Thursday, February 16, 2012

Netherlands: Employer Support for Older Workers, but Not for Those Over 65

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) has issued a report showing how personnel policy has changed in the Netherlands over the last ten years, describing, among other things, the trend in the inward and outward movements of staff in various sectors, mapping out developments in remuneration, training and employees' work-life balance, and devoting particular attention to the policy on older workers.

One focus of the study, "Demand for Labour [Vraag naar arbeid] 2011," was to look at the extent to which employers have taken up government recommendations and see if employers are taking a more positive view of older workers if the costs of employing this group are reduced. The results were mixed, with employers looking more favorably on workers over 60, but not workers over 65.

With respect to the first group, between 2001 and 2009, the number of employers who consider it good for their organization that employees should continue to work beyond the age of 60 rose from 41% to 55%, employees themselves have become more positive on working beyond the age of 60. "More than half the employers in virtually all sectors now regard it as desirable that employees should continue working beyond age 60. The only exception is the education sector, where only 43% of employers were in favour of this in 2009."

However, "support for continuing to work beyond the age of 65 years is low among both employers and employees; in 2009, only 15% of employers considered staff working beyond the current retirement age to be good for their organisation, while sup- port among employees was just 14%." However, the report took a positive spin even on this:
This suggests that there is still a long way to go in generating sufficient support to raise the retirement age. This does not appear to be an impossible task: after all, support for working beyond the age of 60 has also increased over the last decade. It may be that the norms as to when an employee is considered ‹too old› will to some extent shift of their own accord as the state retirement age rises and the labour force ages.
Sources: SCP Press Release (Feburary 14, 2012); DutchNews.nl "Employers do not want older workers" (February 14, 2012)

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