I saw a news story today on NOS that said a Dutch company that is paid to check up on people who falsely claim that they're sick has launched overseas operations.
So now they're checking up on people who call in sick while on vacation.
At first I thought the most amazing thing about this story was the implication that it's possible to call in sick while on vacation. Then I thought the most amazing thing is that there is a company in the Netherlands whose main function is to check up on whether workers are lying when they call in sick. Like professional narcs.
Well, those parts of the story are definitely true (you can call in sick while on vacation here in order not to waste any of your 25 days; the company that's made a business out of busting cheats is called VCC Groep).
It reminded me of another recent story that Dutch schools have started posting truancy officers ('leerplichtambtenaren') at Schiphol airport two days before the start of summer vacation to make sure that parents weren't sneaking their kids out of school early to avoid the crowds.
Anyway it turns out the NOS story was actually a derivative version of a slightly more interesting story in my favorite paper De Telegraaf(Dutch).
What a different impression we take away when we read the Telegraaf version:
"AMSTERDAM _ Special for Dutch employees of Moroccan and Turkish heritage, a new service is being set up to check up on those who call in sick during their vacations in those countries.
"By calling in sick with a false doctor's declaration at the end of their vacation in Morocco or Turkey, they are able to milk out extra days in the sun for weeks at a time, healthy but paid. The doctor declares that the employee can't travel because of illness."
"It's striking that it happens primarily with Dutch of Moroccan and Turkish origin," says director Paul Chaillet of VCC Groep. ... "Usually a visit to the doctor who gave the false declaration is enough to get it retracted. But you do need to have a person there."
"The company primarily concerns itself with cleaners and production workers who 'arrange' a longer vacation."
I guess the text pretty much speaks for itself.
Personally, I've always been fascinated with the phenomenon of apparently healthy 'white' Dutch who don't work because they've been able (I guess) to swing a doctor's excuse but continue to draw their salary.
Every day, summer or winter, I see well-dressed white people relaxing in the cafes or doorways reading their newspapers with a coffee as I bike to work, and I think, "what do they do?"
Can we have a story about that, please, Telegraaf?