Social security system to be extended to employees on Dutch Continental Shelf

The Dutch social security system is about to be extended to cover employees living abroad who work on the Dutch Continental Shelf, usually in the oil and gas extraction industry. As a result, they will be entitled to claim benefits, such as the old-age pension (AOW) and unemployment benefit (WW). At present, benefit entitlement is only partly covered by the Wet arbeid mijnbouw Noordzee(Law relating to Employment in Extraction Industries in the North Sea), which provides protection only in the case of illness or occupational disability. Acting on a proposal by Piet Hein Donner, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, the cabinet has given its agreement to a change in the law to this effect.

The proposed change to the law was drawn up partly in response to a request by the European Commission. Currently, employers are legally obliged to provide cover for employees living abroad solely against illness and occupational disability, and then only for a maximum period of two years. This law will cease to be in force once the Dutch social security system has been extended to cover all employees on the Dutch Continental Shelf.

The cabinet has decided that the legislative proposal be put before the Council of State, in order to allow that body to issue its own recommendations. The text of the legislative proposal and the recommendations of the Council of State will be published when they are submitted to the House of Representatives.