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Is it time to amend Dutch work disability system?

The research report by the independent committee on the future of the work disability system in the Netherlands ('Onafhankelijke Commissie Toekomst Arbeidsongeschiktheidsstelsel' (Octas)) was published this week. While the number of people unable to work has dropped considerably, the system is still under pressure, says Barend Barentsen, Professor of Labour Law in Dutch newspaper ‘de Telegraaf’.

The rules are difficult to enforce and sometimes hard to explain. How can it be that people with the same injury don’t get the same benefit? Following the serious issues with the Invalidity Insurance Act (WAO) in the 1980s and 1990s, Barentsen wonders whether we're now being ‘suffocated’ by rules. Do the stricter rules exclude too many employees with serious health problems?

‘For a long time, the system was based on a suspicion that people were trying to dodge having to work while still getting paid. It’s good that we want to remove that element of distrust.’ Barentsen believes that although the current rules do need to be improved, the system does not need a total overhaul. Returning to the old system and a high influx of claimants and corresponding costs is not an option.

More information

Read the full article in de Telegraaf (in Dutch, €)

Commissie Toekomst Arbeidsongeschiktheidsstelsel (Octas)

Photo: Mihaly Koles through Unsplash

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