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Towards the Development of Governance Principles for the Administration of Social Protection Benefits: Comparative Lessons from Dutch and American Experiences

Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer 2015, Forthcoming

Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 15-06

49 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2015  

Frans Pennings

Utrecht University School of Law

Paul M. Secunda

Marquette University - Law School

Date Written: February 11, 2015

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to introduce a new approach to social protection benefit provision through an analysis and comparison of two of the most advanced benefit systems in the world. Both the Dutch and American examples teach us that meaningful social benefit protection is possible, consistent, and necessary within market-based societies.

Our recommendation is that advanced-market societies start a discussion on social protection benefits based on the dual principles of federalism/subsidiarity and fiduciary duty. Federalism provides that the national/federal government should provide the principles and minimal framework for benefit provision, while regional authorities, employers, and insurance companies should be given freedom, and the duty, to implement the underlying schemes to meet the challenges of the local situation. However, to constrain the sometime self-interested and conflicted motives of employers and insurance companies in the benefits system, we also suggest that countries adopt, at the national level, fiduciary duties of loyalty and care to protect against abuse, discrimination, and arbitrary action in the provision of such benefits. In addition, these principles should also be applied to employer-sponsored schemes in both countries, to the extent that such duties do not already exist.

We hope, and believe, that through the construction of such a social benefit system, countries can guarantee a minimal level of benefit protection that will help their citizens negotiate difficult times during retirement, disability, sickness and injury, and unemployment. In turn, the “benefit” of such a system will be the recognition of the dignity and self-worth of all individuals, which is a non-ideological goal that we can all embrace.

Keywords: social protection benefits, social security, social insurance, employee benefits, pensions, healthcare, sickness, disability, unemployment compensation, United States, The Netherlands, Dutch

Suggested Citation

Pennings, Frans and Secunda, Paul M., Towards the Development of Governance Principles for the Administration of Social Protection Benefits: Comparative Lessons from Dutch and American Experiences (February 11, 2015). Marquette Benefits and Social Welfare Law Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, Summer 2015, Forthcoming; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 15-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2563828

Frans Pennings

Utrecht University School of Law ( email )

3508 TC Utrecht
Utrecht
Netherlands

Paul Secunda (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States

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