In 2015 a variety of changes will be implemented in Dutch employment law.
Work and Social Security Act
In 2015 the Dutch Work and Social Security Act (Wet werk en zekerheid) will come into force. Under this Act the legal position of flexible employees, Dutch dismissal law and the entitlement of unemployment benefits, will all be amended significantly. The Act will enter into force in stages, with the first stage taking effect from 1 January 2015. These provisions make amendments on probation periods; a notification obligation for fixed term contracts; the enforceability of non-competition clauses; agency workers; and on-call employees. The provisions on Dutch dismissal law and the continuation of fixed term contracts will take effect from 1 July 2015. For more information please see the attached client alert.
Bridge Unemployment Insurance Act
Following on from the Work and Social Security Act, the Bridge Unemployment Insurance Act (brug-WW) comes into effect on 1 January 2015. This Unemployment Act provides for training of unemployed in sectors with only few vacancies and without a loss of unemployment benefits. The Act also provides for training of employees in these sectors threatened with a dismissal: the employees are entitled to unemployment benefits during hours in which they are undergoing training.
The Leave and Working Hours (Modernisation) Act
The Leave and Working Hours (Modernization) Act (Wet houdende modernisering regelingen voor verlof en arbeidstijde) is effective from 1 January 2015. This Working Hours Act is intended to facilitate the flexible use of leave arrangements. The most noticeable amendments concern extension of short-term and long-term care leave, paternity leave and maternity leave.
The Labour Costs Scheme
The Labour Costs Scheme (Werkkostenregeling) becomes mandatory with effect from 1 January 2015 (having already become voluntary from January 2011). With this Scheme an employer is able to spend 1.2% of the total taxable wages (the "free space") tax-free on compensation and benefits for the employee, such as Christmas boxes, company bicycles and company fitness. Income tax will be paid as a final levy of 80% on the amount exceeding the free space.
Remuneration Policy of Financial Institutions
On pay control, the Act on the Remuneration Policy of Financial Institutions (Wet beloningsbeleid financiële ondernemingen) is expected to come into force in January 2015. The Act will apply to financial institutions with a statutory base in the Netherlands as well as their subsidiaries and will introduce a bonus cap of 20%. Additionally, provisions regarding severance payments, guaranteed bonuses, and retention payments are tightened and publication obligations are included.
Regulation of the remuneration of senior officials in the public and semi-public sector
Finally, the Act on regulation of the remuneration of senior officials in the public and semi-public sector (Wet Normering Topinkomens) will be amended from 1 January 2015. For senior officials in the public and semi-public sector this proposal provides for a maximum salary equal to 100% of a Dutch Minister's salary, instead of a maximum of 130% which was introduced in this Act in 2013.