A record 4.7 million people in the Netherlands currently work fewer than 36 hours a week and 3.2 million of them are women, national statistics agency CBS has told news website Nu.nl.
“An increasing number of full-timers want to work fewer hours and there are a lot of pensioners who also work part-time,” CBS chief economist Peter Hein van Mulligen said.
While more men are also cutting their hours, so many women work part-time because of the Dutch culture, he said. “Women take care of the children and relatives, and run the household,” he said.
In addition, the shortage of workers has allowed people applying for jobs to become more demanding about their terms and conditions. And that means they are more likely to be given the green light to work fewer hours, he said.
The OECD last month called on the new cabinet to tackle the labour shortage, and suggested people in the Netherlands should start working longer hours.
In particular, changes to income tax and supplementary benefits for people on low incomes could help, as would providing more free childcare which the outgoing government had planned to do, the OECD said.
“But why should people work more hours if they can make ends meet with what they have?” economist Nic Vrieselaar told Nu.nl. “Many people find free time important. And by working fewer hours you have more time for hobbies, the family and grandchildren.”
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