On 3 April 2023, the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment (Van Gennip) wrote to the House of Representatives that some changes are planned to be made on Dutch employment laws.
More income security for employees
The most important part of this announced change is that the Minister aims to offer more security to employees, namely by abolishing on-call employment agreements (oproepcontracten), also widely known as zero-hour contracts (nulurencontracten) or min-max contracts (min-maxcontracten).
Under such on-call employment agreements, there is currently no obligation to specify the number of working hours and the employee would only be paid for the hours actually worked. If such agreement contained a minimum and maximum number of hours to be worked (but flexible within that range), it is a min-max contract. Otherwise, it is a zero-hour contract through which the employee is not guaranteed of any work, and thus income. With both arrangements, the employer has to give 4 days’ prior notice to the employee for an on-call work.
Since on-call employment agreements provide little income security to employees, the Minister plans to abolish it.
Currently, an employment agreement is regarded to be a permanent one if more than 3 temporary contracts have been in place. However, if there is a break of longer than 6 months during which the employee is not employed, a new temporary contract is allowed to be in place that counts as the first contract.
The Minister plans to extend this term from 6 months to 5 years in order to prevent circumventions by employers.
Mandatory disability insurance for self-employed
Lastly, the Minister also announced that self-employed people in the Netherlands will be obliged to take out a disability insurance. There is no such obligation currently, meaning self-employed people who become unfit for work may not be entitled to a comparable level of income.
Three to four years
The intention is that these changes will be effective within 3 to 4 years. The Minister hopes to have the legislative proposal approved by the House of Representatives by the beginning of 2024, which will not be difficult if supported by the government.
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