Changing times for part-time women workers
The ministry hopes to encourage more women to work longer hours.9 April 2008
THE NETHERLANDS - Women in the Netherlands work less than their counterparts across the European Union, but the government and Dutch unions are working to change that.
Shortly after the fourth Balkenende cabinet completed its 100-day tour of the country, the social affairs ministry launched the Part-Time Plus Task Force which, as its name suggests, aims to encourage part-time women workers into working more hours.
The Part-Time Plus Task Force was officially installed for a two-year period on Tuesday and a think tank attached to the FNV, the largest Dutch trades union, used the installation as an opportunity to present the task force with its plan to encourage women's participation in the labour market. Newspapers Trouw and AD both cover the story.
Trouw's front page headlines, "equal work week for men and women" and the accompanying article focuses on the plan presented by the FNV think tank. The gist of the plan is that men should work less so that women can work more.
According to the think tank, comprised of union delegates and representatives from various women's organisations including Women on Top, New Girls Network, Auntie Rules and Career and Kids, we have to get away from "the old one and a half earners model" where the man works full-time and the woman has a nice "little part-time job for two or three days a week and go to a 2 by 4 model where both partners work four days a week. The think tank also called for financial stimulation to encourage part-timers to work more hours.
AD focuses on the plans presented by the task force itself. AD writes that the deputy social affairs minister announced the welcome news that part-time workers who work more hours will be financially better off in 2009.
Under the current tax situation, part-timers who work more hours end up worse off financially, as they pay higher taxes and spend more on childcare. But things are changing. The paper quotes the deputy minister as saying "when a part timer changes from 25 to 30 hours a week, they pay taxes on their earnings. What's new is that next year, they'll keep more of what they earn".
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]