Largest increase in unemployment since 2003, considerably more claims for benefits

Eline Weber receives unemployment benefit due to the corona crisis. At the UWV she was even told that there are so many unemployed people, and so little work, that they understand if she does not apply four times a month. “They said take it easy, take your time to process this.”

She worked through an employment agency at Schiphol, where she helped passengers who need guidance to get to and from aircraft. She stood at the baggage claim with a passenger on a flight from Suriname on March 26 when she heard she was being fired, on March 28.

“It was getting quieter at Schiphol, but I didn’t expect to be fired.” She went to the cafeteria with her colleagues, who were also fired. “Everyone was upset, even crying. Then we were told that we could go home because they understood that we found it difficult to continue working.”

Eline has returned one more time to hand in her pass and uniform. That was very confrontational. “I did another round at Schiphol as a farewell. It was dramatically extinct, so sad.”

All links in the chain

In March, the number of new unemployment benefits rose mainly in the catering, culture and temporary employment sector. As the corona crisis continues for longer, more branches are affected: in April the number of new unemployment benefits increased in all sectors. The strongest percentage increase compared to last month was in April in the cleaning sector (+ 91%).

“You see that the longer it takes, the more links in the chain are hit. At first it was very abruptly the catering industry because it had to close, and now we also see that the cleaners of those buildings are losing their jobs,” says Witjes.

Wishful thinking

The cabinet currently pays part of the salary of 1.9 million people through the NOW scheme. An aim of this scheme is to prevent companies from firing their staff en masse. “That arrangement has made things worse,” says Witjes. Today it will be announced what the support package will look like from June. The dismissal fine will probably be canceled, so that companies can still fire people if they use the NOW scheme.

Witjes dares not predict what these figures will look like in the near future. “In May, of course, there was some relaxation and there were more people in the shopping streets again, so you could expect that the number of layoffs would have risen less rapidly as a result. But maybe that’s wishful thinking, it’s looking at coffee grounds.”

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