Important for employers: the new law on transparent and predictable employment conditions as of 1 August 2022
From 1 August 2022, all employers must ensure clear and predictable employment conditions due to new legislation.
The act is called: implantation directive transparent and predictable employment conditions and is a result of a European directive.
Among other things, the law introduces new rules for employers’ obligation to provide information, the study costs clause, the ancillary activity clause and the option to request more predictable employment conditions. The new legislation will come into effect immediately on 1 August 2022, with hardly any transitional provisions.
The background of this new law is to increase transparency about employment conditions from the employer and, in addition, it should lead to a more predictable work pattern for the employee. The Netherlands already partially complies with the European directive, but not yet on all points. The main changes are:
- Reimbursement of study costs is limited;
The costs of mandatory training and courses may no longer be passed on to employees. A study costs clause can therefore no longer be agreed upon so easily. In the case of compulsory training, think of training that is mandatory on the basis of the law or an applicable collective labor agreement, for example in the field of safety and maintaining professional knowledge. The employee must also be given the opportunity to follow the training during working hours. A study costs clause may still be agreed upon for courses that are not compulsory;
- The prohibition of ancillary activities is limited and must be motivated according to objective criteria;
It is restricted to agree on a ban on additional work in the terms of employment. From 1 August 2022, an ancillary activities clause may only be agreed upon if there is an objective justification for it, which means, in short, that the employer must have a valid reason. Objective legal grounds include protection of confidential information, prevention of conflicts of interest, health and safety. Even if the Working Hours Act is possibly violated, a ban on ancillary work can still be agreed. The justification requirement does not have to be explicitly included in the employment contract. The justification for the use of the ancillary activities clause may also be given afterwards, but the employer does have an obligation to provide a good and substantiated explanation of why ancillary activities are prohibited during employment;
- Request for a more predictable work pattern;
The law allows employees who work flexible hours, once an employee has been employed for 26 weeks, to request a more predictable work pattern once a year under the condition the employer has the work available. Employers with more than 10 employees must respond in writing with reasons within one month and small employers with fewer than 10 employees are given three months to do so. If the employer does not respond or does not respond in time, the work will be adjusted in accordance with the employee’s request. The latter can be regarded as a sanction for the employer.
- Expansion of the obligation to inform employees;
Employers must provide information about the normal working and rest periods in writing as of 1 August 2022 and no later than one week after the start of employment. And after one month the employer must inform the employees about training policies, and the procedures for dismissal that also includes the applicable notice periods.
When an employee works at predictable times, the employer will soon have to provide the following information: the duration of normal working hours per week on the day, the arrangements for exchanging shifts or getting a different schedule. In the case of an unpredictable work pattern, such as with on-call workers, the employer must inform the employees about the days and hours on which the employees can be obliged to work, the minimum notice period and the number of guaranteed paid hours. An additional information obligation also applies to a Dutch employer who is seconding an employee from the Netherlands to another EU country.
All information must be in writing. It can be done quite simply by including previous information in the employment contracts or by referring to an applicable personnel manual or regulations or collective labor agreement in which this information is included. Reference can also be made to the statutory regulation.
The employee can enforce compliance through the courts and possibly claim compensation if the employer has not provided the required information or has not provided it on time. The employee must then suffer damage as a result;
In summary, the employer must be alert. Employers are from August 1, 2022 required to provide information about:
– working hours;
– wage components (bonus and allowances);
– procedural aspects upon the termination of employment contract;
– right to training;
– leave arrangement(s).
TIP: The new law means that it is advisable to align the standard employment contracts for new employees to the new law. Employees who are already employed can also request information. For questions or more information, please contact Dammers Hock Advocaten.