Jobless benefit changes just the start, says social affairs minister

Changes in unemployment benefit, which will see employers and unions pick up part of the bill, are the start of a new system, social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher says in an interview with the Volkskrant newspaper.

Last week, unions and employers agreed to come up with their own solutions to ensure people who lose their jobs after many years can keep claiming a third year of benefit. The government wanted to reduce jobless benefit (ww) to a maximum two years.


By 2020, unions and employers will primarily be responsible for the ww system, Asscher told the Volkskrant. This may be extended to incapacity benefits as well and means the benefits will become like a traditional insurance policy, with people directly paying their premiums, the minister said.



‘Because premiums are now paid by employers and via the tax system, people are not sufficiently aware of what they are paying for,’ Asscher said. ‘The new system will also stimulate employer and employee to invest in schooling, in good working conditions and in thinking about careers.’


Asscher is asking the government’s most senior advisory board, the SER, to look at new ways of organising unemployment benefit, the paper said.


The Volkskrant points out that the social security system was nationalised in 2000 by the then Labour, VVD and D66 government, after a parliamentary inquiry. Until 1995, benefits were in the hands of employers and unions who operated a string of local offices such as the GAK.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation