Saturday, January 09, 2010

Netherlands: Proposal to Cut Duration of Unemployment Benefits to Encourage Older Workers To Seek Work

According to published reports, Chris Buijink, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands, has called for reducing the length of time people can claim unemployment benefit to encourage them to find work as quickly as possible. Writing in the economics journal "Economic Statistische Berichten" (ESB), Buijink suggested that a reduction in the length of time income-related jobless benefit is paid would be an important stimulus to find new work, particularly among older workers.
The long slide towards a pension must be made less attractive. Unemployment is still an attractive way out for many older workers,' he said. While there have been improvements in the job take-up rate among older workers, just 26% of people aged 60 to 64 still have a job, he pointed out.
However, "Christian Democrat spokesman Eddy van Hijum and Labour's Roos Vermeij told Trouw it was too simplistic to say older workers would be encouraged to stay in work if their benefit rights were cut." Instead, they argued, "efforts need to be made to change the working culture and employers must be encouraged to invest in their older staff. Only some 26% of the over 60s are still in work."

Sources: Dutch News "Top civil servant calls for jobless benefit cuts" (January 7, 2010); NRC Handelsblad "Topman EZ wil dat WW wordt beperkt" (January 7, 2010); Dutch News "Jobless benefit cut no solution for older staff" (January 8, 2010)

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