29 September 2022, by Victoria Séveno

With so many people in the Netherlands opting to work part-time, the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) believes that a bonus for full-time workers could be the answer to solving the labour crisis in some understaffed sectors. 

Dutch government mulls bonus for staff who switch to full-time hours

As the number of job vacancies continues to rise and the number of unemployed falls to the lowest levels since 2003, the Dutch government is looking for new and innovative ways to combat the ongoing labour crisis. One potential solution that has proven popular in parliament is the introduction of a bonus scheme for employees who work full-time. 

Many details of the proposal are yet to be confirmed, but the concept hinges on financially rewarding part-time employees who make the switch to full-time contracts – but a similar policy could also be introduced for workers who continue to work part-time but agree to up their hours from, for example, 24 to 32 hours per week.

The bonus scheme would also be targeted at sectors that are currently chronically understaffed, such as the healthcare, childcare, education and construction sectors. “It would be very nice, especially in healthcare and education, if people took a step forward and started working a few more hours,” Karien van Gennip, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, told RTL Nieuws.

Rutte optimistic, but says bonus scheme could be difficult to implement

The motion, submitted by D66 and the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), received overwhelming support from the House in a recent debate, but Prime Minister Mark Rutte has pointed out that it would be difficult to implement. 

A recent ruling by the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights stated that the motion makes an illegal distinction between full-time and part-time work. Recent arguments have also pointed out that the bonus indirectly discriminates against women, who on the whole are more likely to work part-time, especially after having children

Parliament will once again debate the motion and the national labour shortage on Thursday. While the bonus does appear to be a popular solution, the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP) argues that the government should instead do more to encourage women with older children to return to work or increase their hours.

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