Unemployment falls again, dips under 4% for first time in 10 years

Unemployment falls again, dips under 4% for first time in 10 years

The official Dutch unemployment rate fell again to 3.9% in March, down from 4.1% in February, the national statistics agency CBS said on Thursday. This is the lowest figure in over 10 years, the CBS said. Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees said the challenge now is 'to ensure that people who are still looking for a job find one that suits them'. In particular, the construction industry and healthcare sector need more properly trained staff, the minister said. The new figures mean that 8.7 million people in the Netherlands have a job of at least 12 hours a week. A further 4.2 million people do not work, most of whom are not looking for a job at present. The CBS also says that the gap between the male and female unemployment rate is shrinking. In March 3.8% of men and 4.1% of women were without a job.  More >

Disabled plan has zero benefit: CPB

Scheme to pay disabled less than minimum shot down by CPB Paying people with a disability less than the legal minimum wage is not going to result in significantly more jobs for this group, the government's macro-economic policy unit CPB said on Wednesday. The controversial plan, which was launched by junior social affairs minister Tamara van Ark (VVD), was studied by the CPB and ‘the final effect is nil’, CPB researcher Patrick Koot told the AD. At the moment companies that employ disabled people are given a subsidy by the local council and the person in question is paid according to the same collective labour agreement as his or her colleagues. In the new plan the employer only pays for productivity of the person with a disability, who can then claim a top-up to minimum wage level from their local council. According to the CPB, people who work part-time will want to increase the number of hours they work. However, there is no incentive to work full time because the minimum wage is the maximum they will be able to earn. Assets In addition, the disabled will not be entitled to top-up pay from the council if other people in their household are working or if the person involved has other financial assets. Koot has been invited to discuss the CPB findings with MPs on Wednesday along with Amber Bindel, who represents a group which fights for equal rights for the disabled in the workplace, and wants the cabinet to ditch the plan. The Dutch human rights commission has also slammed the proposals, saying they are discriminatory.  More >

Human rights body slams disabled plan

Human rights council slams plan to cut minimum wage for disabled workers The Dutch human rights commission has criticised government plans to allow employers to pay workers with a physical or mental disability below the minimum wage. Ministers say allowing employers to break minimum pay rates will courage them to take on more disabled staff. Thousands of disabled people have ended up jobless after the government began closing down special sheltered workplaces several years ago. The plan involves allowing employers to pay disabled workers according to their productivity. So if someone is considered 50% disabled, the employer can pay them 50% of the minimum wage. Local authorities will then make up the difference. However, the human rights commission said in its ruling this is discriminatory because disbaled workers will be in a worse position in terms of pensions and fair rewards for their work. By forcing people to ask local authorities for top-up income, they will also fall under the same rules as welfare benefit claimants. And that means no extra income if other people in the household are working or if the person involved has other financial assets. The commission's rulings are not binding on the government. The plan has been severely criticised since it was launched at the end of last month. So far over 68,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to drop the idea.  More >

Wages cost employers an average €38.40

Dutch salaries cost employers an average of €38.40 an hour The average gross wage in the Netherlands, including all employer costs, was around €34.80 an hour in 2017, according to new research by European statistics agency Eurostat. That is a rise of 2.4% on 2016 and roughly in line with increase in the EU as whole, Eurostat said. Denmark topped the list with an average hourly rate of €42.50, followed by Belgium, Luxembourg, Sweden and France, then the Netherlands. Bulgaria was bottom of the list, with a gross average wage of €4.90 an hour, followed by Romania on €6.30. The figures are based on companies with at least 10 employees and exclude farming and the civil service.  More >

Four in 100 commuters walk to work

Jobs Just over 4% of all commutes from home to work are taken on foot, according to the national statistics office CBS on Thursday, the third annual Walk-to-Work day in the Netherlands. On journeys of less than a kilometre, nearly half of commuters walked to their job, 40% went by bike and 9% travelled by car. While walkers represented 4% of the commuter compass, 25% of all commutes to work were made by bike and 60% by car on an average day, the CBS said. The bike was the favoured means of transport for 60% of people travelling between one and 3.7 kilometres to work, while 25% drove in a car. A hearty 9% made the entire journey on foot. The percentage of walkers dropped off sharply after that: 80% of commuters travelling 16 kilometres or more used a car, while only 10% used the train.  More >