A lot is changing in labour law land again this year. Below is a brief overview with the main changes of 2021.
1. COMPENSATION SCHEME FOR TRANSITION COMPENSATION IN THE EVENT OF BUSINESS TERMINATION
In case of business termination due to retirement or death of the employer, small employers will be able to apply for compensation of the paid transitional compensation with the UWV as from 1 January 2021. The following conditions apply:
– The employer employed fewer than 25 employees on average in the second half of the calendar year preceding the calendar year in which the first request to terminate the employment contract due to business termination was submitted. If the enterprise belongs to a group, the other employees within the group also count;
– For at least one employee, the UWV must have given permission for termination for economic reasons as a result of company termination due to retirement, death or disability. Dismissal may also have gone through the subdistrict court, but the employment contract must have ended in any case;
– In case of retirement, the state pension age must have been reached, or be reached within six months;
– In case of death, permission to resign must have been requested within 12 months of death;
– The relevant person must have been an owner, partner/ associate or DGA in the previous two years;
– The transition compensation must have been paid in full on or after 1 January 2021 and within nine months of the consent granted by the UWV;
– The compensation application must have been submitted within 12 months of the UWV granting permission.
Compensation option in case of business termination due to employer’s illness cannot take effect yet. Compensation of the transition compensation when long-term sick employees leave the company has, however, already entered into force. Read more about that in our earlier article.
2. UNTAXED TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AS OF 1 FEBRUARY 2021
The government has announced that the fixed travel allowance may continue to be paid until 1 February 2021, even if employees mainly work from home. After 1 February 2021, only actual travel costs may be reimbursed untaxed.
3. CAPPED TRANSITIONAL COMPENSATION
If the employment contract ends on 1 January 2021 or later, the maximum transitional compensation amounts to €84,000 gross or if the annual salary exceeds €84,000, with a maximum of one gross annual salary.
4. MEDICAL ADVICE FROM THE COMPANY DOCTOR
The medical advice of the company doctor is leading in the review of the reintegration report by the UWV. The insurance doctor will no longer assess this advice, which gives more certainty to employers. The RIV test will then only be performed by an employment expert from the UWV. The labour expert then assesses whether employer and employee have made the reintegration efforts appropriate to the occupational physician’s advice on the employee’s taxability. Based on this assessment, the UWV determines whether the efforts have been sufficient or whether a wage sanction will be imposed. A wage sanction based on a medical difference of opinion between the company doctor and the insurance doctor will then no longer be possible. The target date for entry into force is 1 September 2021.
5. ON-CALL AGREEMENTS PER 1 JULY 2021
The statutory regulation around on-call contracts was introduced only one year ago and is already being amended on some minor points. The employer is obliged to offer a fixed number of hours to on-call workers who have been employed for at least 12 months. That offer must be at least equal to the average number of hours worked in those 12 months.
The following changes are applied:
– If the on-call worker accepts the offer, it must start no later than the first day of the 15th month of employment;
– The employer’s offer is always valid for one month.
This change in the law is effective from 1 July 2021. For more on information on on-call contracts and the offer for a fixed scope of employment, see the article on our website here.
6. OBLIGATION TO CONTINUE TO PAY WAGES IN CASE OF SICKNESS AFTER THE AGE OF AOW ENTITLEMENT
From 1 April 2021, the sick pay continuation obligation for working AOWs will be reduced to six weeks (currently 13 weeks). After six weeks of illness, the employer will also no longer have re-integration obligations.
7. PENSION OF PAYROLL EMPLOYEES
From 1 January 2021, payroll employees are no longer subject to the pension obligation of the Stichting Pensioenfonds voor Personeelsdiensten (StiPP). The payroll employer is obliged to ensure another, ‘adequate’ pension scheme in good time.
8. ADAPTATION OF THE HEALTH AND SAFETY DECREE DUE TO CORONA
From 1 January 2021, additional measures to combat the corona virus will temporarily apply under the Working Conditions Decree. The employer was already obliged to ensure a safe workplace. It has been added that the employer must take necessary measures and facilities for this purpose to prevent or limit the risk of infection. In any case, the necessary measures and facilities include:
- observing sufficient hygienic facilities;
- providing employees with effective information and instruction on combating Corona at the workplace; and
- maintaining adequate supervision of compliance with these necessary measures and facilities.
The exact measures depend on the circumstances of the case, the specific workplace and associated risks. The employer must provide means to prevent corona contamination of employees. Consider, for instance, the facilitation of face masks, gloves and disinfectants. Note that just making them available is not enough. Clear and understandable instructions must also be provided. It must be clear to all employees what is expected of them to protect everyone from corona.
Failure to comply with these new rules carries a heavy fine. Stoppage of work can also be a consequence. So make sure the instructions and necessary measures and facilities are in order in the workplace!
9. NOW 3 PERIOD
The support package continues unabated. The application period for the NOW 3 scheme will be extended. The NOW has been extended by 9 months from 1 October to 1 July 2021. The NOW3 has 3 time periods:
NOW3.1: from 1 October 2020 to 1 January 2021 (= 3rd UWV application period)
NOW3.2: from 1 January to 1 April 2021(= 4th UWV application period)
NOW3.3: from 1 April to 1 July 2021(= 5th UWV application period)
For each period, an employer can decide whether or not to apply. Even if an employer has not applied for the NOW 1 or 2, the employer can use the NOW 3.
Do you have any questions? If so, feel free to contact us!