Netherlands: Funding reform leads to less training for works council members

There are fears that there has been a big drop in the amount of training offered to works council members following reforms to funding.

The system for paying for works council training courses was overhauled in July 2013. Previously, employers were entitled to a subsidy when the training was done by a certified institute. Employers now have to pay all the costs themselves.

The Social and Economic Council Committee for Stimulation of Worker Involvement (SER-CBM) recently published tentative figures on the training and education of works council members.

There were fears, especially from the union side, that the funding changes, along with the financial crisis, would result in a dramatic drop in the use of training and education.

The initial figures seem to confirm a decrease, both in the number of works council members receiving training and in the duration of the courses. The problems seem to be largely among smaller companies with up to five works council members.

The figures also make clear that the traditional (certified) institutes have lost some 40% of their turnover. A larger and more comprehensive research project will be set up in 2015.

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