Mass sackings followed new rules on temporary contracts


At least 77,000 people on flexible work contracts have lost their jobs since parliament backed new legislation aimed at reducing reliance on temporary contracts in May 2019, according to ABN Amro research.

Some were replaced by freelancers, and women, youngsters and the low-skilled have been hardest hit, the research shows.

Legislation known as the Labour Market in Balance law (WAB) came into effect in January 2020 and was supposed to make it more attractive for employers to take on permanent staff.

The WAB made it some 5% more expensive for employers to use temporary contracts and cut unemployment benefit premiums for permanent staff. It also made it more expensive to sack temporary workers.

But instead, employers used the run-up period before the law came into effect to ditch temps and replace some of them with self-employed workers.

The impact has been particularly hard on sectors such as childcare, hospitality and home nursing, where costs are crucial, researcher Kamalika Patra told the Telegraaf. ‘An increase in costs, such as making temporary contracts more expensive, is difficult to cover in sectors where the margins are small,’ she said. ‘So then you get fired.’

In particular, companies which used flexible contracts to fill temporary shortages of labour have started using freelancers instead, Patra said.

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