Recent law developments in the Netherlands
In the past two years, several new laws with far-reaching consequences for employers have entered into force in the Netherlands. When looking at the latest developments on labour law in the Netherlands, one could say it is in a great deal of turmoil nowadays. ‘Our customers are involved in shipping & offshore business in the widest meaning of the word. That is their core business and they should be able to focus on that, without needing to spend too much time on all these complex changing new rules. For us, manpower is our core business so we have the time to actually focus on that. That is one of the big advantages of outsourcing. All parties involved can focus on what they do best.’ says Marlena Holdermans.
Consequences of the new law: Wet Werk en Zekerheid
In 2015 the so-called “Wet Werk en Zekerheid” (Work and Security Act, or in short: “WWZ”) came into effect in the Netherlands. This law has substantial implications for (flexible) employment and dismissal. The maximum period for successive temporary employment contracts has been reduced from thirty-six to twenty-four months, and the minimum interval required to interrupt a chain of successive contracts has been increased from three to six months. For crew agencies like TOS, exceptions to these standard rules are allowed because of the applicable collective bargaining agreement (‘CBA’). Other consequences of this law did not receive as much attention in the media, but are just as important.
- In principle, employers are no longer allowed to include a non-compete clause in any temporary employment contract.
- New limitations have been set on the application of trial periods in temporary contracts.
- Employers need to give timely official written notification to employees if they choose not to prolong their temporary employment contract.
Also new rules on the methods of dismissal are embedded in the WWZ. Although proclaimed by politicians to be a simplification of the system of firing employees, in reality, the reasons for dismissal are now in fact strictly limited to a number of legally-defined causes. That puts a lot of pressure on employers to maintain an adequate file on each of the employee’s performance. Without a sufficiently documented file, dismissal becomes costly business – even more so now than under the old rules. Last but not least, a legal severance pay has been introduced, the so-called “transitional payment”, which will most probably result in a considerable increase in cost to the employer.
Consequences of the new law: Wet Aanpak Schijnconstructies
In addition to the far-reaching changes mentioned above with the implementation of the WWZ, there are also serious consequences for our customers of a second law, the “Wet Aanpak Schijnconstructies” (Labour Market Fraud Act, in short: “WAS”) that has recently entered into force. This law widens the scope of liability for companies that make use of subcontractors. Not only are they now, as under the old system, liable for correct payment of social security premiums and wage tax by the subcontractors to the Dutch authorities, but also under the WAS they are now liable for payment of the statutory minimum wage and minimum holiday allowance for complying with any applicable CBA. These liabilities will become effective at the moment that the employer of the crew (the crew agency) does not fulfill her obligations as such. Therefore it is so important that a professional agency is selected and that the customer verifies whether or not this agency is fulfilling all obligations within the new legal requirements. ‘TOS is a NEN-4400-1 certified agency, which gives our customers certainty of our correct behavior. Additionally, we give our customers full disclosure and the relevant documentation if they would wish to see with their own eyes that we are complying with the law.’ (MH)
In conclusion, being an employer in The Netherlands seems to have become more complicated than ever… And the consequences of unintended mistakes, often caused by a lack of knowledge, can have serious consequences. By outsourcing manpower to TOS, customers can trust to receive a full package of services from a professional service supplier, which will ensure them that they are operating in a correct manner and that no unwelcome surprises will be their part.