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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Reform of unemployment benefits (UEB)

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
During the 2000s various reforms of unemployment benefits have been implemented concerning premiums, duration of benefits, wage replacement rate, and eligibility. Further reforms with respect to the maximum duration in combination with better protection for flex workers were being negotiated in 2013 and 2014 and will become law in 2015.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Substantial changes were made in 2006 and 2009, smaller changes in other years as well. In 2015 new reforms are due.
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Structural
  • Spatial coverage: National
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
Long-term institutional reform
Type of innovation
  • new/changed output and/or outcome
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • benefit duration
  • benefit eligibility
  • benefit level
Intended target group
Unemployed who have worked in a job for which UEB-premiums were paid
Working age population
  • employment situation (Unemployed, receiving UEB)
  • main source of income: social protection (UEB)
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (Implementation)
  • central state (Regulation)
Intended output
  • benefit duration
  • benefit eligibility
  • benefit level
Did the innovation have any outcome related to job quantity?
flexibilisation has been curtailed, the length of temporary contracts has increased in certain sectors (agriculture, culture, painting, construction and restaurants/bars) subject to premium differentiation. However, a direct relation with this policy has not been measured.A decrease of the volume of UEB-recipients has been estimated, but not been measured empirically
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
The UEB-reforms are considered major reforms during the 2000s according to the experts that have been interviewed. Expected further reforms are also considered significant changes in the institutional structure of the Dutch labour market. Overall evaluation of the reforms however is not available. Some measures have been evaluated, such as the premium differentiation which does not show a net effect of this measure in terms of labour contract duration. Ex-ante estimations have been made resulting in expected reduction in the total number of ?benefit years?, which is likely given the retrenching nature of the reforms. Effects of the reforms on labour market participation are not known, because reduction of the benefit volume does not necessarily translate into labour market participation: people can also withdraw from the labour market or apply for social assistance when they are not or no longer eligible for ueb. The UEB-agency has observed an increase in UEB-recipients claiming social assistance, which is related to the crisis (60%) but also to the shorter ueb-duration (40%). To sum up, the impact of these major reforms on resilience has not been systematically evaluated.
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