People over the age of 45 who are out of work could be offered ‘restart jobs’ at a reduced salary to help them switch careers, coalition party VVD has suggested.

MP Dennis Wiersma told NOS the plan was a ‘middle road’ between a permanent and flexible contracts. New workers would be given a three-year contract including training, with the salary level reduced to 80% in the first year to cover training costs.

‘The knowledge and skills of older people is very important, but the bar can be fairly high for employers to give people who have been on the sidelines for a long time a permanent job straight away,’ he said.

Wiersma has also proposed reforming the WW compensation system for unemployment so that a share of the payout is invested in reskilling. ‘The aim should be to get people back into work as quickly as possible,’ he told AD.

Unemployment among over-45s has been falling in recent years, but the age group has found it relatively hard to find jobs since the 2008 crash and 134,000 are still out of work, according to CBS figures.

The ANBO organisation, which represents older workers, helped devise the restart plan. Spokeswoman Liane den Haan said it would create job security and long-term opportunities.

‘We see that older unemployed people in particular have difficulty finding a long-term post,’ she said. ‘They jump from six-month contract to six-month contract, which means they can’t make progress and are always on the lookout for their next job. That doesn’t suit anybody.’