‘Staffing agencies are ripping off their foreign workers over health insurance’

red organic peppers growing in the gardenStaffing agencies are making thousands of euros each month by pocketing reductions on the health insurance policies of foreign workers, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

Health insurers offer group reductions on policies of between €10 and €15 per person per month. This reduction is then usually passed on by the employer to the employee.

Temporary foreign workers must have health insurance to work in the Netherlands which their staffing agency organises. However,  the Volkskrant says some agencies are paying the reduced premium but putting the full amount on their wage slip.

Rip off

In addition, some health insurers are enticing employers to rip off their workers. For instance, says the Volkskrant, HollandZorg will provide foreign workers with a policy at the full premium while the agency pays the lower premium and pockets the reduction.

‘This trick is used to steal from foreign workers, while Dutch workers have no chance of a job,’ Henry Stroek of the trade union federation CNV told the paper. He said he knows of between 1,000 and 2,000 firms whose health insurance has been organised in this way.

Level playing field

A spokesperson for HollandZorg, a small Deventer-based insurer and market leader in foreign workers, told the paper in a reaction that there is a level playing field for health insurers.

‘Every insurer is free to offer products which fall within the law,’ she said. ‘We have agreements with staffing agencies where the reduction goes to the employer and others where it goes to the employee.’

The government is against the practice and social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher announced a law to put a stop to it for the beginning of 2015. However, such a law has not yet been brought before parliament.

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