Changes to social benefit schemes and employment provisions as of 1 January 2017

Child benefit schemes

  • The maximum child budget (kindgebonden budget) benefit for the first child will be raised to €1,142. The maximum for the second child will be raised to €898. Low- and middle-income families with two children are eligible to receive up to €2,040 in 2017. Families with more than two children receive a supplement of €285 for each subsequent child.
  • Childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag) has been increased. The first payment of the higher amount was made on 20 December because the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) pays this benefit in advance for the following month.
  • The General Child Benefit Act (Algemene kinderbijslagwet) and the related Regulation on Double Child Benefit for Education Purposes (Regeling dubbele kinderbijslag om onderwijsredenen) have been amended to correct the undesirable distinction made between children who attend secondary school in addition to their elite sports training and children in vocational education. The amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2017 and will have retroactive effect from 1 October 2016.

Changes to the Jobs and Jobs Quota (Work Disabled Persons) Act (Wet banenafspraak en quotum arbeidsbeperkten)

  • Work-disabled people who fall within the Participation Act (Participatiewet) target group and whose wage value has been determined, by means of a validated wage-valuation method, to be below the statutory minimum wage will be included in the target-group register without undergoing an assessment by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). When a worker is recorded in the target-group register in this way, their job will count towards the job quota from that date onward.
  • People who were formerly or are currently doing practical training can be included in the target-group register without undergoing assessment if they submit a request to that effect in writing to the UWV. The same procedure is already in place for pupils in special secondary education.
  • Municipalities will be required to create a set number of places for supported employment.

Low-wage benefit (LIV) for employers

  • Employers will receive a subsidy for employing workers who earn between 100% and 125% of the statutory minimum wage and work at least 1,248 paid hours per year. 
  • Sham Employment Arrangements Act (Wet aanpak schijnconstructies)
  • Employers are required to pay the full minimum wage. In principle, arrangements enabling employers to pay less than the minimum wage by withholding or deducting amounts from employees’ pay (for instance, for meals) are prohibited.
  • Chain liability for unpaid wages in the road freight transport sector will enter into effect on 1 January 2017. Companies throughout the chain can be held liable for wages owed to employees working in the road freight transport sector.

Incapacity for work

The statutory distinction between permanent and temporary employment in the funding of the work resumption benefit for persons partially capable of work (WGA) will be eliminated. As of 1 January 2017 employers will pay a single combined WGA contribution and will have the choice between either bearing the full risk of WGA liability or taking out public insurance to cover their risk.

Fraud Act

Fines imposed on benefit claimants who breach the obligation to provide information will from now on be determined on the basis of the severity of the breach, the degree of culpability and the claimant’s circumstances.

In addition, there will be greater latitude for issuing warnings.

Poverty

An additional €100 million will be made available to ensure that children who are living in poverty can participate in social, cultural, sports and school activities.