Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jacqueline O’Reilly
Chapter 4: Negotiated flexibility, working time and transitions in the Netherlands
4. Negotiated ﬂexibility, working time and transitions in the Netherlands Jelle Visser On the surface, four features characterize the current ‘full employment’ labour market of the Netherlands: a high incidence of part-time jobs, widespread use of temporary agency and ﬂextime work, low registered unemployment, and a high disability rate. Part-time jobs have become the dominant transitional arrangement between education and employment for young people entering the labour force, and between domestic activities and employment, especially for women. Temporary agency work is used by young people, school leavers and students entering employment, and as a transitional arrangement from unemployment to employment. The unemployment rate, after reaching double-digit ﬁgures in the 1980s and still over 7 per cent in 1995, dropped to 2.5 per cent in early 2001, the lowest rate since 1972. This good news is accompanied by strong job growth (almost two percentage points per year since 1983 and outpacing labour force growth by a wide margin). From 1975 to 1999, the participation rate of women aged 15–65 years doubled, from 30 to 60 per cent. Older males, on the other hand, have increasingly disappeared from the labour market. The participation rate of men aged between 50 and 65 years dropped from 85 to 60 per cent. The employment ratio of the 55–64 age group, men and women, was as low as 29 per cent in 1993, but has risen since. The high disablement rate (952000 persons at the end of 2000, or 12 per cent of the...
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