Corporate bonuses should be capped at 20% of salary, Dutch finance minister says

finance minister Jeroen DijsselbloemAll corporate bonuses should be capped at 20% of salary, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Thursday.

Writing in the Volkskrant, the minister criticised a commission which is currently drawing up a new code of conduct for listed companies for not doing enough to limit bonuses for senior executives.

Bonuses are continuing to rise and the gap between executives and average worker pay is becoming absurd, the minister said. At Ahold, Heineken and Unilever, for example, executives earn over 100 times as much as the average worker, he said.

The financial services sector, Dijsselbloem said, has taken steps to limit bonuses. This was, he pointed out, one of the conditions for the government bailout of several banks during the economic crisis.

In addition, he said, the government is trying to rein in companies in which the government has a stake, such as the NS, KLM, Schiphol and Holland Casino. In such companies, salaries have been brought down and bonuses limited to 20% of annual wages, he said.

Read a translation of the column

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