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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case NL-2020-40/1363 – measures in Netherlands

National Social Package: prevention of poverty and problematic household debt

Aanvullende sociaal pakket: armoede en problematische schulden

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 01 October 2020
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Preventing over-indebtedness
Author Amber van der Graaf (Panteia) and Eurofound
Case created 30 October 2020 (updated 19 November 2020)

Background information

As of 1 October 2020, the Dutch government presented a third emergency package to address the effects of the COVID-19 crisis. This third package is based along three key thematic goals: continuing current support measures for enterprises and workers, stimulating investment where this is possible, and supporting adjustment to sectors and work where this is necessary. The third emergency package outlines a series of policy plans and initiatives which will be taken between October 2020 and 2022, taking a more long-term perspective. As part of this second and third thematic goals, one of the plans presented is to develop and implement at National Social Package to supplement the existing measures for entrepreneurs, enterprises, workers, and sectors. The aim of the National Social Package is to provide longer term employment options and prospects to employers, workers, and entrepreneurs by capitalising on the new economic reality where possible. This National Social Package has four main areas:

  • Transition to new or different work
  • Stimulating youth employment
  • Re-education, re-skilling and development
  • Prevention of poverty and problematic household debt

This case describes the governmental support allocated to preventing poverty and problematic levels of household debt.

Content of measure

The National Social Package involves multiple measures and plans which have yet to be implemented. As it stands, the government reserves €1.4 billion for a series of actions and investments. Of this overall support allocated to the National Social Package, €150 million will be allocated to this area. The rationale here is that poverty and problematic debts prevent individuals from fully participating in society. Individuals and household vulnerable to poverty are likely to be hit even worse by the COVID-19 crisis and face larger obstacles in finding employment. To help individuals the government aims to provide better and timelier support to individuals threatened with poverty. The government will also set up a Guarantee Fund to help households and individuals to get rid of their debts more quickly.

Use of measure

This measure has not yet been implemented.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Does not apply to businesses Other groups of citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Trade unions
Employers' organisations
Other social actors (e.g. NGOs)
Local / regional government
Public employment service
European Funds
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Consulted Consulted
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


National and regional social partners were deeply involved in the design of the social package. Regional and local social partners, including local branches of the public employment service, municipal governments, educational institutes, sectoral education and training funds, and employer organisations will all be involved in helping job seekers to find work through retraining and job matching. Vulnerable groups will be supported through existing municipal and regional services and the same will apply to vulnerable youths who are looking for work.

Views and reactions

The social partner views are very positive towards this social package. They were highly involved in the initiative for the plan and its necessity and through weekly consultations and involvement, were strongly involved in the development of the plan as well. Trade unions, employer organisations, other social partners for specific social groups and education and training institutes all agree on the urgent necessity of looking to the future and trying to maintain social welfare for as many people as possible. Individuals in or close to poverty face struggles across the board and prevention tends to work better than helping individuals move out of poverty. With this rationale in mind the Guarantee Fund has been set-up and extra prevention measures as well.



Eurofound (2020), National Social Package: prevention of poverty and problematic household debt, case NL-2020-40/1363 (measures in Netherlands), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.