Combining Paid Work and Eldercare in the Netherlands in the Practice of Selected Dutch Organizations

Agnieszka Furmańska-Maruszak

Faculty of Humanities, Nicolaus Copernicus University

Susanne Heeger-Hertter

Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University


The possibility to balance work and eldercare in the Netherlands is determined by legal and institutional factors (such as special employment entitlements for a career in the form of leaves and a flexible working arrangement). In our paper we compare the Dutch legislation in this field with the HRM practice of four Dutch public and private (non-profit and for-profit) organizations. The aim is to check what kind of workplace eldercare assistance is provided by the organizations and what forms are applied due to legal regulations and what goes beyond these regulations and why. The results show that the relationship between employer and employee is based on mutual trust. Dutch employers are – as far as circumstances permit – more generous in practice than the specific legislation requires, mainly due to the minimum rights in the legislation. A reason for the generosity is self-interest. The Dutch regulation of sick pay can be seen as an incentive to prevent sickness as it obliges employers to continue paying the wages during sickness for a long period. Moreover, they want to build loyalty and motivation among their employees by developing a form
of corporate social responsibility.


eldercare assistance, work-life balance, the Dutch legislation

Asscher-Vonk, I.P. (2001). De sociaalverzekeringsrechtelijke positie van de verlofganger en loopbaanonderbreker. Puzzels en Gaten, SMA, 7(8), 376-381.   Google Scholar

Beleidsdoorlichting Arbeid en Zorg. Een evaluatie van artikel 25 van de begroting van het ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid. (2006). The Hague: Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid.   Google Scholar

Billings, J., Leichsenring, K., & Wagner, L. (2013). Addressing Long-Term Care as a System – Objective and Method of Study. In K. Leichsenring, J. Billings, & H. Nies (Eds.). Long-term care in Europe. Improving Policy and Practice. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 3-18.   Google Scholar

Boer, A. de, Plaisier, I., & de Klerk, M. (2019). Werk en mantelzorg. Kwaliteit van leven en het gebruik van ondersteuning op het werk. The Hague: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau.   Google Scholar

Bouget, D., Spasova, S., & Vanhercke, B. (2016). Work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives in Europe. A study of national policies 2016. Brussels: European Commission.   Google Scholar

Calvano, L. (2015). Balancing eldercare and work. In R.J. Burke, C.L. Cooper, & A.S.G. Antoniou (Eds.). The Multigenerational and Ageing Workforce. Challenges and Opportunities. Cheltenham-Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 163-182.   Google Scholar

Dijkhoff, T. (2017). Working More, Longer, and Healthier: Solutions and Pitfalls in the Netherlands. In E.M. Hohnerlein, S. Hennion, & O. Kaufmann (Eds.). Erwerbsverlauf und sozialer Schutz in Europa. Berlin: Springer-Verlag GmbH, p. 339-356.   Google Scholar

European Commission. (2016), Retrieved from (20.10.2018).   Google Scholar

Eurostat. (2018). Employment statistics. Retrieved from (20.10.2018).   Google Scholar

Health at a Glance 2017: OECD Indicators. (2017). Paris: OECD Publishing.   Google Scholar

Hoe Werkt Nederland? Volgens Jou. Ministerie Sociale Zaken en Werkgenheid. Retrieved from   Google Scholar

Klerk, M. de, de Boer, A., Plaisier, I., Schyns, P., & Kooiker, S. (2015), Informele hulp: wie doet er wat? Omvang, aard en kenmerken van mantelzorg en vrijwilligerswerk in de zorg en ondersteuning in 2014. The Hague: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau.   Google Scholar

Modernisering regelingen voor verlof en arbeidstijden. (2014). Kamerstukken II, 32 855, no. 17.   Google Scholar Retrieved from   Google Scholar

Op weg naar een mantelzorgvriendelijk arbeidsklimaat. (2018). Stichting Werk En Mantelzorg. Retrieved from (08.03.2019).   Google Scholar

Pennings, F. (2017). Social Security Law in the Netherlands. Alphen an den Rijn: Wolters Kluwer.   Google Scholar

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU. (2017). Brussels: European Commission.   Google Scholar

Sustainable work over the life course: Concept paper. (2015). Eurofound. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.   Google Scholar

Verbeek-Oudijk, D., Woittiez, I., Eggink, E., & Putman, L. (2014). Who cares in Europe? A comparison of long-term care for the over-50s in sixteen European countries. The Hague: Sociaal Cultureel Planbureau.   Google Scholar

Wijziging van de Wet algemene regels herindeling in verband met het opnemen van een regeling inzake de gevolgen van een wijziging van de gemeentelijke indeling voor de verkiezing van de raden van de daarbij betrokken gemeenten. (2014). Kamerstukken II, 32 889, nr. 3. Retrieved from   Google Scholar

Wittenberg, R. (2016). Demand for care and support for older people. In C. Gori, J-L. Fernandez & R. Wittenberg (Eds.). Old-term care reforms in OECD countries. Bristol: Policy Press, p. 9-24.   Google Scholar

Woude, F. van der, de Vaan, K., & Blommesteijn, M. (2016). ESPN thematic Report on work-life balance measures for persons of working age with dependent relatives. The Netherlands. Brussels: European Commission.   Google Scholar

Zwinkels, W. (2018). Verlofregelingen arbeid en zorg naar type arbeidsrelatie. The Hague: Epsilon Research. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Susanne/Downloads/verlofregelingen-arbeid-en-zorg-naar-type-arbeidsrelatie.pdf (08.03.2019).   Google Scholar



Cited by

Furmańska-Maruszak, A., & Heeger-Hertter, S. (2019). Combining Paid Work and Eldercare in the Netherlands in the Practice of Selected Dutch Organizations. Olsztyn Economic Journal, 14(3), 255–270.

Agnieszka Furmańska-Maruszak 
Faculty of Humanities, Nicolaus Copernicus University
Susanne Heeger-Hertter 
Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, Utrecht University


An Author declares that his paper has not been published before (under the same or another title, or is a part of another publication) and does not infringe copyrights of other persons**. At the same time, the Author transfers to the Publisher the exclusive right to publish and to circulate this work in print in the form of a non-serial journal publication and in a form of an electronic publication.

Author's statement

The journal is available on Creative Common license CC-BY-NC-ND