Government to toughen up temporary employment rules

Social affairs minister Karien van Gennip outlines her plans. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen ANP
Social affairs minister Karien van Gennip outlines her plans. Photo: Robin van Lonkhuijsen ANP

The government is to press ahead with plans to tighten up the rules on temporary contracts, and introduce compulsory invalidity insurance for freelancers, as part of a package of measures to reform the labour market.

In total, social affairs minister Karien van Gennip plans to introduce between five and seven pieces of legislation next year, she told the Financieele Dagblad. Plans for reforms were first mooted by a government commission three years ago and were also included in the coalition agreement.

In particular, the cabinet plans to scrap zero hours contracts for adults to give people more job security. In addition, employers who offer the same person three contracts of a year will have to wait five years before employing them again, rather than six months as at present.

The government is also planning to introduce a compulsory invalidity insurance for freelancers which will pay them a basic income if they become unable to work. The scheme will be administered by the benefits payment agency UWV and will kick in after a year.

Too many employees on flexible contracts or who are self-employed do not have sufficient financial security, Van Gennip said at the launch of the plans. ‘At the same time, small firms in particular are reluctant to hire people on a permanent basis. This has to change.’

Reaction to the plans for temporary contacts have been welcomed by unions and employers. They will, said Ingrid Thijssen, chairwoman of employers association VNO-NCW, end the contracts which make you ‘available for everything but with the right to nothing’.

Groups representing freelancers say the plans for compulsory insurance will be extremely expensive but have welcomed the opt out for freelancers who have made alternative arrangements should they become unable to work.

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