Overall assessment

AuthorMarlies Vegter
12 Overall assessment
The following transposition problems were mentioned in this report:
1. The exclusion from social security schemes of domestic staff;
2. The fact that the transparency measures set out by the European Commission’s
Recommendation of 7 March 2014 have not been implemented;
3. The absence of a provision that guarantees the right of a worker to return to his/her
job or to an equivalent job after returning from maternity leave, adoption leave
and/or parental leave.
The overall impression of the author is that implementation of the EU gender equality
acquis is to a great extent satisfactory. The Netherlands ranks sixth in the EU on the EIGE’s
Gender Equality Index with 72.1 out of 100 points. Its score is 4.7 points higher than the
EU’s score. The Netherlands’ scores are higher than the EU’s scores in all domains, except
the domain of power. In this domain there is work to be done. Hopefully the ongoing
publicity and the announced women’s quota will be helpful in this respect. 240
The EU work-life balance requirements will oblige the Dutch legislator to introduce a legal
right to two months paid parental leave. So far this leave is unpaid, unless the social
partners h ave made a different agreement. In addition, paternity leave will have to be
extended from 5 paid days to 10 paid days. For the rest, the Directive will probably have
no effect on the Dutch situation.
There are points of concern.
A point which returns every year is the position of predominantly female domestic staff
who w ork on f our da ys or fewer per week in a private hou sehold. These workers have
significantly fewer employment and social securi ty rights than oth er workers. They may
be dismissed unilaterally without the permission of employment a gencies or the district
courts, they are entitled to 6 weeks’ pay during illness instead of 104 weeks, and they fall
outside the scope of the social security system. This reduced protection has been criticised
by, inter alia, the European Commission and the CEDAW Committee, but there is still no
political will to tackle the situation.
Another point of concern is the vulnerable employment situ ation of preg nant women and
young mothers. This matter h as also been troubling for a long time a nd there does not
seem to have been any improvement. On the contrary, the situation has deteriorated,
mainly because of the tremendous increase in flexible working arrangements and work as
a self-employed person in the Netherlands.
The increase in flexible working also leads to precarious employment, especially for people
with lower education levels and people in more basic positions. These include people from
third countries who come to the Netherlands to work temporarily. This is not specifically a
matter of gender inequality, but of c ourse women are also affected b y this. Equal pay for
equal work throughout the EU would help greatly, but this is a c omplex matter.
A worrying trend in the Netherlands, as in oth er countries, is the rise or perhaps one
should say return of populist movements. During the last elections in the Netherlands a
new populist party, Forum voor Democratie (Forum for Democ racy), gained many votes.
In general, these parties are not positive about womens rights and the Netherlands is no
exception in this respect. The lead er of the lat est populist party said in an interview that
because women are so involved i n career-maki ng they do not have enoug h children, he
criticised the right to abortion, said that women do not have ambition and that they want
240 European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), Gender Equality Index, Index Score for the Netherlands for
2019. Available at: https://eige.europa.eu/gender-equality-index/2019/NL.

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