Present situation (prior to 1 January 2016) - Term and accrual unemployment benefits
At present the maximum term of unemployment benefits is 38 months. Basic unemployment benefits are for 3 months. For each year of employment history, an employee accrues an extension of unemployment benefits of 1 month. During the first two months of unemployment benefits, employees are entitled to 75% of the (legal maximum of the) daily wages, after that 70% of the (legal maximum of the) daily wages. To be eligible for unemployment benefits, a person has to be unemployed, no exclusion grounds can apply and he has to comply with the reference requirement. This is, briefly, that the employee, in the 36 weeks prior to the first day of unemployment, has worked for at least 26 weeks and in the 5 calendar years prior to the year that the employee was unemployed, he has worked for at least 4 calendar years. The employee must also be available to accept employment.
Change on 1 January 2016
The government wants to change the maximum term and accrual of the unemployment benefits claims. From 1 January 2016, the maximum term of unemployment benefits shall gradually (with 1 month each quarter year) be reduced to 24 months. With the collective labour agreement, the social partners can add to (the period of) unemployment benefits with privately financed agreements. The accrual of unemployment benefits rights is slowed. During the first 10 years of employment, employees still accrue an extension of unemployment benefits of 1 month for each year of service. After that, they shall only accrue half of month of extension for each year of service. The employment history that employees accrued prior to 1 January 2016 is respected. If the term of those accrued rights to unemployment benefits is over 24 months, there is a gradual reduction to the new maximum. Persons entitled to benefits who already receive unemployment benefits on 1 January 2016 shall keep those benefits and the thereto attached term for the term of the benefits.