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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Law on equal treatment with respect to age

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This is a general law stipulating discrimination based on age is only allowed based on objective grounds which explain why age is a relevant selection criterion, for example with respect to job requisites. The law overarches specific laws in the fields of for example labour law or pension law. It provides a legal framework for people to contest decisions that they think are based on unlawful discrimination based on age. It does not however prohibit discrimination based on age entirely, because age is considered to be a characteristic that can influence certain capacities. Its objective is to contribute to labour participation of older workers.
Target group
Older Workers
Policy Field
  • employment
  • equal opportunities
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Since 2004
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective is to prevent unlawful discrimination based on age, to decrease prejudices against older workers with respect to productivity and to contribute to increased labour participation of older workers. The strategy is to provide for a legal framework that gives (older) workers or other stakeholders the possibility to contest before a commission of equal treatment or the court, decisions concerning for example using age as criterion for selecting workers, targeting labour market strategies or pensions contributions. It is considered to be a ?half open? law, given the fact that it does not prohibit age discrimination, but demands that objective grounds are made explicit when selections are made based upon age.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
Structural
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • others (General regulations with respect to the use of age as a selection criterion in various policy domains)
Intended target group
Older persons (not specified)
Employers-private institutional actors
Employers and organisations
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (Regulation)
  • employers (organised or individual)
  • private not-for-profit organisations (e.g. Third Sector organisation or NGO)
Intended output
  • regulation of the labour market
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
Until the evaluation in 2008 the participation in work of elderly has increased. The evaluation doubts whether this is the result of this act, because other measures have been implemented as well (such as abolishment of early retirement) and because of the favorable labour market
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
The evaluations do not demonstrate a direct impact on labour participation of elderly workers. It is plausible though that the act has made discrimination based on age without reasonable grounds less easy: stake holders have a right to appeal and apparently do so. Also, age related policies within companies have increased according to the evaluation. Both employers as well employees feel that the act has decreased stereotyping based on age. As such, it may have increased chances on the labour market for elder workers.
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