June 22, 2014

Pension fund for self-employed people finds provider

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:27 pm

coins-branko-collinAbout a month ago we told you about a pension plan for the self-employed.

A new fund called ZZP Pensioen was almost ready for launch except that it had trouble finding a provider. According to financial news site Z24 the largest pension provider of the Netherlands, APG, has now agreed to manage the fund. APG currently manages the pension funds for the government, construction workers and cleaners. Ten percent of all Dutch workers are self-employed.

If you have an irregular income—read, if you are self-employed—paying fixed premiums can be difficult. That is why so many of the growing group of the Dutch self-employed don’t save up for pensions. The premium payments for the new fund are variable, as you just put in what you can afford. The fund is also personal, meaning your contributions don’t pay for other people’s pensions. As a result you will only get paid for as long as there is money in your account.

The advantage of having a pension instead of saving money in a bank account is that the payments count as income, but the amount saved does not count as property. You will only be taxed once you get the money. That is the theory at least, in the past the government has forced ex-entrepreneurs to dip into their pension funds before they could receive state welfare.

ZZP Pensioen starts accepting members in 2015. The fund can also be accessed in case of invalidity, so it doubles as an insurance.

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September 16, 2013

The Netherlands has finally become a police state

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:18 pm

Rhetoric? Offensive sloganeering? Have I finally gone off the deep end? No, I am just getting a pun in there. Volkskrant reported last Saturday that the biggest employer in the Netherlands is the police.

In 2012 the police provided jobs to 63,778 people. They passed the military which was the biggest employer in 2011, but had to cut down their numbers due to budget cuts.

The top 5 large employers in the Netherlands are:

  • The police, 63,778 employees
  • The military, 61,749 employees
  • Rabobank, 41,402 employees
  • PostNL, 33,284 employees
  • Air France-KLM, 31,189 employees

According to Volkskrant their top 100 of companies employs about 1 million people in the Netherlands. Their distribution follows a power curve, the top ten employs a third of that million. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 8.68 million people working in the Netherlands in 2012 and 0.66 million unemployed citizens. The self-employed made up 1.25 million of people working. And there were 9.24 million jobs in 2012.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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July 6, 2012

Dutch Olympians to be fined or fired by government

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 9:59 am

Hurdler Gregory Sedoc is one of five soldiers to get the boot.

Dozens of students taking part in the 2012 Olympics will be fined for failing to meet their study goals, Dutch News reports:

At least a quarter of the Dutch squad for this summer’s Olympics in London may end up with a fine for taking too long to finish their college or university degrees, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Of the 180-strong team, around 50 are still studying and are likely to end up with a €3,000 fine for taking more than a year too long to graduate.

The bitter irony is that the students still have it good. Having to pay a fine is nothing compared to losing your job, which is what will happen to two judokas, a hurdler, a middle distance runner and a shooter as of December 1. The five athletes are part of a project that puts top Olympians on the Defence department’s payroll. The project is stopped due to extensive budget cuts.

The five athletes were told they were fired by phone, Telegraaf reports

I doubt there are many other countries that treat their heroes this way.

The students will be fined because of a law that states nobody should take more than 5 years to finish a university or polytechnic education. The law itself fits nicely in a long standing tradition of painting students as lazy for political gain. Meanwhile studies confirm that Dutch students often work hard.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Vice-Prime Minister Maxime Verhagen used a total of 18 years to finish their degrees.

(Photo by Erik van Leeuwen, some rights reserved)

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January 11, 2010

TNT to outsource illegible mail recognition

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 11:47 am

Former Dutch mail monopolist TNT is testing the outsourcing of bad handwriting recognition by video coding to Mexico, India and The Philippines, Nederlands Dagblad reports.

About 6% of all handwriting on envelopes cannot be recognised by computers, and so a system is currently in place where illegible envelopes are photographed and Dutch employees create a bar code encapsulating the correct address based on that picture.

The Nederlands Dagblad reports that only a few temporary workers will suffer the consequences, but it may be that the Christian newspaper is not telling the whole truth. According to an article in De Volkskrant, sorting mail is done almost exclusively by traditional postal workers, whereas the actual delivery is done by part-time employees.

TNT is suffering the double whammy of a reclining mail volume and the opening of the market to other parties who often pay much lower wages. The company expects to have to fire 11,000 of its 23,000 full-time employees by 2015.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved.)

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July 24, 2009

iPhone developer course starts in September

Filed under: Gadgets,Online by Branko Collin @ 1:09 pm

Competence Factory, the job education branch of Randstad-based employment agency Appoint, has started to offer a course in developing Apple iPhone ‘apps’.

The training starts in September, and has separate courses for programmers, designers and marketers. It costs 5800 euro to participate.

The course’s web page suggests developing iPhone apps may be “the new gold rush,” but programmer Adam Martin has some sobering data. The median turnover of an iPhone app developer was between 1000 and 5000 USD in May of this year, although Martin doesn’t say whether this is for one app, for one month or year, or for an entire career. Some 10% of those polled said they had no formal training whatsoever, so the numbers for trained app developers may be more uplifting.

(Link: Bright. Photo by William Hook, some rights reserved.)

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June 29, 2009

Older men least likely to be fired

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:03 am

Men of age 45 and older are not sharing in the general economic downturn, reports Z24 (Dutch). To the contrary, in May of this year 9,000 more men of that age group were employed than in May 2008.

Statistics Netherlands economist Michiel Vergeer explains to the financial news site: “These are the people who have been in their jobs for a long time, you just cannot get rid of them. But once they have become unemployed, it becomes very difficult for them to find another job.”

In the Netherlands jobs are ‘protected,’ meaning that you have to get permission from a court to be able to fire somebody. Although mass lay-offs are possible, courts tend to spare older employees during such procedures. Unemployment has risen 8,000 from April to May, a number Vergeer calls “still modest.”

(Photo by Erich Ferdinand, some rights reserved.)

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