Public Management

Social security system not future-proof

By Nicolette van Gestel | May 21, 2014 | 1 min read

To make the Dutch social security system more sustainable, the system should be more focused on citizens' own participation and responsibility. Individual needs in the area of work, care, housing and pension would have to be better attuned as well. That is the conclusion of the authors of a new study into the future of social security.

Redistributing individual and collective responsibility for social security would make the system fairer and facilitate counterbalancing changes in society and the economy.

After decades of change to parts of the system, the Dutch welfare state is again faced with challenges while the all-important social security system debate has repeatedly been shelved. The authors of Toekomst van de sociale zekerheid [The Future of Social Security] have provided input for this debate. Based on an in-depth analysis of the facilities and responsibilities in the area of illness and disability as well as unemployment and pension, they conclude that the system is due for a much needed overhaul. The system’s fairness and, as a result, its support base are at stake.

According to the authors, adjustments to the system should not only be made in the form of reducing the level of benefits and services (provision), but also through risk prevention and citizen participation. As a result, citizens will be able to exert more influence on their own social security, both collectively and individually, and the role of provision will ultimately become smaller.

Simple basic system

The authors propose creating a simpler system of collective basic provisions for illness, unemployment and pension that is accessible for everyone, including flexible workers, self-employed workers and job seekers, who are now often bypassed. Supplementary collective insurance will create more scope for individual choices and individual responsibility.

More prevention and participation

As regards prevention, the authors suggest focusing on increased productivity rather than on workforce dropout, creating more provisions for education and further training, linking pensionable age to employment levels, and attuning pension, housing and care needs, among other things.

Where participation is concerned, employees and job seekers should be enabled to, for example, exercise more influence on reintegration, get more powers regarding pension fund investment, and choose when they wish to retire.

The study ‘Toekomst van de sociale zekerheid. Over provisie, preventie en participatie’ was published by Boom|Lemma Uitgevers and has been presented to a broad group of social security stakeholders. The authors are Prof. Nicolette van Gestel (Tilburg University), Emmie Vossen (Radboud University Nijmegen), Shirley Oomens (Tilburg University) & David Hollanders (University of Amsterdam).

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