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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Employer incentives to employ and retain older workers

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
Since 2004 exemption and reduction of social contributions have been introduced for employers who employ older workers or who hire older unemployed workers receiving any kind of social benefits. The regulation changed in 2009 and in 2013. Since 2013 reductions only apply to the hiring of older unemployed but no longer to employing older workers. / / Also, from 2009-2019 the ?no risk polis? for sickness applies when hiring unemployed older than 55, meaning that employers are not responsible for paying their wages during the first two years of sickness. All these measures are meant to stimulate employers to employ older workers and to hire older unemployed. /
Target group
Older Workers
Policy Field
  • general fiscal
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: Temporary
  • Spatial coverage: National
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
These reforms are meant to improve the labour market position of older unemployed (>50) and, until 2013, to stimulate employers to employ older workers. The strategy consists of financial incentives for employers, by giving discount on social contributions and by reducing the financial risk related to long-term sickness for employers when they hire older unemployed. Specifically, the following arrangements have been available, but have changed because of budget cuts: / / 2004-2008: exemption from social contributions (disability insurance) for employers for employees who were older than 50 years when they were hired or who were older than 54,5 (regardless of their age when they were hired) / 2009-2013: reduction of social contributions (disability insurance) for employers for employees who were 62 or older (?2750 yearly) and for unemployed on any benefits, older than 50 who have been hired (?6500 yearly, maximum of three years) / 2013-: only the reduction for hiring unemployed has been sustained, the reduction has been raised to ?7000 yearly. Premium discounts for hiring older handicapped unemployed can no longer be added up (which was possible before) / / Also, since 2009 the no-risk polis that was available for handicapped workers also temporarily applies to workers older than 55 in 2009. For these workers, employers don?t need to pay wages during the first two years of sickness (these are paid by the unemployment agency). This policy ends in 2019 when the target group is retired. /
Nature of the innovation-short-term perspective
These policies have been changed often and have a temporary character
Type of innovation
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • others (Financial incentives for employers using social contributions and exemptions for paying wages during sickness)
Intended target group
Until 2013: older workers in general and older unemployed, since 2013: only unemployed older than 50
Working age population
  • main source of income: paid work
  • main source of income: social protection
Employers-private institutional actors
All employers
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • agency or national social insurance body (Implementation)
  • central state (Regulation)
Intended output
  • others (Financial incentives for employers using social contributions and exemptions for paying wages during sickness)
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
No empirical evaluations of the outcomes of these measures have been found. However, a study by economic research institute SEO on employers? motives to hire older unemployed states that financial incentives such as premium discounts cannot be expected to have a great impact. Employers are mostly concerned about productivity of older workers, meaning that for example long probation periods are considered to be potentially more successful, to give older unemployed a chance show their productivity. A robust conclusion on these policies in relation to resilience however is not possible.
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