Dutch healthcare directors may face pay caps

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A new code pending approval by the health ministry will limit the annual income of directors of small health institutes to EUR 191,000.

The Netherlands – Salaries of senior executives in the Dutch health sector will be frozen as of 1 July, reports news agency ANP.

A new code, presented by public health care directors and watchdogs, will limit annual salaries and other bonuses paid to directors in smaller institutions to EUR 191,000.

The maximum annual salary paid to the directors of large hospitals such as Amsterdam's Academic Medical Centre and Rotterdam's Erasmus Academic Medical Centre must not exceed EUR 247,000.

"Out of the 1,028 health service executives in the Netherlands, only 126 would earn more than the Balkenende norm in 2010," said managing director of the Association for Directors in the Health Service Jan Aghina.

The Balkenende norm is a standard limiting top salaries to the annual amount earned by the prime minister, which is approximately EUR 170,000. At the moment, more than 200 directors earn more than this amount.

The new salary code also limits the income of interim directors to a maximum of EUR 332,500 who are required to step down after a year.

This is the second attempt to put a limit on the salaries of healthcare directors after last year's failed attempt to cap the top salaries at EUR 220,000.

Top executives whose salaries are higher than the Balkenende norm are frequently featured in the press. They were not keen to accept a salary cap but eventually gave in to political and public pressure.

In an interview with de Volkskrant, the organisations said it is not relevant whether the interim executives, who have always resisted the introduction of a salary code, will accept the new norm.
"There are more than enough qualified people willing to do an interim job without demanding excessive pay," said a spokesperson for the organisation of watchdogs.
The directors and health care watchdogs hope the new code will end the current practice of frequent changes of management necessitating the appointment of expensive interim managers.

The salary code, if approved by Health Minister Ab Klink, will be compulsory for all members of the association. Health institutions which do not adhere to the code will be prosecuted.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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