Additional bank bonus cap temporarily scrapped

New legislation that would put a restrictive cap on the amount of cash bankers may collect in bonuses missed its proposed January 1 start date when last minute questions were asked by senators of coalition leader VVD. The law was previously lauded by coalition partner PvdA, the Dutch labour party, which has been at odds with the VVD after a health care bill failed to pass a Senate vote.

While Europe has capped bank bonuses at 100 percent of a worker’s annual salary, but the Dutch bill goes miles beyond European rules, limiting bonuses to 20 percent of salary. Dutch bank ABN Amro already gambled that the law will be approved, boosting employees' salaries by 20 percent.

Extra questions were also raised by senators from the opposition party CDA, effectively preventing the legislation from reaching the Senate floor. No timeline has been set to introduce the measure which already passed the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of parliament.

Senate President Ankie Broekers-Knol of the VVD is in charge of the Senate's voting agenda. She has also been at odds with Prime Minister Mark Rutte over his plan to bypass the Senate and enact the law without the approval of both houses of parliament.

The health bill would have stripped the requirement that health insurers repay a majority of costs for treatment from a patient’s out-of-network medical specialist. It is a pillar of the coalition agreement between the conservative VVD and leftist PvdA, but three PvdA senators voted against the health bill at the last minute to defeat the measure.

It sparked a three-day marathon negotiation session between the political parties who feverishly tried to prevent the issue from causing the government to collapse a week before Christmas.

Aside from the two coalition bills not passing through the Senate, a third bill limiting the pay of public-private partnership employees did manage to pass during an extra debate session at the Senate. However two VVD ministers, Edith Schippers of Health and Stef Blok of Housing have said they likely will not implement the new law this year

Minister Schippers led her party on the voted-down health care bill. She and Minister Blok work closely together on several issues in Parliament.


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