To reduce the workload, Bergkamp wants to take more preventive measures. “We are in the process of arranging occupational health care in The Hague. This includes preventive care to prevent burnouts, such as a company doctor and a psychologist for MPs, and care and support after illness. recently easier to organize this for MPs.”
D66 member Bergkamp was elected as the new chairman by her fellow MPs after the elections in March. One of the issues that Bergkamp wants to tackle in her new role is the increased workload of parliamentarians.
Debates last from early in the morning until late at night, MPs have to process a lot of information and are constantly bombarded with emails and text messages and the parliamentarians have little staff support. In recent years, this has meant that more and more MPs have had to be temporarily replaced due to burnout complaints.
MPs and ministers
Member of parliament Pieter Omtzigt, who has since left the CDA, who played an important role in revealing the allowance affair, was also forced to take a step back in recent months due to fatigue. D66 MP Rens Raemakers returned last year after a burnout and CDA MP Harry van der Molen has to be replaced until the end of this year for the same reason.
Several ministers and state secretaries were also so busy that they had to temporarily or permanently stop their work. For example, Minister Bruno Bruins (VVD) became unwell last year during a parliamentary debate and did not return after that. Minister Bas van ‘t Wout (VVD) also stopped working after the first 5 months of this year because of a burnout.
Bergkamp is concerned about the high workload. “It is very intense that people drop out, that affects me too.” In order to do something about this, and to strengthen supervisory tasks and confidence in parliament, Bergkamp appointed a working group led by SGP MP Kees van der Staaij soon after taking office. That committee must, among other things, make proposals to improve the position of the House of Representatives and to reduce the workload.
“I’m concerned about that. I really try to do something about it by looking at it, and not letting every debate last late into the night. Of course you should just keep doing urgent matters and not discussing those matters. limit a lot in time. The House of Representatives should also enter into a debate itself about working hours and, for example, the prioritization of work.”
Bergkamp believes it is important that there is sufficient time in the agenda for MPs to be able to make legislation. In addition, the recess period must also become more predictable for MPs and an attempt must be made to keep it free as much as possible.
Since the outbreak of the corona crisis, recessions have been regularly interrupted for intercalated debates. “The recess is also necessary to be able to recover and to reflect or, for example, to make working visits.”