No increase in wages for healthcare workers, government says

Wages in the Netherlands’ healthcare sector won’t be seeing an increase, according to a new letter from members of the Tweede Kamer (the House of Representatives). They have expressed great appreciation for the hard work of healthcare employees, but hold that current wages are up to standard.

Ministers De Jonge and Van Ark and State Secretary Blockhuis addressed the motion for a structural wage increase for healthcare workers in a letter on Tuesday. They are grateful for the “enormous and indispensable effort of healthcare professionals in this corona period.” The Tweede Kamer is committed to ensuring sufficient and well-qualified personnel in the healthcare sector.

Wages already sufficient

While there is no question healthcare professional should receive a good salary, the representatives argue that wages have grown in step with the market sector. Based on their analysis of data and collective labour agreements, they have determined that the starting salaries of caretakers and nurses are on par with professionals in sectors such as education and law enforcement. Over time, they see that wages in healthcare increase more steadily than in education or government.

In the same analysis, the Netherlands is near the top of the international scale of relative salaries.

Financial and economic hardship

The Tweede Kamer maintains that given recent corona related developments and uncertainties in the economy, “the cabinet currently sees no room for a structural wage increase for all healthcare employees in addition to the extra space that is already being given.” 

The government wants to focus its efforts on limiting the economic damage that has resulted from COVID-19, which will consume a large part of the budget. The development of the economy is ultimately dependent on the course of coronavirus.

Ongoing debate

The letter follows last week’s heated healthcare remuneration debate, during which opposition members were accused of ‘running away’ from the vote. The Tweede Kamer’s debate will continue this afternoon with another motion to vote on increasing pay.

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Feature Image: Image: Sasin Tipchai/Pixabay

Brin Andrews
Brin is an avid ice cream eater from the US, calling Amsterdam home since early 2019. As a lover of mountains, life below sea level has been a bit of an adjustment, but she manages to stay afloat with long runs, wine, and frequent travel. Incidentally, these are a few of her favourite topics to write about.


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