Employees accused of massive disability fraud
8 October 2004, AMSTERDAM — Bogus claims made by Dutch workers under the WAO disability scheme are easily the biggest popular fraud in any welfare system in the world, the Federation of European Employers (FedEE) has claimed.
8 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — Bogus claims made by Dutch workers under the WAO disability scheme are easily the biggest popular fraud in any welfare system in the world, the Federation of European Employers (FedEE) has claimed.
The FedEE has said union protests against the Dutch government's welfare reforms make little sense as workers in the Netherlands pay a higher proportion of their earnings in social security contributions than employees in any other European country.
When employer's costs are added, the Netherlands has the highest joint proportion in Europe according to new figures published by the FedEE this week.
The organisation said that from the perspective of the typical Dutch worker the union-organised protests — including the mass demonstration in Amsterdam on 2 October which attracted an estimated 300,000 people — are misguided.
This is because the FedEE figures reveal that the Dutch welfare system costs Dutch workers over 40 percent of their gross pay.
This is the highest proportion paid by employees in any other country in Europe, which when added to the percentage paid by employers in the Netherlands, gives the Dutch the highest joint proportion in Europe.
"Fifteen percent of the Dutch workforce are currently going on sick leave and then making a claim under the WAO disability scheme. This is easily the biggest act of popular fraud affecting any welfare system in the world and I have to doubt the integrity of trade union opposition to government reforms in this field," FedEE Secretary-General Robin Chater said.
One of the reforms the Dutch workers were protesting against was the sharing of disability insurance with employees.
The FedEE arrived at their figures after going through all the rules and trying to find the equivalent in all the countries in Europe.
Three main factors appeared to be significant, Chater told Expatica. "How much gold plating there is — that you have generous welfare provision, the amount of abuse — which differs between countries, and the efficiency of the system."
The figures indicate that the larger the country the higher the social security costs. "In small countries it seems easier for them to handle numbers," said Chater, "and, in the case of densely populated countries such as the Netherlands, high cost is most probably due to the system being cumbersome and inefficient."
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Dutch news