In 2022, a lot will change again in labour law land. Below, we provide an overview of the main employment law (law) changes that will be introduced in 2022 that may affect your organisation.
1. WORKING FROM HOME ALLOWANCE
From 1 January 2022, employers may grant their employees a untaxed homework allowance of up to EUR 2 per day. The purpose of this option is to reimburse the costs employees incur for working from home. Employer and employee can make fixed agreements on the number of days an employee works from home. In that case, the employer does not have to keep track of the allowance he grants per working day. On days when the employee receives a home working allowance, he cannot receive a travel allowance. Should the employee work part at home and part in the office, the employer chooses whether the employee receives the untaxed travel allowance or the untaxed home office allowance for that working day. Neither can be done. This bill is yet to be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives.
2. PARENTAL LEAVE
The Paid Parental Leave Act takes effect on 2 August 2022 and regulates that employees are entitled to nine weeks of paid parental leave during the first year after the birth of a child. This is the necessary implementation of the European Directive ‘on work-life balance for parents and family carers’. This scheme is an addition to the WIEG from which it follows that partners are entitled to five working days of leave immediately after the birth of their child and the additional birth leave for partners five weeks of additional birth leave within six months of the birth of their child with compensation of 70% of the (maximum daily) wage from the UWV. With this scheme, parents are entitled to a UWV benefit of 50% of the (maximum daily) wage. For more information on parental leave, see our comprehensive newsletter article.
3. INCREASE INVOLVEMENT OF FLEX WORKERS IN EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION
The government believes that the works council (OR) should be able to properly reflect the people working within the organisation. It therefore wants employees with short or temporary contracts of employment to also be entitled to participation rights. Under the Works Councils Act (WOR), there is an active right to vote (the right to elect a works council) and a passive right to vote (the right to stand for election). Employees on permanent contracts have these rights automatically. Employees on fixed-term contracts now acquire the active right to vote after six months and the passive right to vote after 12 months. One of the plans in the bill is that flex workers (fixed-term employees) already acquire the right to vote and stand for election after three months. It was also proposed to shorten from 24 to 15 months the period after which temporary workers qualify as ‘persons working in the company’ within the meaning of the WOR and start building up participation rights in the company. From then on, temporary workers will also count towards the numerical criterion of at least 50 employees for establishing a works council.
4. IMPLEMENTATION OF EU DIRECTIVE TRANSPARENT AND PREDICTABLE WORKING CONDITIONS
The European Directive on transparent and predictable terms of employment must be implemented in the Netherlands by 1 August 2022. This directive requires employers to provide more information on employment conditions, rights and obligations at the start of employment. Also, study cost clauses may not be agreed for training/education that is required by law or a collective agreement. Attending training is also considered working time. The directive also affects the ban on ancillary activities. This is now only allowed if there is an ‘objective justification’. Finally, it seeks to minimise unpredictable working hours/working conditions. We will detail the full implementation of this directive once the Upper and Lower Houses have approved the bill.
5. BAN ON SMOKING ROOMS
From 1 January 2022, there will be a ban on smoking rooms in all working premises. This ban also applies to lockable smoking rooms. This ban applies in workplaces, catering establishments and school grounds. No more smoking is allowed because all visitors and employees have the right to a smoke-free environment. Is smoking taking place somewhere where it is not allowed? If so, the company may be fined for violating the smoking ban. Violations can be reported (anonymously) via a complaint form of the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA).
6. ABOLITION OF TAX DEDUCTION FOR TRAINING AND INTRODUCTION OF LABOUR MARKET INCENTIVES (STEP)
From 1 January 2022, it will no longer be possible to claim training costs as deductible expenses. The deduction scheme will be replaced. From 1 March 2022, employed, non-employed and self-employed people can apply to the UWV for a STAP budget of up to EUR 1,000 per year for training and development. Employees can apply for this STAP budget themselves at the UWV.
7. COMPENSATION TRANSITION ALLOWANCE RETIREMENT, DEATH AND SICK EMPLOYER
According to the overview of legislative changes for 2021, as of 1 January 2021, small employers (fewer than 25 employees) who have to terminate their business due to retirement or death may receive compensation from the UWV for transition compensation paid. Small employers who fall ill and therefore have to terminate the business can also receive compensation for paid transition fees from (expected) mid-2022. The government wants to prevent small employers or their dependents, from having to claim private assets to pay the transitional compensation. The scheme has no retroactive effect.
8. MINIMUM WAGE AND MAXIMUM TRANSITIONAL COMPENSATION
As usual, the gross amounts of the statutory minimum wage and the minimum youth wage will go up on 1 January 2022. The maximum transitional compensation will also rise on 1 January 2022:
– EUR 1,725 gross per month
– EUR 398.10 gross per week
– EUR 79.62 per day
– The maximum severance pay is set or EUR 86,000 or, if higher, maximum one gross annual salary.
9. END OF TEMPORARY WIDENING OF FREE SPACE WITHIN THE WKR
The free margin within the Work-related Costs Regulation (WKR) will again be 1.7% of the taxable wage bill up to EUR 400,000 and 1.18% for the wage bill above that amount. The temporary increase (which had been introduced as a crisis measure during corona) of 3% for the first EUR 400,000 will expire on 1 January 2022. If the amount of the allowance exceeds the limit of the free allowance, the employer has to pay 80% tax on that extra amount.
10. SZW INSPECTORATE CHANGES ITS NAME
From 1 January 2022, the Inspectorate SZW will change its name to “Dutch Labour Inspectorate”. In both Dutch and English, the inspection will be abbreviated to NLA.
11. NEW COLLECTIVE LABOUR AGREEMENT FOR THE TEMPORARY AGENCY WORK SECTOR
The temporary employment agency ABU has reached a negotiation agreement with the trade unions on a new collective agreement with a term from 17 November 2021 to 2 January 2023. The new collective agreement includes measures to reduce the difference in pay and working conditions between temporary and permanent workers. The hirer remuneration will be extended, there will be earlier pension entitlement and the duration of the first temporary contract (phase A will be a maximum of 52 weeks (instead of 78). The period during which temporary contracts can be offered will also be reduced from four to three years and there will be better arrangements for migrant workers.
12. CROSS-BORDER POSTING IN ROAD TRANSPORT
The European Mobility Directive must be implemented in Dutch laws and regulations by 2 February 2022 at the latest. It follows from this directive that there must be rules for the cross-border posting of foreign drivers in the Netherlands. These posting rules are adapted to the specific nature of road transport.