Sickness and disability reform in the Netherlands

Mara A. Yerkes

in Transforming the Dutch welfare state

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9781847429636
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304081 | DOI:
Sickness and disability reform in the Netherlands

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This chapter demonstrates that the perception and management of sickness and disability has greatly changed in the Netherlands. Originally intended as a passive, full income-support scheme of benefits provided by the welfare state, sickness and disability policy underwent serious changes to policy goals. From a generous welfare-state policy providing passive, collective income support, disability has been dismantled and significantly decollectivised, with a focus on activation and restrictive collective benefits in the welfare state, as well as on increased responsibility for employers and individuals. This change can be traced to five important developments: a reduction in collective protection offered by the welfare state, an increase in employer responsibility, an increase in compensation through collective bargaining, a shift in the administration of benefits towards the public sector, and an increase in individual responsibility.

Keywords: sickness policy; disability policy; policy reform; social risk; decollectivisation; welfare state; employer responsibility; individual responsibility

Chapter.  14419 words.  Illustrated.

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