The summaries below provide a brief overview of employment legislation and policies implemented between July 2021 and January 2022.
Protection of whistleblowers - Implementation deadline of EU Directive: 17 December 2021 (not achieved)
On 1 June 2021, the Dutch government presented the bill for the Whistleblowers Protection Act [Wet bescherming klokkenluiders] to Parliament. The bill would implement into Dutch law Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law. The Directive requires changes to Dutch legislation. For example, it is no longer obligatory to report breaches through internal channels, the burden of proof is reversed and the scope of application has been extended beyond employees and civil servants. The most important changes are listed here (Dutch only). The implementation deadline of 17 December 2021 was not achieved. We await the government's response to questions and comments made by Members of Parliament (see the report of 4 October 2021, 35851, no. 5).
The Directive does have direct effect in relation to public sector employers
In view of the fact that EU Directives have direct effect on the public sector, the new protection measures do apply to persons reporting breaches perpetrated by public sector employers (national, provincial, municipal authorities, water boards and autonomous administrative authorities under public law). In addition, their internal reporting procedures must comply with the new requirements as from 17 December 2021. These requirements can be found here: Checklist internal reporting procedure (Dutch only).
Reduction in Working Hours scheme (non-COVID-19 related) (1 October 2021)
Staatscourant 2021, 42158 (Dutch only)
The Reduction in Working Hours scheme was reintroduced (without amendments) on 1 October 2021, making it possible apply for an exemption from the ban on reduction in working hours. No exemption will be granted if the application is COVID-19 related. The exemption from the ban applies to exceptional circumstances that cannot be deemed to be part of the normal entrepreneurial risk and result in a short period of reduced working hours. Examples are fire and flooding. COVID-19 related circumstances and their consequences have become part of the normal entrepreneurial risk, former Social Affairs and Employment Minister Koolmees explained on 22 September 2021.