Unemployment benefits paid for longer periods

10/02/2003 10:00

The average duration of an unemployment benefit terminated in the period 1992 to 2001 rose from nine months at the beginning of this period to thirteen months in 2001. At the same time, the number of these benefits decreased from 410 thousand at the end of 1994 to 166 thousand at the end of 2001. These 166 thousand current unemployment benefits had lasted for an average 22 months. The duration of the benefit is related to the age at which a person becomes unemployed.

Decrease for short-term benefits in particular

The average duration of a terminated unemployment benefit rose to around thirteen months from 1992 to 2001. The favourable economic climate reduced the number of short-term benefits in particular, but fewer long-term unemployment benefits came to an end.

Quarter of current benefits have already lasted more than three years

At the end of 2001, 166 thousand people in the Netherlands were claiming unemployment benefit. With an average duration of 22 months, these benefits had been paid for significantly longer periods than the benefits that had ended in 2001. One quarter of claimants at the end of 2001 had been receiving an unemployment benefit for more than three years.

Unemployment benefits by average duration, 1992-2001

Duration of benefit related to past employment

Employees made redundant through no fault of their own are eligible for an unemployment benefit. They may claim this benefit for a maximum of between six months and five years, depending on their employment history. When the unemployment benefit has been ended, claimants are eligible for a follow-up benefit for a maximum of two years.

Duration of unemployment benefit rises with age

The older a claimant is, the longer he or she is likely to receive unemployment benefit. For 15-24 year-olds the average duration of terminated benefits was six months, for 25-34 year-olds it was eight months. Claimants in these age groups often have only a short working history. People aged 45-54 and 55-64 years receive unemployment benefit for significantly longer periods: 14 and 29 months on average respectively.

Unemployment benefits by age and duration, 1992-2001

Duration of benefit similar for men and women

More unemployment benefits are paid to men than to women., Sixty percent of benefits were paid to men in the period 1992-2001. On the one hand this is because men are more likely to belong to the labour force than women, while on the other hand young men in particular on unemployment benefit are employed in seasonal jobs in construction and agriculture. The average duration of an unemployment benefit is about equal for men and women.

Ton Ferber