Various amendments were enacted in 2022 which change the landscape of Dutch employment law. In this article we briefly outline the main changes.
The age at which employees will receive their first state pension changed from 66 years and three months to 66 years and seven months. A tax-free allowance of EUR 2.00 per day has been given the okay for employees who work from home to cover their general expenses. Both changes are retrospectively effective from 1 January 2022.
Employers should take note of the complete ban on smoking areas in the workplace. From 1 January 2022, all buildings, spaces and establishments where people work must be completely smoke-free and all designated smoking areas in the workplace must be closed. Inspections are planned to be routinely carried out by The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) and in case of any violations an administrative fine of EUR 450 up to EUR 4,500 can be imposed. Employers should amend their smoking policy if necessary and duly inform employees of any changes.
As from 2 August 2022, a nine week parental leave benefit during which period the employee is entitled to an allowance of half of their current daily wage, capped at 50% of the maximum daily wage. This paid parental leave must be taken in the child’s first year of life. The remaining 17 weeks of the total of 26 weeks remain unpaid and can be taken until the child’s 8th birthday. Perhaps now is the time to plan that well deserved vacation with the family?
The Implementation of the Transparent and Predictable Employment Conditions Act takes effect from 1 August 2022. While only a few new rules will come into effect, these will inevitably create both rights and obligations for employees in its pursuit of creating more stability to employees in the Netherlands.
The Bill on the Implementation of the EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Terms of Employment was submitted to the Lower House on 11 November 2021, with the main aim of improving employment conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment conditions while ensuring adaptability on the labour market. These amendments will have major consequences for employees too.
Employers are obliged to provide more information to employees on employment conditions, rights and correlating responsibilities, this includes probationary periods and the rules and procedures on dismissals and related disciplinary actions. It includes the right to training and reimbursement of the costs of training as well as all additional costs such as transportation and material. In the case where an employer is required by law or by collective labour agreement to offer training to an employee, this training must also be free of charge and the time involved qualifies as working time. This rule only goes for legally entitled training under a collective labour agreement or the required training which is necessary to work at your job.
All employment contracts will permit an employee to engage in a side job next to their regular employment. The only valid justification for the prohibition of ancillary activities by an employer is where there is objective justification such as carrying out work for a competitor, conflict of interest or working too many hours leading to the inability to perform functions adequately.
On 1 January every year the statutory minimum wage is increased. As from 1 July 2022, the minimum wage for employees aged 21 and older will be increase from EUR 1,725 gross per month to EUR 1,756,20 gross per month, EUR405,30 per week and EUR 81,06 per day. The legislation does not lay down how many hours are in one full week, but this ranges from 36, 38 or 40 hours. Employees should be made aware of this increase.
The Collective Labour Act (Verzamelwet SZW) 2022 resulted in an amendment of the Works Council Act (Wet op de ondernemingsraden, WOR). Currently, employees have the right to vote after being employed for six months. After twelve months, employees can become members of the Works Council (OR). Both of these periods will be shortened to three months as of 1 January 2022. In addition to the above a temporary agency worker will qualify as an employee sooner, acquiring participation rights after 15 months from 24 months, thereby acquiring active and passive voting rights after 18 months.
Improved workplace regularity brings about a higher level of obligation for employers and employees alike. For those who work irregular hours this has more consequences. An on-call worker and employer must determine work hours in advance. If the employer decides to call the worker outside the agreed times, the worker may refuse. In turn, this also means that employees must come to work during hours that they indicated to their employer, as a “no-show” can be seen as a refusal to work.
Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com