Some 380,000 contract workers have no buffer if they lose their job: audit office


The national audit office said on Wednesday that some 380,000 contract workers in the Netherlands do not have enough money to support themselves if they lost their jobs.

In total one in five people who work on a flexible, zero hours or call-out contract have less than €1,000 in their bank account and do not have a partner who could support them, the audit office says in a new report.

It is precisely these employees, who work on temporary contracts or earn their money as a temporary or on-call worker, who need such a buffer the most,’ the audit office said. ‘They are also more likely to be faced with periods of unemployment than the 4.8 million people who have a permanent employment contract.’

Some 1.9 million people have some form of flexible contract, the audit office said. And while many are under the age of 35, some 20% are older, the audit office said. The figures in the report date up to 2017.


Two government-commissioned reports published earlier this year highlight the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of employment and recommended the government take action to narrow the gap.

In January, a commission led by former civil service chief Hans Borstlap, said the Netherlands needs to take ‘drastic steps’ to reform the labour market if the country wants to maintain its current high level of prosperity.

The current rules, Borstlap said, are causing unnecessary social and economic problems, and there are particular concerns about the rise in self-employment which, he said, is driving insecurity and hurting innovation.

Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees said last month the difference between permanent and flexible employment contracts has become visibly wider during the coronavirus pandemic but it will be up to the next cabinet to close the gap.

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