy packages are currently based on length of service, making older workers relatively more expensive to fire. But a planned €75,000 limit on golden handshakes will make it cheaper to get rid of long-term staff.
Seven out of 10 people aged 55 and over who lose their jobs are unemployed for at least a year, according to job centre figures.
The number of older jobless has gone up by 20% over the past year and now stands at over 81,000.
The government is also planning to reduce unemployment benefit to one year, after which the long-term unemployed will have to claim welfare or eat into their assets.

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