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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Crisis-measure temporary contracts for young workers

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This measure temporarily allowed employers to give young workers between 15-26 years four consecutive fixed-term contracts instead of three (after which employers are obliged to offer a contract for indefinite time). The measure only applied to employers in the private sector.
Target group
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Temporary
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: 72,000 companies, 172,000 young workers
  • Spatial coverage: National
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The objective was to avoid youth unemployment by giving employers the possibility to offer more than the usually allowed three consecutive temporary labour contracts. Usually, employers have to offer an indefinite contract after three temporary contracts, or the worker has to look for other work. This measure should reduce the risk of keeping young workers at work (because of the obligation to give them a permanent contract) in times of economic uncertainty and avoid unemployment of young workers after three contracts. This measure has to be understood against the background of flexibilisation that especially affects young workers, who often do not have access to indefinite contracts at the start of their career.
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
Temporary crisis measure
Type of innovation
  • new/changed output and/or outcome
New outputs
  • regulations of the labour market (Adaptation of existing regulations with respect to consecutive temporary labour contracts)
Intended target group
Young workers between 15 and 26 years as well as employers outside the public sector who hire young workers on a temporary contract
Working age population
  • employment situation (Atypical work (temporary contract))
  • main source of income: paid work
Employers-private institutional actors
Employers outside the public sector who hire young workers on a temporary contract
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (Regulation)
Intended output
  • regulation of the labour market (Adaptation of existing regulations with regards to temporary labour contracts)
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
10,000 young workers received an additional contract which would not have been offered without this measure9,000 young workers received an additional temporary contract, but would probably have received an indefinite contract without this measure (these are 9,000 other workers than the 10,000 who could keep working but would have lost their contract otherwise)
Intended and unintended outcomes
19,000 workers have received a fourth temporary contract or 25% of 80,000 young workers whose contract was to expire. For about half of these young workers, this implied that they could stay at the same employer for another fixed period of time (instead of having to look for a job at another employer); for the other half, it implied prolongation of a temporary contract whereas without the regulation, they would probably have received a permanent contract.
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
Especially young people working in agriculture and transport, mostly low skilled, have made use of this act. Higher educated young workers more easily obtain an indefinite contract. The evaluation mentions two effects: on the one hand a number of young workers has been able to keep their jobs for a longer time, on the other hand flexible labour relations have been stimulated. Employers mention they value the policy because it gives more opportunities to have a flexible labour force, not so much to deal with the crisis. The policy has not been prolonged because of these results. However, given these outcomes, it can be argued that as a temporary measure it has contributed to dampening some effects of the crisis for young workers.
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