Government addresses the impact of work-related stress on the economy

Government addresses the impact of work-related stress on the economy

This week marks the annual Work-Related Stress Week (Week van de Werkstress, November 14-17) in the Netherlands.

To coincide with this, Lodewijk Asscher, the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment in the Netherlands, has encouraged employers and business owners to directly address work-related stress to prevent the burden of burnouts on the economy.

Stress-related burnouts are on the rise

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, responsible for labour market policies in the Netherlands, found that almost 2,7 million workers in the Netherlands have a high work load, and thus run the risk of suffering from a burnout.  

According to the Nationale Enquête Arbeidsomstandigheden van TNO (National Survey on Working Conditions) and the CBS (Central Bureau for Statistics), around one million of these employees do not get the support they need, which often results in them taking time off of work.

The study also found that employees who lack independence in their work place, along with the ability to contribute to developments within their company, are more prone to feeling the effects of stress. 

Work-related stress subsidy

The Minister of Social Affairs and Employment announced that 13 million euros in subsidies from the European Social Fund is available to companies to support their employees until November 25, 2016.

Employers are eligible to claim back half of the costs of up to a maximum of 10 thousand euros spent on services such as company training.

As of next year, the Ministry claims it will also focus on training supervisors in how to deal with work-related stress, bullying and other related causes.  

National movement towards finding solutions

Whilst it is common for employees to suffer from stress, it is often considered a taboo topic of discussion, particularly as most employers are often worried that they may have a direct involvement in the cause.

For this reason, radio stations and social media companies in the Netherlands are working together with the public to find solutions to avoid work-related stress which may lead to burnout.

It is believed that by discussing the issues at hand publicly, work-related stress can be avoided. You can follow the movement at

The effects on children 

The initiative goes a step further to take into consideration the effects of work-related stress on the children of employers and employees who suffer from work-related stress.

The Ministry has therefore collaborated with the Missing Chapter Foundation (MCF) to launch a Children’s Council (Raad van Kinderen) to help think up solutions to the problem.

Led by Princess Laurentien of Orange, grade 7 students from Paschalisschool in The Hague met with Minister Lodewijk Asscher to give him their best suggestions.

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Kiri Scully


Kiri Scully

Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five countries over three continents. Fuelled by culture curiosity at an early age,...

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