Unions, employers agree deal to keep jobless benefit at three years

Unions, employers and ministers have reached a deal to ensure unemployment benefit remains payable for three years, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

The government had planned to slash the benefit to one year at 70% of salary and one year at welfare benefit level, much to the fury of unions. Employers were also not in favour of the move, saying it is the wrong thing to do at a time of high unemployment.

But now, the Volkskrant says, several weeks of talks on economic reforms between employer associations and unions appear to have reached a compromise.

Premiums

The new deal would involve government funded benefits for two years and a third year which would be paid by workers and employers. That could amount to a premium of around €10 a month.

At the moment, people who have worked for at least 26 of the previous 38 weeks are entitled to three months of unemployment benefit. That rises to a maximum 38 months for people who have worked for 38 weeks. The payout is 70% of last earned salary.

It is not clear from the Volkskrant report how high the new-look ww benefits would be.

Disabled

The talks have also reached agreement on dropping a government commitment to ensure companies with over 25 staff employ 5% disabled workers. This will now become a ‘voluntary quota’, the Volkskrant said.

The government is keen to see employers and unions reach agreement on a broad range of reforms because this will make it easier to win opposition support and make sure they are passed in the upper house of parliament.

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