Friday 23 April 2021

Reforming labour market, tackling gig economy will be up to next cabinet: minister


The difference between permanent and flexible employment contracts has become visibly wider during the coronavirus pandemic but it will be up to the next cabinet to close the gap, social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees said on Wednesday.

Two government-commissioned reports published earlier this year highlight the advantages and disadvantages of different forms of employment and recommended the government take action to narrow the gap.

The recommendations in both reports show that the current cabinet is moving in the right direction, Koolmees said, but that fundamental changes will require more patience.

Nevertheless, Koolmees told MPs in his briefing that his ministry is looking into some of the recommendations and how they could be interpreted by subsequent governments.

For example, officials are looking at the way work is organised via platforms ‘to see if it is possible to treat working via a platform as a regular job and only allow platforms to use freelancers if they can prove otherwise.’

In January, a commission led by former civil service chief Hans Borstlap, said the Netherlands needs to take ‘drastic steps’ to reform the labour market if the country wants to maintain its current high level of prosperity.

The current rules, Borstlap said, are causing unnecessary social and economic problems, and there are particular concerns about the rise in self-employment which, he said, is driving insecurity and hurting innovation.

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