On 10 October 2017 the coalition agreement was presented to the Lower House of Parliament in the Netherlands. The parties in government propose important measures for the labour market. In the coming period these measures will be elaborated in more detail in bills. The most important plans are described below.
Cumulation Ground in Dismissal Law
- At present, the court can only terminate an employment agreement if there is a well-considered ground for dismissal, such as bad performance or a damaged working relationship. In the coalition agreement, a new ‘cumulation ground’ is introduced. On the basis hereof it becomes possible to terminate an employment agreement if circumstances accumulate.
The Transition Fee
- Employees will be entitled to a transition fee from the start of the employment agreement. The accrual of the transition fee changes. For each year of employment, the transition fee will amount to one third of a monthly salary, even when the employment agreement has lasted longer than 10 years. At this moment, after 10 years the fee amounts to 1/2 of a monthly salary per year of service.
- The proposal to compensate employers for the transition fee that is paid if an employee on long-term sick leave is dismissed is maintained. The compensation to employers will be paid by UWV out of the General Unemployment Fund.
- The proposal in which conditions are eased for making a settlement offer in a collective bargaining agreement if a dismissal is based on economic grounds instead of the transition fee is maintained.
- The period in which the employee may work under fixed-term employment contracts will be extended from two to three years.
- It will become possible to agree on a longer probation period. If an employment agreement is entered into for an indefinite time, a probation period of five months maximum can be agreed. In fixed-term contracts of more than two years, a probation period of three months maximum can be agreed.
Payrolling and Zero-Hours Contracts
- Payroll constructions remain possible. However, the Cabinet introduces a bill in which the lighter employment-law regime of the secondment agreement is declared inapplicable. Employees must get equal treatment.
- If there is a zero hours contract, the employee should not be permanently available. It will be determined that the employee is not obliged, or not within a certain term, to obey the call, or that if an employer cancels, the employee will be entitled to wages.
Continued Payment of Wages during Illness
- For small employers (up to 25 employees) the obligation to pay wages during illness is shortened from two to one year.
DBA Act to be Abolished
- The Assessment of Employment Relationships Deregulation Act will be abolished. A new act will be made that offers real self-employed people (and their hosts) certainty in advance that they will not have an employment agreement.
- If a self-employed person works at a low rate for a longer period or works at a low rate while performing the usual activities of the business concerned, an employment agreement will exist. This rate will probably be within the range of 15-18 Euros per hour.
- On the top of the market, an ‘opt out’ for wage tax and employee insurances will be introduced for self-employed persons.
- For self-employed persons above the ‘low’ rate, a ‘client statement’ will be introduced, which provides clarity in advance about the hiring of self-employed persons.
Partner’s Leave at Childbirth
- Starting from 2019, partners will be entitled to five days’ leave after their baby is born. Starting from 1 July 2020, an additional parental leave of five weeks will be introduced. During this leave the employee will receive benefits from the UWV amounting to 70% of the (maximum) daily wages.