Employers may have to contribute to childcare

21st December 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 December 2005, AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm said on Wednesday more firms must take voluntary steps within six months to contribute to their employees' childcare costs.

21 December 2005

AMSTERDAM — Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm said on Wednesday more firms must take voluntary steps within six months to contribute to their employees' childcare costs.

If that does not happen, the Cabinet will force them to act, Zalm said in an interview published in newspaper 'De Telegraaf'.

Zalm, the leader of the Liberal Party (VVD), indicated the cost of childcare would increase in the years ahead as a result of a VVD plan to expand the availability of crèche facilities for working families.

Parliament backed the proposal, under which employees, businesses and the government are to each pay a third of the costs. Some 80 percent of firms currently do so.

Zalm said this figure must rise to 90 percent by the middle of 2006, or else a compulsory contribution for employers would be unavoidable.

He sweetened the pill for business by telling the newspaper he was in favour of relaxing the law on the right to dismiss staff.

"If employers can get rid of personnel more easily, they will be quicker to recruit workers.  It has to become less costly and faster to make an employee redundant," the minister said.

'De Telegraaf' said Zalm was looking with interest at the Danish model, which features simplified rules on dismissal, a shorter duration of unemployment benefit (WW) and a well organised system of reintegration.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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