🦜 PerchPulse - The Netherlands Market Update May 2023 🦜

A warm welcome to the May issue of PerchPeek’s Netherlands Market Monthly update!

Here’s where you’ll find the hottest updates around employee relocation and international talent strategy, insights from our experts on housing and cost-of-living news affecting your staff, the latest trends in global mobility, and tips and tricks on ways to support your teams.

A fly-by summary

●     New laws for workers and companies unveiled, including scrapping zero-hours contracts and introducing mandatory insurance - how these are likely to impact employers

●     Expats rank the Netherlands as one of the world’s worst countries for finding affordable accommodation, and the government aims to expand rent controls to 90% of the market

●     Plans for free childcare postponed until 2027; however, childcare benefit payments are set to increase in 2025 and 2026 - how to support your employees with children

●     Amsterdam Schiphol Airport reducing passenger numbers throughout May, petrol price rises from July and shiny new high-speed trains: key travel updates affecting employees

Talent strategy: Zero-hour contracts scrapped, more employee protection, and average salaries see largest YoY increase in 40 years

In efforts to bolster the Dutch labour market and safeguard it for the future, the government has announced a number of new measures impacting both employers and employees.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Employment said these policies are designed to give workers “more certainty about their income and schedule”, and to help them feel better protected in the face of adversity. The changes would ideally stimulate “more balance in the labour market”.

The new measures, which the government hopes to pass into law by Spring 2024, include:

●     Scrapping zero-hour contracts - Contracts will state a minimum number of hours

●     Tighter rules for temporary contracts - Encouraging the use of longer term contracts

●     Mandatory insurance for the self-employed - Protection in case of sickness or injury

●     Employee protection scheme for times of crisis - E.g. coronavirus pandemic

While on the subject of improving working conditions, it’s also worth noting the latest figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), showing that on average, salaries rose by 5% in Q1 2023, which is the largest increase seen in the country for 40 years.

While the above measures designed to future-proof the labour market may indeed raise costs for companies, they’re likewise bound to make working in the Netherlands a more attractive prospect for potential candidates overseas who are open to relocating.

This is an advantage for Talent Acquisition and People leaders looking to attract skilled talent from abroad in order to tackle labour shortages and achieve business goals in tough conditions.

Home-finding: Expats rank the Netherlands as one of the most difficult countries for finding affordable accommodation

Dutch rental market update - In the news

●     Expats rank the Netherlands as one of the worst countries for housing, according to the InterNations Expat Essentials Index 2023, coming in 49th out of 52 countries. This ranking is attributed to the unaffordability and general inaccessibility of accommodation.

●     To tackle the housing crisis, the government aims to boost housing stock by 900,000 homes by 2030 to meet demand, and to expand rent-controlled properties to 90% of the market (up from 35% currently) to prevent landlords from making excessive profits.

While efforts to tackle the housing crisis are underway, it’ll take time for real change to take effect - plus, some measures such as expanding rent controls may indeed have a negative effect if landlords choose to sell up, decreasing the stock of rental properties further.

Home-hunting employees in the Netherlands are faced with a real challenge right now. To support them best, make sure relocation packages are sufficient for at least a couple of months in temporary housing, and to be flexible to allow staff to attend viewings at the drop of a hat!

Cost of living: Plans for free childcare postponed for two years until 2027

The cost of childcare in the Netherlands is something that often gives relocating employees an unpleasant shock. According to Numbeo, private preschool costs are on average €1,515 per child per month, versus €1,080 in the USA, €1,015 in Ireland and just €350 in Germany!

There have long been calls to reform the system, especially since the cost of living crisis which has seen more and more parents struggling to make ends meet. In January we reported on plans to reduce Dutch childcare costs significantly - making it effectively free - in 2025.

Unfortunately, latest reports from The Hague reveal that these plans will now be postponed for two years until 2027, to give more time to make sure the system is implemented well.

There is however some good news for families in the (slightly) shorter term, as childcare benefit payments (kinderopvangtoeslag) will be increased in 2025 and 2026. The amount of the increase is to be confirmed, and will depend on the income of the parent(s).

PerchPeek advice for People teams

How you can support your employees with children in light of these updates:

●     Make sure they’re aware of the child benefits system and provide cost benchmarks

●     Advise where and how to claim benefits, and direct to other helpful resources

●     Review compensation packages regularly to keep in line with cost of living fluctuations

●     Offer flexible and remote working options to help parents juggle responsibilities

Plus, for parents with children of school age, it’s a good idea to make them aware that May is the time to be applying for international schools! PerchPeek’s Netherlands experts warn that while many employees plan to relocate over the summer months, that’ll be too late for school enrolment in September. Parents should plan accordingly, and apply before they move!

Support your talent: New Intercity rail route, fuel price rises, and other key travel updates to share with employees

Though the Netherlands became one of the first countries to make working from home a legal right in mid-2022, many workers are choosing to return to the office or make use of a co-working space for at least part of the working week.

For those employees with a commute to contend with (and for those travelling for leisure!), here’s PerchPeek’s rundown of the latest travel updates:

●     Rail travel - New high-speed Intercity trains - nicknamed ‘The Wasp’ - have been launched on the Amsterdam-Rotterdam route, with more routes to be launched soon

●     Public transport - Time Out has ranked Amsterdam’s public transport network as one of the top 10 in the world, with 91% of locals praising it - great to share with new arrivals!

●     Road travel - Petrol prices are likely to rise by 13.8 cents per litre from the beginning of July, as the government has decided not to extend the current tax cuts on fuel

●     Air travel - In a bid to avoid holiday chaos, Amsterdam Schiphol is reducing passenger volumes by 5% until the end of May, leading to flight amendments and cancellations

PerchPeek tips to help employees get from A to B:

●     Provide public transport maps and information to new relocating employees

●     Support flexible working hours to help ease the headaches of transport disruption

●     Consider implementing a company carpooling scheme in light of fuel price rises

We hope you enjoyed this month’s update!

If you have any feedback, comments or questions about what's happening in your location, feel free to reach out via the form at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for reading, and see you next month!


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