May 1, 2017

Labour tax credit is discriminatory, says professor Teunissen

Filed under: General,Religion by Branko Collin @ 12:03 am

coins-branko-collinLast January an appeals court in Den Bosch heard a couple from Landgraaf, Limburg who claims that couples of which only one partner works still have a right to the full labour tax credit for both partners.

Currently only people who work, either as an employee or as an entrepreneur, enjoy this arbeidskorting (employment credit). The maximum credit you can receive this year is 3,223 euro per person.

According to law professor Jos Teunissen, who represented the couple in court, this is discriminatory and a violation of human rights (the article doesn’t say which human rights are violated specifically — one assumes he is talking about Aticle 12 of the ECHR which guarantees the right of partners to found a family the way they see fit).

In an article for Reformatorisch Dagblad, Teunissen argues that families in which one partner works can pay as much as 5 times as much income tax as families in which both partners work.

Teunissen finds support from former junior minister for Finance Martin van Rooijen who thinks the labour tax credit is discriminatory towards pensioners. In a opinion piece for Trouw in 2015, Van Rooijen argues that discriminating against pensioners is discrimination on the basis of age, which is also plumb illegal.

The labour tax credit was introduced in 2001, when it helped to replace a generic credit. According to Teunissen in a recent article in Trouw, its goal is to stimulate labour force participation of women. It is probably not a huge surprise then that it is mostly opposed by religious parties.

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March 12, 2014

Nothing’s changed in Dutch women’s position at the bottom

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 10:25 am

The title of the Dutch Daily News article says it all: ‘The Netherlands ranks in bottom 10 performing countries for women in business’. “The Netherlands cites just 10 percent of senior roles occupied by women, a minute decrease from the previous year (11 percent).” This says nothing about the preponderance of Dutch women running small businesses, because that’s actually good news.

Every year around International Women’s Day (8 March) the Dutch government says it wants more women in top positions, but at the same time, its policies continue to perpetrate an insidious tradition of having new moms stay at home sometimes for years and then maybe pick up some part-time work. What’s more, lots of women without children have part-time jobs because they have a man paying the real bills, continuing a pattern that has outlived its use. However, it is true that part-time work is much more protected than in other countries and that you can still earn some decent money, albeit not enough to have the luxuries that many women enjoy as paid by their man’s full-time job.

While part-time work in other Western countries is associated with students and pensioners, in the Netherlands it is slowly turning into a synonym for unambitious Dutch women by the media. Personally, this hurts because I can think of dozens of women that work like crazy and don’t fit this bill, even remotely. And I say Dutch because apparently many immigrants don’t have options and work their lesser paid asses off, male of female, kids or no kids. We never hear them talking about having a choice, either, that’s for the more privileged group to defend.

The government blames big business, big business blames women having children (as if men weren’t part of the process), women with children blame childcare and childcare blames the government.

What I’ve learnt over the years is that many women don’t want to work more hours, but that’s easy to do when the rest of the money comes in as long as you keep your relationship intact. Part-time work for women is seen as normal, whereas elsewhere in Europe it’s seen as shortchanging someone out of a real job. However, part-time work remains career killer number one, that’s why men work full-time and remain chairmen of the board, not women.

In 2014, as far as having women in high places, The Netherlands is still the ‘unemancipated 1950s housewife’ of Western Europe.

2013: Lack of women in top management roles in the Netherlands

2012: Dutch women are unequal, change is slow and ‘Some 60% of women cannot earn their own keep’

2010: Women with partners prefer part-time jobs

2009: Women have low impact on Dutch work force

(Link:, Photo of Birthday cake by C J Sorg, some rights reserved)

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January 16, 2011

Fathers of young children prefer part-time jobs too

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 3:38 pm

Women with partners prefer part-time jobs, we wrote last year. In fact, 50% of all Dutch women already have a part-time job. And dads want in on that action. According to the New York Times (via the Deccan Herald), one in three men either work part-time, or work four nine-hour days:

For a growing group of younger professionals, the appetite for a shorter, more flexible workweek appears to be spreading, with implications for everything from gender identity to rush hour traffic.

There are part-time surgeons, part-time managers and part-time engineers. From Microsoft to the Dutch economics ministry, offices have moved into ‘flex-buildings’, where the number of work spaces are far fewer than the staff who come and go on schedules tailored around their needs.

The Dutch culture of part-time work provides an advance peek at the challenges — and potential solutions — that other nations will face as well in an era of a rapidly changing work force.

Radio Netherlands wonders if society’s demand that fathers take a more active role in the upbringing of their children will lead to new Super Dads. Surely men will have to spend more than just one Daddy Day with their children to earn that moniker? When the term was applied to women, it meant women with two full-time jobs: one at home, and one at the office. It seems that even in the gender equality debate, a man gets the same reward as a woman for less work.

(Photo by Eelke Dekker, some rights reserved)

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August 6, 2009

Women have low impact on Dutch work force

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:52 am

As an immigrant, there will always be about 10% of Dutch quirks I will never understand, and one of them is the preponderance of part-time work. It’s very difficult to explain to my friends and family in Canada or elsewhere why it looks like nobody really works here, especially highly educated Dutch women who, as they tell me jokingly at networking events, ‘have men who bring home the real bacon’.

“The Netherlands has the highest rate of part-time workers within the European Union, and it applies to both men and women.” The Dutch also have a very high standard of living which is not reflected in the amount of hours they actually work. I recently read that the Greeks worked the most hours, but earned very little for it. That nonsense about working hard to make money they spoon fed me in North America is one huge myth here in Europe.

“In 2008, nearly half of 15 to 64-year-old Dutch worked on a part-time basis and three quarters of Dutch women work on a part-time basis. In all other EU countries, at least half of working women had full-time jobs.”

My gut says when the Dutch do something spectacularly different than the rest of Europe it’s either brilliant or skewed. In this case, I think it is the latter, and so do many different groups in Dutch society pushing to change this image of women being rather passive members of society. To quote a female television journalist I met recently, “women can always choose to work less and that is not frowned upon, but have to fight if they want to work more”. Ironically, the Christian government is both ‘encouraging’ women to have more children and also trying to make them feel guilty for not becoming top managers. In other words, not only are women hearing two totally different messages, both of them are backwards and do nothing to alleviate the situation of women who want both – just like in the rest of Europe and the Western world.

The usual excuses for this state of affairs includes women automatically taking 100% care of children (tradition), not wanting to let other qualified people handle their children (guilt), not being able to combine motherhood and work (logistics), men not doing their fair share (not my male friends, but other ones), having no ambition (huge cover stories in magazines keep repeating this), foreign women having much more ambition (why do they manage and the Dutch don’t?) and all kinds of other stuff that comes up at parties.

It’s a big ol’ can of worms, it’s complicated, it’s difficult to understand, it’s even tougher to live with, but something is definitely wrong here.

(Link:, Photo:

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