More services by sheltered workshops

Services provided by sheltered workshops such as park maintenance, cleaning and mail delivery pushed up turnover substantially in the period 1995-2003. While these services accounted for 60 percent of turnover in 1995, by 2003 this had risen to three-quarters of turnover. Sheltered workshops made a total 1,177 million euro with their activities in 2003.

Turnover of sheltered workshops, by activity, 2003

Services replacing manufacturing

In 2003 the provision of services constituted the main source of income of sheltered workplaces. Planting and maintenance of parks and gardens, and running plant nurseries accounted for 26 percent of turnover. In addition assembly and packing of goods (23 percent) and secondment of sheltered workshop workers (12 percent) contributed to net turnover. Income from manufacturing activities has thus diminished from 40 percent in 1995 to 25 percent in 2003.

Turnover in sheltered workshops

Large workplaces

There were around one hundred sheltered workshops in the Netherlands at the beginning of 2003. Three-quarters of them employed more than one hundred people. At the end of 2004 109 thousand people worked in a sheltered workshop. 87 percent of these were employed under the law covering sheltered workplaces. The remaining 13 percent consisted of subsidised staff and management, including government employees. Most employees are men (73 percent). In private sector companies, the ratio between the sexes is more equal: 55 percent men and 45 percent women.

Government contribution covers labour costs

Sheltered workshops rely on subsidies to an important extent. The government contribution is the main subsidy in this respect. It is intended to cover the labour costs of the workers in these workshops. In 2003 the workshops received a total 2,122 million euro from the government, with which they were able to finance the labour costs (2,119 million euro) of their workers.

Margot de Bontridder and Hans Draper