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At the end of the breakthrough in the disease file: stripe through cutbacks disabled

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The Cabinet puts a line through a planned cutback for disabled people and meets smaller employers who fear that sick staff are chasing them. The tired minister of social affairs Wouter Koolmees is still a success just before Christmas.

Sitting in a room together for employers and employees is still a lot in demand after the pension debacle. So minister Koolmees triumphed twice in a row yesterday to present the agreements with social partners. 

First he took place in a Hague cookery school, together with employers and insurance companies, to announce a deal on wage payment in case of illness. The core: employers are obliged to continue to pay wages for two years to employees who are ill. That was a hard demand from the trade unions. But from 2020, companies can take out insurance that covers the financial risk and takes over other obligations and tasks when their employees are ill for a long time. Great Tit laps 450 million euros to give companies premium discounts.

With a new, affordable standard insurance, it is becoming easier, clearer and cheaper for smaller companies to meet the obligations for continued payment of sickness, says Koolmees. They often have difficulty with this and therefore do not dare to take people into permanent employment because, in addition to their financial risk, they also have to comply with strict rules to prepare sick employees for a return to work. 

Chairman Jacco Vonhof from MKB Nederland was delighted: ,, After years of lobbying, this is a big step in the right direction for small businesses. ”

The trade unions, which were still on the table during the pension negotiations last month, were remarkably enthusiastic about Koolmees yesterday. FNV driver Kitty Jong praised the Minister for his ‘political courage to put a line through these measures’. The government’s intention ‘did not fit with a country like the Netherlands’ and would hit sick employees hard, said CNV chairman Arend van Wijngaarden. “A compliment for Koolmees that he 

responds to our care.” ” According to Koolmees, what he conjures at 750 million euros just before the year-end is a” technical story “. Grosso modo, part of the money was already reserved on his budget. Another part is released now that the dividend tax is not being abolished – the ideal lubricating oil to bring one of the toughest polder files to a successful conclusion.

Where employers and employees could never agree on the loaded disease file, Koolmees now manages to do business with both camps separately. Employers and employees both agreed with the deals in both rooms. But that is not being hung on the big clock.

Great tit counts his blessings just before Christmas. The year of disaster in which the dreamed pension deal ceased still shows a bright spot. Does that hope that in other areas, such as pensions, social consultation can be resumed? “I have always said that the polder is not dead,” laughs Koolmees. And he leaves it at that.

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