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

Factsheet for measure NL-2020-40/1364 Updated – measures in Netherlands

National Social Package: re-education, re-skilling and development

Aanvullend sociaal pakket: (om)scholing en ontwikkeling

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 October 2020 – 01 October 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Active labour market policies (enhancing employability, training, subsidised job creation, etc.)
Author Amber van der Graaf (Panteia)
Measure added 30 October 2020 (updated 08 June 2022)

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:

This case describes the governmental support being established to promote re-education, re-skilling and professional development of workers and job-seekers.

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, €320 million has been assigned to activities to promote re-skilling and educating of workers. The rationale is that the economic shifts and restructuring triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, workers and job seekers will need extra help to adapt their skills and competences to find work within the new economic reality.

Drawing on lessons from the 2008 financial crisis, the government will invest in providing education and training for workers to keep their current jobs or to find new jobs if their employers or sector are likely to shrink. The precise measures to achieve this are still being developed, but measures will be established which support and guide workers in reorientation themselves on the labour market. Measures will also be set up to help financing extra training or which help workers to re-educate themselves in a more fundamental manner. Resources will also be allocated to:

  • provide workers and job seekers with professional development advice,
  • help workers strengthen basic skills and competences,
  • help employers improve the culture of learning in the workplace,
  • improve online education,
  • improve practical learning within VET,
  • the addition of an education budget for unemployed people receiving unemployment benefits,
  • and to inter-sectoral re-education.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

30 August 2021

The ending date of general support measures was set to 1 October 2021.

01 July 2021

The National Social Package was introduced on 28 August 2020 and the introductory letter already included the end date of 1 July 2021. This date has remained unchanged throughout the year.

Use of measure

This measure has not been implemented yet.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to 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


The national peak level social partners, including the employer organisation VNO-NCW and MKB Nederland, the national level trade unions FNV, CNV, and VCP, have all been closely involved in developing the three main packages of emergency measures introduced by the Dutch government since March 2020. This National Social Package has also been developed in collaboration with these peak level social partners, as well as consultation of sectoral social partners, to supplement the emergency measures. The government and social partners all recognise the need for a longer term strategy to support individuals whose job prospects are in decline or which were tenuous already and which have become worse due to the COVID-19 crisis. The importance of learning in the workplace, of life long learning, and making workers professionally mobile is a key theme in the current COVID-19 response in the Netherlands.

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 worked hard to convey the necessity for such a plan. They were involved through weekly consultations (formal as well as informal), and were strongly involved in the development of the plan as well. Trade unions, employer organisations, other social partners all agree that employers and workers need to be encouraged and more actively supported in re- educating themselves so remain mobile. Due to their deep involvement in the entire National Social Package and from feedback form social partners in the media, they appear very satisfied and supportive of this social plan.



Eurofound (2020), National Social Package: re-education, re-skilling and development, measure NL-2020-40/1364 (measures in Netherlands), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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