Expensive groceries and high energy bills. The cry for compensation was and still is loud. “Not everything can come from the government,” Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag said recently. With an energy cap and a general energy deduction, the government is responsible for a portion of the compensation, but employers also want to contribute.
Some employers take it literally. For example, the family company Klok Holding, which is active in real estate, has been paying all 530 employees a monthly allowance totaling 250 euros since this summer. “We are concerned about this force majeure situation,” says manager Ton van de Klok. “You hear that employees are under pressure because they face higher costs right away.”
happiness at work
For the rest of the year, employees also receive this allowance. Wages will rise from January and then it will be examined whether the bonus will remain. “We have been able to make successful progress in this family business very quickly, thanks to all of our employees. And then we believe it is important to give something back where possible. Ultimately, this will pay off work happiness and motivation,” says Van De Clock.
Employees still have to pay tax on the amounts. Employers suffer from the limited space they believe the government is offering to accommodate employees. Some employees have trouble with allowances when they receive a bonus.
This is a thorn in the side of employers. “We’ve been arguing for months that we be able to give employees something extra once tax-free,” says a spokesperson for VNO-NCW. “The truth is that of everything an employer gives to its employee, the greater part remains in the financial arc. Netto-netto will be most effective.”
At the lending company Kasparov they chose a different approach. All employees who wish to do so are eligible for budget training. “On the one hand, you have the option of blind compensation, but we think it is fundamentally important that people become more aware of how they handle money,” says director Sten Weingartner. “We want to offer a long-term solution.”
Financial advisor Jürgen de Jong believes that compensation is not always the right tool. “The moment you give money to people, where does this end? If you give a course on how to handle money, you also help them prevent problems in the future. There’s a more structural character to that.”
Budgetcoach’s Stephanie Hesterman sees this too. “What we get from employees is that they really appreciate it when the employer is committed to the employees’ financial fitness. They see that as a sign that they are a good employer.”
According to HR lecturer Killian Wawoe (VU Amsterdam), employers are reluctant, with all the options they have. “On the one hand, they want to absorb their employees, but on the other hand they note that not every employee suffers equally from the expiry of the energy contract. Are you going to compensate everyone? Or only the employees affected? Compensation in percentages, which one would prefer a high-income earner or a fixed amount for each employee? “
Another dilemma, according to Wawoe, has to do with raising wages. “You don’t know what’s going to happen with the energy crisis. It may be less difficult next year, but then you may have increased salaries significantly. If things go bad economically, you have very expensive employees.”
In addition to compensation in salary or courses, there are other ways to help employees. At the Reinaerde welfare organization, they want to give employees a discount on the purchase of solar panels next year, in exchange for days off.
Director Wouter Satgen wants to keep his staff warm when the stove has to be brought down. He gives his employees a foot pack with sustainable wool socks, plaid, a candle and hot chocolate. “It’s a small gesture, but it’s for a sign: Guys, we’re there for each other. And that’s so good for me. spirit at work.”
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