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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-2021-1/1820 Updated – measures in Netherlands

Support for households at risk of serious financial difficulty

Tijdelijke Ondersteuning Noodzakelijke Kosten (TONK)

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2021 – 30 September 2021
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Measures to prevent social hardship
– Protection of vulnerable groups (beyond employment support)
Author Thomas de Winter (Panteia) and Eurofound
Measure added 08 April 2021 (updated 18 October 2021)

Background information

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some households face a drop in their income. The already existing social security system and the measures from other support packages (TVL and NOW) are not effective in solving the actual problem or these households are not eligible for these packages. Therefore, the government and the local governments feel socially responsible for these households with financial issues due to the pandemic.

Content of measure

The government is creating the TONK measure for households that are in danger of getting into serious financial difficulties due to circumstances. The following households meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Households that still have income from work, but at the same time are confronted with such a drop in income that they can no longer meet necessary costs.
  • If households revert on benefits and therefore have a decline in income.
  • If one or both partners no longer has income from work and no entitlement to benefits.

€130 million have been reserved for this measure for the first two quarters of 2021. It is expected that this measure can be used from 1 February.


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

01 June 2021

The support applies from 1 January to 30 September 2021. Municipalities will implement the scheme and can grant TONK retroactively. They can draw up policy rules for TONK themselves on the basis of the Participation Act.

Use of measure

Through the TONK, municipalities have helped households with an income decline due to corona to pay their housing costs. €260 million has been earmarked for the scheme, but the uptake was not high. In municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, an average of 350 applications were submitted from mid-March to mid-May 2021. In smaller municipalities with 50,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, the average number of applications is 49 and in even smaller municipalities 18. This is apparent from the latest TONK monitor, carried out by Divosa with figures from May 2021. There are no more current figures. Municipalities do not have to account for their TONK expenditure (Trouw, 2021).

Target groups

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

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
National funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Direct consultation outside a formal body Direct consultation outside a formal body

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

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The government made agreements with VNG (Association of Dutch Municipalities) and Divosa (the association of municipal directors in the social domain). They have contributed to the design of the TONK measure. The level of social dialogue is almost exclusively national. In a letter to the Parliament the VNG, NVVK, Sociaal Werk Nederland, LCR emphasizes the necessity for measures to promote social security.

Views and reactions

Divosa is pleased with the TONK measure. They emphasise the fact that more households with financial problems are eligible for this measure, thus even more households can be helped. They also indicate that the execution must be easy to implement. Divosa will be actively in contact with the other social partners.


  • 08 April 2021: Rijksoverheid (2020). Kamerbrief aanpassingen steun- en hertelpakket. (
  • 08 April 2021: Rijksoverheid (2020). Kabinet versterkt vangnet voor bedrijven en banen. (
  • 08 April 2021: Coronaregelingen (2020). Tijdelijke ondersteuning noodzakelijk kosten TONK. (
  • 08 April 2021: Divosa (2020). Tijdelijke regeling (TONK) voor huishoudens in financiële nood. (
  • 01 June 2021: TONK: Tijdelijke Ondersteuning Noodzakelijke Kosten (
  • 30 September 2021: Terugblik in cijfers: zoveel coronahulp betaalde de overheid aan loonkosten, huur en inkomstenverlies (


Eurofound (2021), Support for households at risk of serious financial difficulty, measure NL-2021-1/1820 (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.