Employers furious at unpaid paternity leave expansion plans

The main Dutch employers’ organisations have reacted angrily to plans by social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher to expand paternity leave from two to five days.

The government has to stop coming up with extra benefits, said the VNO-NCW in a website statement. ‘How on earth can politicians think about expanding rights to leave at a time when so many companies are going bust?’ the statement said.

At the moment, extra paternity leave is largely organised informally. However, by turning it into a right, ministers are contributing to the claim culture, the organisations said.

The extra days leave would be unpaid, Asscher said on Wednesday when he outlined his plans.

According to RTL news, Asscher is also planning to extend the right to unpaid care leave for family members to cover sick friends and neighbours. Currently, workers have the right to take six weeks unpaid leave to help with care duties.

Asscher’s plans to extend the right to care leave will be worked out in more detail next year, the broadcaster said.

Asscher says he hopes the change will make it easier for employees to combine care with work. The shift can also be seen in the government’s strategy to reduce institutionalised care and create a ‘participation’ society.


For example, the government’s shake up of home nursing and other care services will place more onus on local councils to determine what level of service people are entitled to and how much they should pay for it.

Councils will also look at how much help can be provided by family, friends and neighbours.

‘The government is of the opinion that people should try to better their own situations or to help their partners or family members who cannot play a full role in society under their own steam,’ junior health minister Martin van Rijn said in October. ‘The government will no longer automatically take on this role.’

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