Saturday 06 June 2020

Ministers will give financial support to dumped temporary staff

The government will develop a scheme to give financial support to temporary workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis and who are not eligible for unemployment benefit, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday.

MPs from across the political spectrum have urged social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees to help people on staffing agency contracts who are being forced to turn to means-tested welfare benefits, unlike most other categories of workers.

Freelancers and the self-employed are able to claim up to €1,500 a month, without a check on their assets or their partner’s income. But staffing agency workers, who are being dumped en masse, were excluded from that scheme.

Ministers had hoped a second scheme, through which the government will pay up to 90% of the wage bill, would have encouraged employers to keep their temporary staff on their books. But in many cases, temps are the first who are being let go.

According to Labour MP Gijs van Dijk, the number of welfare benefit claims made since the start of the coronavirus crisis has gone up more than 300%.

The CNV trade union federation has also urged the government to set up an emergency fund to help people who find themselves unable to work because schools and daycare centres have been closed.

Koolmees is due to debate the issue with MPs on Tuesday.

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