Payroll Staff and Stand-by Workers
Four-Day Calling Period
One of the biggest changes for stand-by workers introduced by the Labor Market in Balance Act is the fact that they are no longer required to be on-call at all times. Prior to the new law, on-call workers could be called up by their employer at any time and be obligated to work. Under the WAB, however, employers are required to give on-call employees with zero-hour or min-max contracts notice at least four days in advance of when the work is to be performed (this calling period can be reduced to one day if agreed upon in a collective labor agreement). If they are not given proper notice by the employer, stand-by workers have a right to refuse the work. One purpose of this provision is to give stand-by workers the opportunity to accept a second (part-time) job, if they so desire. Furthermore, if the assignment is cancelled or changed by the employer during the four-day calling period, the worker is entitled to collect the promised wages.
Offer or Termination of an Employment Contract
There are a number of changes implemented by the WAB that strengthen the legal position of on-call workers. For instance, on-call employees who want to terminate their employment contract can do so subject to a notice period of four days (or a shorter term if agreed upon in a collective labor agreement), without being required to pay any compensation to the employer. Prior to the new law, Dutch employees had a one-month notice period.
The law also states that on-call employees who have worked for a period of one year or longer for their employer are entitled to receive a fixed-hour employment contract that is at least equal to the average number of hours the employee worked during the previous 12 months. This also applies when there is a min-max contract. It is important to note that just because an offer has been made, the employee does not have to accept. On-call employees have the right to decline a fixed-hour employment offer if they wish to continue working on the basis of an on-call contract.
If the employer fails to make the requisite offer of fixed-hour employment, the on-call employee is entitled to collect a salary payment based on the average number of hours from the latest date on which the employer should have made the offer. If the employee had been working on the basis of an on-call agreement for more than 12 months at the time the WAB was introduced on January 1, 2020, the employer should have made the offer for a fixed-hour contract within one month.
Find Out How Our Skilled Attorneys Can Help
In establishing the Labor Market in Balance Act, the Dutch government hopes to achieve more balance between Dutch employees with an indefinite-term contract, who have the most legal rights and protections under the law, and employees with a flexible employment contract (i.e. temporary employees, payroll staff and stand-by workers), who historically have had fewer rights and protections. Another purpose of the new labor law is to make permanent employment contracts more attractive to employers who might otherwise prefer temporary contracts or flexible employment agreements. The WAB introduces a number of important changes affecting the employment and dismissal laws that Dutch employers are legally required to abide by. As a Dutch employee, it is imperative that you understand what these laws require and how they apply to you, especially if you are a stand-by worker or you were hired through a payroll company. Contact our firm today to find out how our knowledgeable labor and employment law attorneys can help.
Protection Against Dismissal
Payroll workers in the Netherlands also enjoy the same protections against dismissal as employees with an indefinite-term or fixed-term contract. According to the WAB, an employer cannot dismiss a payroll employee without permission from the Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) or a judge.
Changes for Stand-by Workers
In the Netherlands, stand-by workers, also known as on-call workers, are employees who only work when called upon by their employer to do so. The WAB stipulates that there is an on-call agreement between an employee and employer if the extent of the work is not laid out as a set number of hours per week, per month or per year for which there is a fixed salary. The two main types of on-call contracts in the Netherlands are:
- Zero-hour contracts: The employee has no fixed hours, which allows for a flexible working arrangement. This type of contract can exist either as a temporary or permanent employment agreement.
- Min-max contracts: The number of working hours varies between a set minimum and maximum.
Flexible contracts as set out in the collective labor agreement are also considered on-call contracts if the employer pays the employee for the actual hours worked. According to the law, if the employer agrees to pay the basic hours each month, the contract is not considered an on-call agreement.