Still many questions in the Chamber about the PvdA minimum hourly wage plan

The Lower House reacted dividedly to a plan by the PvdA to introduce a minimum hourly wage. It is very uncertain whether an own-initiative law by PvdA MP Van Dijk can count on a majority.

There is now a minimum wage of over 1650 euros gross per month for a full job, regardless of whether it is 36, 38 hours or 40 hours. In practice, this means that there are big differences between what people earn with a minimum wage per hour, because one person has a longer working week than the other. That is why the opposition party advocates the introduction of a minimum hourly wage of around 10 euros per hour. On average that would mean an increase of more than 3.5 percent, but there are also groups that are much better off.

Surcharges needed

In a parliamentary debate, the opposition parties SP, GroenLinks and 50Plus embraced the PvdA plan. They stressed that people must be able to make ends meet from a minimum wage and that in practice many people now need all kinds of benefits to make ends meet. They agree with the PvdA that the current system is outdated.

The government party ChristenUnie was also particularly positive. Of the participants in the debate, D66 and SGP had mixed feelings; VVD and CDA are downright against.

Employment

The opponents emphasize that the introduction of a minimum hourly wage will drive employers to costs; they fear that this will cost jobs precisely in this coronation period. VVD MP Tielen said: “The PvdA is completely wrong about the timing. We don’t want to sign up for job losses.”

Critics also question whether raising the minimum hourly wage is not a “too isolated plan”. They wonder whether the plan, for example, should not be included in an overall review of the benefits system. The House of Representatives and the Cabinet have previously said that they are in favour of such a revision.

The treatment of the own-initiative law will continue later. Then Van Dijk will answer the Chamber.