Special allowances are all obligatory unconditional (not monthly) payments such as holiday allowances or end-of-year bonuses. Bonuses dependent on profits or reaching targets are not taken into account.
In January 2006 the life course savings scheme (levensloopregeling) was introduced. In several collective wage agreements (cao’s) the contributions payable by employers to this scheme were agreed. These contributions are treated as special allowances. The contributions to the life course savings scheme payable by employers are also paid to employees who do not join the scheme.
Moreover, the new Dutch health care act came into force in January 2006 (Zorgverzekeringswet). The compulsory income-dependent contribution is not taken into account in the collectively negotiated wages, but it is included in the contractual wage costs. Extra allowances to compensate for the transition to the new health care system count as special allowances.