The Labour Market Triangle

The Labour Market Triangle

Employment Protection, Unemployment Compensation and Activation in Europe

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils

Currently, European governments are being challenged to find an optimal social policy strategy that fosters 'flexicurity’, whereby a flexible, well-functioning labour market is achieved, whilst protection for workers is maintained. This fascinating book presents an in-depth study of the particular combination of unemployment insurance, employment protection and active labour market policies prevalent in seven European countries. The editors explore the formal laws and regulations, as well as the administration and implementation of social policy, paying special attention to the role of the social partners. The country comparison shows that the combination of social policy instruments is important to labour market performance, but that multiple optimal mixes already seem to exist.

Chapter 5: The Netherlands

Trudie Schils

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy


Trudie Schils INTRODUCTION The Netherlands is frequently praised for its low level of unemployment and good social protection of workers. At the same time, labour market flexibility is perceived as relatively low in the Netherlands. Since the 1990s, the share of flexible workers has increased and in 1999 the Flexibility and Security Act was introduced that creates more room for employers to use flexible workers and at the same time protects the workers on such contracts. In recent years, some aspects of the Dutch social policy triangle have been reformed, while other aspects have been left unchanged. The distribution of responsibilities and the organization of the administration of the social policy triangle are the main aspects that have been reformed. Since the 1990s, the role of the social partners in the administration of social insurance has been reduced. Their role is now largely restricted to collective bargaining and advising the government. However, some elements of social policy can be put on the collective bargaining agenda, such as particular elements of employment protection legislation, supplementary unemployment insurance and on-the-job training facilities to increase workers’ employability. In this way, the social partners can extend national policies, as in the three-pillar model that is already used in the Dutch pension system (Schils 2005). As mentioned in Chapter 1, social dialogue is an important requirement for the establishment of flexicurity policies. As de Beer et al. (2004) have stated, a shared responsibility for social security implies cooperation and negotiation between all relevant actors. This...

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