PhD candidate Irmgard Borghouts-van de Pas researched the systems in place in four European countries for promoting employment security among employees threatened by lay-offs. She argues that Dutch trade unions should follow the Swedish example by including employment security programs in collective labor agreements rather than negotiating severance benefits. Borghouts-van de Pas also calls on unions to focus more on these programs during reorganizations and when drawing up social plans. Employers also have work to do: when transition agreements are concluded in Sweden, a certain percentage of payroll is paid into a fund.
The economic crisis has put an end to the phenomenon of the job for life and the security it offers. Smooth transitions from job to job are of vital importance when people are at risk of losing their job and income. This requires rapid interventions by government agencies, businesses and employees themselves. But the Netherlands does not have an integrated job-to-job system yet, says Irmgard Borghouts-van de Pas, a labor market and social security researcher.
She studied which systems or agreements are in place in four European countries (Sweden, the United Kingdom, Austria and Spain) that are aimed at improving the employment security of employees slated for lay-offs. In addition, her doctoral dissertation provides recommendations for Dutch policy makers on what they can learn from these experiences abroad.
Borghouts-van de Pas concludes that Dutch trade unions and employer’s organizations should play a far more active role, as is the case in Sweden. Another important issue for the Netherlands is that job-to-job support should be available to all employees. In other words, not just for people who work for large companies offering social plans or who work under a permanent contract. Small businesses in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Austria can join job-to-job initiatives. In Austria, people on temporary contracts can also join a labor foundation if they are not given an extension for economic reasons.
Irmgard Borghouts – van de Pas (born in Tilburg in 1973) graduated from Tilburg University in 1998. She then worked as a researcher for the municipality of Utrecht, IVA Policy Research and Advice and the OSA Institute for Labour Studies. She is currently engaged as a senior researcher at the ReflecT Research Institute for Flexicurity, Labour Market Dynamics and Social Cohesion at Tilburg University. Furthermore, she is a principal consultant at ECORYS Netherlands since April 2012.
Note for editors
Irmgard Borghouts-van de Pas will defend her doctoral dissertation on Friday 20 April at 10.15 in the auditorium at Tilburg University. Her dissertation is entitled Securing job-to-job transitions in the labour market: a comparative study of employment security systems in European countries. Supervisor: Prof. A.C.J.M. Wilthagen. For further information, please contact Irmgard Borghouts via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Communications & Marketing, tel. 0031 13 4668998.