New plans for another revision of Dutch labour law
Although Dutch employment law was fundamentally amended in 2015, and the Balanced Labour Market Act (Wab) has only recently been adopted, two groups of labour law experts are already working on new proposals for a future revision of labour law: the Committee for the Regulation of work and the VAAN-VvA Expert Group 'Work Code 2025'.
What are their plans for the future? We will summarize them for you.
Committee on the regulation of work
Last year, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment installed the Committee for the Regulation of work (Committee), under the direction of Hans Borstlap. This committee has been instructed to investigate whether the current Dutch statutory labour rules are still suitable for the current and future labour market. On 20 June 2019, this committee published a website and a discussion paper entitled 'What kind of country do we want to work in?’. The Committee concludes, among other things, that there’s a too large difference between categories of workers and that the large number of different types of labour relations and contracts (temporary agency work employment contracts, payroll contracts, zero-hours contracts, ‘contracting’, and self-employed workers with a services agreement) will have to be reduced. In the discussion paper, a number of mindsets / propositions for policy have been outlined in order to start a broad discussion, such as: ‘Set rules on a more level playing field for all workers' and 'Promote the agility and sustainable employability of all workers'. On the website www.reguleringvanwerk.nl, everyone has a say in the design or may respond to the discussion paper. The advice, in the form of a detailed report, is expected by the end of 2019.
Code of Work 2025
At the same time, another group of labour law experts presented the "2025 Work Code". This joint expert group was formed in mid-2018 by the VAAN and VvA, because they feared that a fundamental new set-up for a future-proof regulation of the labour market would not be effected. This group also found that there is a strong division in the labour market between the group of insiders with a lot of protection (the 'fixed core') and an ever-growing group of outsiders, such as self-employed workers without employees, with (almost) no protection (the ‘temporary workforce’). They also noted that the group of 'working poor' has increased substantially since the ‘90s.
The expert group's starting point in formulation the policy is that 'the performance of work is of value in a broad sense': for individuals, labour organisations, the economy and society. This includes legal protection, participation and support for, and equal tax treatment of all workers. The Code of Work therefore puts the protection purpose above the form of the contract. In addition, the Code of Work must not only contribute to sustainable and workable labour relations and a sustainable and well-functioning labour market, but the Code itself must also be sustainable, so that the scheme does not need to be constantly updated.
In order to achieve the objectives, the draft proposal for a Code of Work contains a number of changes, including a social safety net that is separated from the form of contract, a broader unemployment benefit instead of a statutory severance payment and a reasonable ground for dismissal for all workers, which can be reviewed afterwards by a specialised labour judge. This proposal is also open for comments (for more info see the website of VAAN).