Age limit no-risk policy for older employees reduced to 56 years?
On Friday 23 June, 2017, the Ministerial Council approved a legislative proposal to lower the age limit of the no-risk policy to 56 years of age.
Age limit reduced
The no-risk policy was originally created to make it more appealing for employers to employ, for example, employees that are somewhat older, employees with an occupational disability and employees that used to receive the so called ‘Wajong’ benefits. With regard to older employees, there is currently a legislative proposal in order to reduce the age limit.
So far, the scheme regarding the no-risk policy for older employees encompassed the following: In case an employee who has a) received unemployment benefits for more than 52 weeks, b) been employed by employer straight from that position of unemployment, and c) been born before 8 July 1954, becomes ill, the employer will only be obliged to continue to pay that employee’s salary for a period of 13 weeks (as opposed to the normal 104 week period). After those 13 weeks, the employee will receive sickness benefits from the UWV (the employee insurance agency).
As per 1 January 2018 it will in all likelihood no longer be a requirement to have been born before 8 July 1954 to be eligible for the no-risk policy; from that date forward every employee having reached the age of 56, and that has received unemployment benefits for more than 52 weeks and that has been hired by the employer from that position of unemployment, falls within the scope of the no-risk policy.
Rationale behind the bill
The rationale behind reducing the age limit is a wish to improve the employment market position of the unemployed over 50 years of age. Research shows that people over 50 are generally not more frequently ill, but ill for longer periods than the younger employees. As a rule, this is an impediment for employers to hire people over 50. The present scheme regarding the no-risk policy does – according to the presenters of the bill – not remove that obstacle in a sufficient manner. Since the target group (employees born before 1 July 1954) is becoming increasingly smaller, the age limit needs to be reduced.
We still have to wait and see if the amendment will actually be implemented; the bill will firstly be sent to the Council of State for advice, and will only then be presented to the Second Chamber, who will then take a final decision on the legislative proposal for amendment. Currently it is the intention to make the amendment become effective as of 1 January 2018.
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