Plans by social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees to increase the probation period for new employees from two to five months in an effort to encourage employers to offer workers a permanent contract will not gain a majority in parliament, the AD reports.
Unions and other labour market experts had been quick to condemn the plan because of the potential for abuse. They fear employers could look on the scheme as a new form of temporary contract and dismiss a worker at the end of the five months.
All four government parties – VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie – also think the risks of abuse are too great, and will tell Koolmees to ditch the plan during a debate on Thursday, the AD said.
The measure is part of a package aimed at reducing the legal gap between working as an employee or as a temporary worker. To this end, the rules for sacking staff have been relaxed while the period temporary staff can work on short contracts will be extended from two to three years.
Companies will also get a discount on unemployment benefit premiums if they take on permanent rather than temporary members of staff.
Some 5.3 million people in the Netherlands now have a permanent job, or around 60% of the total workforce, according to CBS figures at the end of last year. Two million people have a flexible contact and 830,000 people are classed as self-employed.
The situation has changed significantly over the past 15 years. In 2003 nearly 75% of workers had permanent contracts.
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