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In order to keep our clients up to date, we regularly organize employment law workshops on the latest news and/or changes in the law. We do this for HR managers, personnel consultants and regular clients. We also organize these inspirational sessions on request, tailored to your individual needs, and also meet our clients at their offices for a lunch session or working breakfast, for example. These sessions will often be for smaller groups about a subject that is particularly relevant to the client. Please contact us, without obligation, to discuss the possibilities for your organization.

We also regularly publish newsletters about developments in employment law. Most of them are available on the Dutch website.

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What will change in 2022 in employment law? 14-01-2022

We have listed the most important (upcoming) legislative changes for you.

Tax-free homework allowance

As of January 1, 2022, employers may provide a tax-free home working allowance of a maximum of 2 euros per day. The reimbursement can be granted on the basis of a fixed homework pattern or on a claim basis. An employee is entitled to either the homework allowance or the travel allowance. On the days that an employee already receives a travel allowance, a homework allowance cannot be provided in addition. The Work Costs Scheme, which has been temporarily extended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has expired on 1 January 2022.

Prohibition of smoking areas

Smoking areas in the workplace are no longer allowed from 1 January 2022; there is a smoking ban in all areas, buildings and establishments where work is carried out. This also applies to a company car.

More co-determination rights for temporary workers

As of January 1, 2022, flex workers will have employee participation rights more quickly. An employee only needs to work in the company for three months before he can vote (active suffrage) and stand for election (passive suffrage). Temporary workers also build up the right to vote more quickly in the company of the hirer: from 1 January, a temporary worker will receive an active and passive right to vote after 18 months.

High unemployment insurance premium for overtime

From 2022, the high unemployment insurance premium will apply if an employee with an employment contract for an indefinite period of less than 35 hours per week works overtime for more than 30% of the contract hours per year. The level of the unemployment insurance premium is then 7.7% instead of 2.7%. The increase was temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis. It is important to keep a close eye on whether employees with a permanent contract work overtime on a structural basis.

Legal transition payment 

In 2022, the maximum transition payment is € 86,000 gross (or an annual salary, whichever is higher). You can calculate the transition payment via the Transition Payment Tool on our website.

STAP

Study costs and other educational expenses are no longer tax deductible from 1 January 2022. Instead, workers and job seekers can request a STAP budget of up to 1000 euros for training and development. STAP is a government subsidy and stands for Stimulation of the Labor Market Position. The STAP budget can be requested from UWV from 1 March 2022 for training activities that are listed in the training register.

Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

The law will come into force on 1 August 2022, implementing the European Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions. Some of the measures in this guideline already apply in the Netherlands or are standard practice. Employers are, among other things, obliged to provide more information about working conditions and the rights and obligations at the start of an employment contract. When an employer is required by law or the collective labor agreement to provide certain training to the employee, the employer must pay for this and the training must be possible during working hours. An employer may also not prevent an employee from working outside the work schedule for another employer (so-called ancillary activities clause), unless there is an objective justification for this. In addition, employees who have been employed for 26 weeks – at most once a year – may request a form of work with more predictable working conditions. The law has direct effect. We will inform you in a separate blog about this law and the consequences for, among other things, agreements made about study costs and performing ancillary activities.

Parental leave

From 2 August 2022, an employee is entitled to partially paid parental leave. In short, this means that an employee can take 9 weeks of partially paid leave in the first year of a child's life. This leave is paid by the UWV.

Web module self-employed

The web module will continue to exist for the time being. The questionnaire can be used to clarify whether work may be done by a self-employed person or an employee.

New government and coalition agreement

In the coalition agreement, the new Rutte IV cabinet has announced major plans aimed at reforming the labor market. These plans are based on the SER advice (June 2021) and the final report of the Employment Regulation Committee (January 2020). The cabinet wants to reduce the differences between permanent and flex workers by better regulating on-call, temporary and temporary contracts. A neutral part-time unemployment benefit is also being worked out. Money is also earmarked for easing the burden on small and medium-sized enterprises for continued payment of wages during illness. In addition to the further development of the web module for the self-employed, stricter enforcement will also be applied in the event of suspected self-employment.

We will of course keep you informed as soon as more becomes known about the elaboration of the coalition agreement on labor market reforms and other important new developments, such as an advice from the SER on the Working Conditions Vision 2040 aimed at improving the safety and health of working people.

 

 

Van Bladel Advocaten

14-01-2022What will change in 2022 in employment law?

We have listed the most important (upcoming) legislative changes for you.

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11-11-2021What can an employer do against statements of employees on social media?

These days, it is common for employees to make negative statements about their employer on social media or to express themselves in a way that is contrary to the nature of the employer’s business or company. Can the employer undertake anything against such negative statements? Yes, they can. Statements on social media are regularly a subject of dispute in court proceedings. Below I will briefly discuss two recent judgments where the employer had requested termination of employment as a result of statements on Facebook.

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05-11-2021Dismissal due to regular sickness absence often unsuccessful

Article 7:669 paragraph 3 sub c of the Dutch Civil Code lists the grounds that an employer can submit to the UWV or the subdistrict court judge to terminate the employment contract. One of these grounds is “regularly unable to perform the stipulated work as a result of illness or defects of the employee with unacceptable consequences for the business operations…”.

On September 3, 2021, the District Court of The Hague ruled in a case in which the employer based the request to terminate the employment contract on this ground. The ruling shows why a dismissal on this ground often has no chance.

What was going on?

The employee has been working as a car technician at a car dealership with several branches in the Netherlands since 2013. He was employed at a local facility and was part of a team of five employees working in the workshop. In 2017 he had called in sick 4x (104 hours in total), in 2018 8x (173 hours in total), in 2019 23x (468 hours in total) and until July 10, 2020 13x (400 hours in total). The employer had requested an expert opinion from UWV and it followed from that opinion that UWV was of the opinion that there was frequent absenteeism and that this situation was expected to last longer than 26 weeks.

What did the court rule?

The court first establishes that there is frequent absenteeism within the meaning of article 7:669 paragraph 3 sub c BW. The follow-up question is whether this absenteeism leads to unacceptable consequences for the employer's business operations. According to the court, that is not the case. The employer had stated that customers would be dissatisfied with the workshop activities of the branch, but could not substantiate this, according to the court. In addition, the court considers that a company of a size such as that of this employer (with several branches in the region and throughout the Netherlands) can in principle be expected to take care of absenteeism company-wide. The fact that it is not possible within its organization to provide replacement from another location, because there is a large group with all kinds of different car brands and a mechanic who works for one car brand at one location is not as easy as a mechanic can work for the other. According to the court, a different car brand at a different location has not become plausible. The employer was also unable to demonstrate that there was a (serious) financial disadvantage. The court therefore rejected the request for dismissal.

Conclusion

This court decision once again makes clear that – certainly for larger employers – it will not be easy in the Netherlands to dismiss an employee on the basis of frequent absenteeism. Proof of the high level of absenteeism due to illness is often not the problem, but proof of the unacceptable consequences for the employer's business operations is often an unviable route.

If you have any questions about absenteeism and dismissal, please do not hesitate to contact one of the specialists at Van Bladel Advocaten via (+31) 030-2203111 or info@vanbladeladvocaten.nl

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07-07-2021Unions and employers agreement on labor market reform

On June 1st, 2021 the social partners have reached an agreement in principle on labor market reform and work regulation. The agreement is part of an advice from the Social and Economic Council (SER). The agreement is an attempt to influence the formation talks about a new Dutch government. In this blog you can read about the main points, including the limitation of flexible work by prohibiting zero-hours contracts, temporary employment contracts of a maximum of three years and the position of self-employed persons.

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