As of August 1, 2022, Dutch employers will have to comply with the ‘Act Implementing the EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Employment Conditions’. The new law aims to improve the working conditions of employees by promoting more transparent and predictable working conditions while ensuring adaptability in the labor market. To achieve that, employers are now subject to a number of new obligations. These might require the revision of template employment contracts for your company:
- Cost-free training
The employer must offer training that is compulsory by law or by collective agreement free of charge. The time spent on training should be considered working time and, to the extent possible, training must be provided during working hours.
Study-cost arrangements with employees that pertain to legally required training are null and void. This also applies to study-cost arrangements agreed to before August 1, 2022. Arrangements that pertain to non-mandatory training remain valid and can still be agreed upon.
- Ancillary work clause
Ancillary work clauses (i.e. in which an employee is prohibited from working for others without permission) are void unless the clause can be justified based on an objective ground. Non-exhaustive examples are: health and safety, confidentiality and protection of business information, integrity of government services, or avoidance of conflicts of interest. The objective ground can be included in the employment contract, but can also be applied retrospectively at the time when the clause is invoked. This will also apply to ancillary work clauses agreed upon before August 1, 2022.
- Expansion of the employer’s obligation to inform employees
Employers are required to provide additional information in writing (or electronically with the permission of the employee) with regard to, amongst others, the duration and conditions of the probationary period, the components of the salary, applicable insurances the usual place of work within one week after the commencement of work. After one month, the employee must be informed of the (possibly) applicable procedures in the event of dismissal and the training policy.
A different regime applies to existing employment contracts. In those cases, employees may request the information, which must be provided within one month of the request.
If an employer has not provided the obligatory information, or has not done so in time, and the employee suffers damage as a result, the employer is obliged to compensate this damage.
- Employees with an unpredictable work pattern
Employees with unpredictable work patterns (for example, those who are employed on a zero-hours basis) may refuse work if the employer does not give them at least four days’ notice before the work is to be performed. Additionally, the employee can refuse work when it falls outside the agreed-upon working days.
- Request for predictable working conditions
The Act also introduces the possibility for employees to request a job with more predictable and secure conditions of employment. If the employer has ten or more employees, it will be obliged to respond to the employee’s request in writing and with reasons within one month. If the employer does not decide within the time limit, the form of employment will be adjusted in accordance with the employee’s request. The employee may submit a new request one year after such a request has been rejected or granted.
- New prohibition termination of employment
The Act also contains a new prohibition of termination: an employer may not terminate an employment contract because of the fact that the employee has asserted his or her rights granted by the Act.
What to do?
With the new law taking effect, employers might need to amend template employment contracts and/or company HR policies. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding the Act, or if we can assist you in modifying template employment contracts or company regulations.