Spotlight on the Netherlands: A guide to implementing employee benefits technology19.10.21
Global Benefits Director
To successfully implement – and maintain – an exceptional employee benefits experience, you first need to partner with a benefits and technology provider who not only has a state-of-the-art platform, but also understands the local markets in which you operate. The ideal partner will pride themselves on global expertise combined with local knowledge, so it doesn’t matter whether you have a small sales team in Germany or a manufacturing site with 10,000 employees in Poland, they all receive the same personalised service, intuitive technology, and exceptional employee experience.
Overview of Dutch benefits
In terms of flexibility among Benefex customers in the Netherlands, we see a mixed approach, with some choice and some information-only pages – meaning it sits very much in the middle on what we call the simple-to-complex scale. We use this scale to identify a location’s benefits requirements, based on the expectations and complexity of the local benefits market and employee populations. For example, the UK or USA would usually be on the complex end of the scale, with countries such as those in the Nordics closer to the simple end.
Typically in the Netherlands we see a mix of core benefits including:
- Pension (supplementary plan)
- Health cover (with selection options for employees)
- Life and accident insurance (often as part of the retirement plan)
Although flexible benefits like we see in the UK or US are not as widespread in the Netherlands, most employers provide some form of choice in their offering to employees. This is usually in the form of core benefits such as medical, pension and dental offering an employee selection element to them, such as voluntarily increasing cover or contributions. This choice is then further enhanced with benefits such as gym membership, bicycle purchase and car discount, all of which can be managed via a technology platform.
Creative benefit funding
An additional perk for employees in the Netherlands is the holiday allowance. This allowance is a gross payment of 8% of total annual salary, and is usually built up during the employment period from June to May. Conceived in the 1920s as a way of encouraging people to take a trip which focussed on workplace development and performance, these days it is offered regardless of how it is used. The payment is mandatory and typically paid in May.
With this in mind, one of our customers saw this as an opportunity to enhance their employee offering while providing employee choice, under budget restrictions. By using this allowance as a wider benefits budget, employees have access to an 8% fund as a cash pot that they can use for an array of benefit options, including bicycle purchase, pension contribution, extra holiday, and wellness provision. If the employee wishes to take the cash instead, they can do so either on a monthly basis or in an annual payment the following May. Any remaining balance can be paid monthly or in May as a lump sum.
This innovative use of funding has many advantages. Firstly, it allows employers to give more choice to employees while keeping the original option of a lump sum payment available. Secondly, where little choice exists and budgets are limited, this approach provides employees with a choice to suit their needs without costing the organisation money they do not have.
What do your benefits look like?
None of this of course would be possible without a centralised benefits platform, such as OneHub. An online platform like this is key to success, taking away the high level of administration and complexity these options would otherwise require. With decreasing benefits budgets and the need to do more with less to keep employees happy, Benefex were delighted to help this customer achieve their goal.
We’d love to talk to you and answer any of your questions about hosting benefits for your employees in the Netherlands or elsewhere through OneHub, just get in touch!
Paul joined Benefex from Mercer in 2019 with a wealth of international benefits experience, having worked with a large number of high-profile, multinational clients to review their approach to global talent and reward. He leads Benefex’s global benefits delivery team and he’s doing an excellent job of it, if we may say so ourselves. He is skilled in international risk assessment and management, legislative compliance, trend research, cross-border claims, and customer relationship management. AND, he can speak fluent French, mais oui!