The summaries below provide a brief overview of employment legislation and regulations in force since 1 January 2022.
More co-determination rights for flex workers and temporary workers
Flex workers (with fixed-term employment contracts) will gain active and passive voting rights after 3 months, down from 6 months (for active voting rights) and 12 months (for passive voting rights). Temporary workers will qualify as employees and therefore accrue participation rights earlier than before, the qualifying period being reduced to 15 months (down from 24). Consequently, temporary workers will acquire co-determination rights after being employed in a single organisation for 15 months and acquire active and passive voting rights after 18 months (15+3=18).
UWV will stop providing medical data to employer
From 1 January 2022, the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) will stop providing the medical data of employees to their employers, even if the employee consents. Inspection of medical data is reserved to the employer's representative - a physician or a lawyer - who has obtained special accreditation from the UWV. In addition, the employer will no longer be allowed to attend that part of the hearing dealing with the medical data. The employer's authorised representative will be allowed to attend on the employer's behalf. This amendment does not affect medical data provided to employers before 1 January 2022. The UWV's rules regarding the processing of notices of objection have been changed to reflect the amendment (Staatscourant 2021, 49656) (Dutch only).
Amendments to the Foreign Nationals (Employment) Act
Work permits will apply for a maximum of three years, up from one year. Employers must now pay salaries on a monthly basis by funds transfer. Also, the IND may refuse to issue work permits or combined work and residence permits if employers are found to undertake no economic activity. The amended Act provides for procedural and technical changes. The Foreign Nationals (Employment) Implementation Decree (‘BuWav’ - Dutch only) and the Foreign Nationals (Employment) Implementation regulation (‘RuWav’ - Dutch only) have also been reviewed (and adopted in their reviewed form) as part of the amendment.
Unemployment insurance contribution differentiation by type of contract
Suspension of 30% ruling review ends on 1 January 2022
As from 1 January 2020, a low unemployment insurance contribution rate applies to open-ended contracts, whereas a high rate applies to fixed-term and flexible contracts. Article 2.3(1)(b) of the Social Insurance (Funding) Decree provides that the low rate is subject to review and employers must pay the high rate for employees (working less than 35 hours a week) who are paid more than 30% hours overtime (and other hours) in a calendar year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the review of this ruling for the years 2020 and 2021 has been suspended until 1 January 2022.
Low contribution rate still possible in case of temporary increase in working hours
In a letter to Parliament (Dutch only), the junior minister of Social Affairs and Employment communicated that a temporary increase in working hours may constitute a temporary modification of an existing contract of employment. This is a disclaimer of the government's previous position, which was that a temporary increase in working hours always constitutes a separate fixed-term contract, to which the high unemployment contribution rate applies. Employees who, as a result, have paid too much in unemployment contributions are entitled to a refund, which they can apply for by refiling corrected wage tax and national insurance contributions returns for 2020 and 2021. It was also announced that the government will explore the possibility to issue a general order in council to set out extra conditions so as to arrange that contracts that are temporarily increased and contracts with variable working hours will be subject to the high rate in all events, which would bring the relevant regulations in line with the intentions of the Balanced Labour Market Act [Wet arbeidsmarkt in balans].
Unemployment insurance contribution rates for 2022
In 2022, the low contribution rate will be 2.70 percent, and the high contribution rate will be 7.70 percent (Staatscourant 2021, 46406).
Unemployment insurance contribution differentiation by employer size (Invalidity Insurance Fund)
The government wants to make it ‘easier, clearer and cheaper’ for small employers to fulfil their obligations to continue to pay wages, so it has come up with a differentiated contribution arrangement with two rates. This will replace the uniform contribution rate for the Invalidity Insurance Fund (Arbeidsongeschiktheidsfonds). Small employers now pay a lower rate (5.49%) than large employers (7.05%). A small employer is understood to be an employer at whose expense in the second calendar year preceding the calendar year for which the contribution is determined wages have come which are equal to or less than 25 times the average wage per employee on which social security contributions are due in that calendar year.
Name Change Inspectorate SZW
On 1 January 2022, the Inspectorate SZW (Inspectie SZW) changed its name to Netherlands Labour Inspectorate (Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie), the acronym in Dutch and English being NLA.
Balanced gender ratio at the top of Dutch business (1 January 2022)
A new Act obliges large public companies and private limited liability companies to set appropriate and ambitious objectives in the form of a target to create a more balanced gender ratio in their management boards, supervisory boards and lower management positions. Companies are required to report progress to the Social and Economic Council. In addition, an ingrowth quota stipulates that the composition of supervisory boards and the appointment of non-executive directors of large companies must be or become balanced. Supervisory boards are considered balanced if they consist of at least one third men and at least one third women. Appointments of non-executive directors are void if they do not contribute to a balanced composition. This Act stands to cease to be effective after eight years. Five years after its enactment and before it lapses, the Act will be evaluated to assess whether its effectiveness should be extended or new regulations are in order.
Decree UWV territories 2022 (Staatscourant 2021,47842) (Dutch only)