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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Crisis measures working time reduction and part-time unemployment benefits

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This innovation allows for ?labour hoarding?, to prevent dismissals as a result of the crisis. The policy allows companies who are faced with a significant decline in turnover to temporarily reduce working time of workers, who are compensated by temporary, parttime unemployment benefits. The working hours that are reduced have to be spent on schooling/training activities.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • education
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: temporary
  • Budgets: 460 million
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: not specified, there was a budget ceiling
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective was to prevent massive lay-offs in companies that were temporarily struck by the crisis. It should however not delay necessary structural economic reforms. The strategy consisted of lowering wage costs for employers by allowing for parttime and temporary labour time reduction, in combination with investment in human capital by means of schooling and training. Lower wages were compensated by UE-benefits.
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
short-term, temporary measure
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • training schemes (employees with reduced working time were supposed to participate in schooling/training)
  • wages (wage could temporarily be reduced in combination with reduction of working time)
  • working time (working time could be reduced for a maximum of 50% of contract hours)
Intended target group
The policy was targeted at companies with temporary economic , but would affect the employees working in these companies
Working age population
  • employment situation (workers in targeted companies)
  • main source of income: paid work
Employers-private institutional actors
the innovation was targeted at private companies
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (social security agency UWV, responsible for implementation)
  • central state (regulation)
  • employees (organised or individual) (involved in social dialogue on the measure, as well as the implementation at the company level)
  • employers (organised or individual) (involved in social dialogue on the measure, as well as the implementation at the company level)
Clarification of the role of various actors
The two innovations have been implemented partly in response to a request of social partners. At the company level organized workers had to agree with the specific arrangements with regards to the amount of the reduction and agreements about schooling. As a part of these agreements employers could compensate the lower wages as a result of parttime UE-benefits (which amount to 70% of the regular wage)
Intended output
  • training schemes
  • wages
  • working time
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
companies have primarily used the measure to be able to keep experienced workers. It has not avoided lay-offs of temporary workers or reduced hiring of self-employed workers. Therefore, the measure has mainly been beneficial to insiders on the labour market. This effect is mainly visible at the micro-level of companies. Studies assume that the macro-economic effect on employment rates has been marginal.labour costs for employers have been temporarily reduced
Intended and unintended outcomes
nearly 9000 companies have participated in the scheme, a maximum of 1% of the active working population has used the scheme. The industrial sector was overrepresented.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Macro-effects have been marginal, also because of the relative small scope of this scheme. The innovations have mainly allowed companies to keep experienced workers. For individual companies this may have supported their economic situation. Employers feel this has supported their company to outlive the crisis, employees doubt this. An evaluation study notices that companies that did not participate in the scheme have also kept valuable employees despite economic problems, which means there may have been dead-weight loss. There are indications that companies with severe economic problems have benefited and could avoid lay-offs. Flexible workers have not benefited from this scheme. The results of the training schemes in terms of skills are unclear. However, Yerkes and Van der Veen (2011) observe that this scheme has increased the involvement of the state in training policies and life-long learning, which before was mainly left to the social partners. In sum, the impact on resilience of this innovation at the macro-level can be considered to be marginal, long-term impact on further institutional restructuring cannot be assessed yet.
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