Flexibility & Productivity

Dutch Worker
With Reduced

“Productivity and efficiency are a little bit higher.
Of course, you will have more to do, you have more deadlines in a short time.”

By Foo Yun Chee
International Business Times
Posted 01 July 2007

Annelies Kruijthoff is the epitome of the happy Dutch worker.

She works three days a week, takes care of her two toddlers the rest of the time and has found the right balance between career and family.

Thanks to the Netherlands’ liberal labor laws, workers can choose between a 5-day work week or a shorter schedule with a proportionate pay difference regardless of their reasons.

“In the beginning, it was difficult for me to work less but now I feel comfortable. It gives better balance between family, work and children,” said Annelies, 39, who switched to part-time work in public relations after her first child five years ago.

A decade ago, the government, faced with rising unemployment in the 1980s and wanting to draw more women into the workforce, loosened the labor laws.

This gave part-time and temporary workers the same social security and job protection rights as full-time employees, and let permanent workers have more flexible work arrangements such as shorter or longer working hours.

The strategy worked.

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