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29-12-2021

Employment law changes 2022

The year 2022 will see some developments in Dutch employment law. We have listed the main changes below.

Minimum wage increase
The statutory minimum wage is raised on 1 January of every calendar year. As from 1 January 2022, the minimum wage for employees aged 21 and older will be EUR 1,725 gross per month (July 2021: EUR 1,701).

Tax-free home working allowance
As from 1 January 2022, employers can grant their employees a tax-free allowance of EUR 2.00 for every day they work from home, for general expenses.  

Paid parental leave
As from 2 August 2022, parents will be entitled to a parental leave benefit for a period of nine weeks when taking parental leave. During this period employees will receive an allowance of 50% of the daily wage, capped at 50% of the maximum daily wage. This paid parental leave must be taken in the child's first year of life. The remaining 17 weeks (of the total of 26 weeks) of parental leave remain unpaid and can be taken until the child's 8th birthday. 

State pension age increases
As from 1 January 2022, the age at which employees receive their first state pension will go up from 66 years and three months to 66 years and seven months.

No smoking areas in the workplace
As per 1 January 2022, all designated smoking areas in the workplace must be closed. All buildings, spaces and establishments where people work must be completely smoke-free. The Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (Nederlandse Voedsel en Warenautoriteit, NVWA) will carry out inspections, and can impose an administrative fine of EUR 450 minimum and EUR 4,500 maximum in case of violations. Employers should be aware of this and amend their smoking policy if necessary

Increasing co-determination rights (flex)employees
The Collective Labour Act (Verzamelwet SZW) 2022 results in an amendment of the Works Council Act (Wet op de ondernemingsraden, WOR) effective from 1 January 2022. Currently, employees have the right to vote as soon as they have been employed for six months. After one year, employees are eligible to become members of the Works Council (OR). Both terms will be shortened to three months. Furthermore, temporary agency workers will qualify as employees earlier, acquiring participation rights after 15 months (instead of 24 months). As a result, temporary agency workers will acquire active and passive voting rights after 18 months (15+3=18 months).

Implementation of the Transparent and Predictable Employment Conditions Directive
On 11 November 2021, the Bill on the Implementation of the EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Terms of Employment was submitted to the Lower House. The bill aims at improving employment conditions by promoting more transparent and predictable employment conditions while ensuring adaptability on the labour market. For employers, the amendments will have major consequences. The key amendments are:

  • Expansion of information obligation: employers are required to provide more information to employees on employment conditions, rights and obligations, including on probationary periods, rights to training and rules on dismissal and related procedures;
  • Objective justification for prohibition of ancillary activities: as a rule, the prohibition of ancillary activities will not be legally valid unless there is an objective justification;
  • Offer of free compulsory training: if an employer is required by law or by collective labour agreement to offer training to an employee, this training must be free of charge and the time involved qualifies as working time.

The Lower House has to assess the bill on its merits, after which the Upper House will have to adopt the bill. The law is expected to enter into force on 1 August 2022, which also is the deadline for implementing the EU Directive.

Implementation of EU Whistleblower Directive
On 1 June 2021, the bill amending the Whistleblower Protection Act to implement the EU Whistleblower Directive was submitted to the Lower House, which is expected to adopt the bill early 2022 (the deadline for implementation of 17 December 2021 was not met). This will extend the scope of the current House for Whistleblowers Act to include interns, volunteers, shareholders and freelancers. In addition, whistleblowers will receive additional protection under the new act. For example, reporters who have been disadvantaged by their employer no longer have to prove that their treatment was a result of their report. The burden of proof shifts to the employer. The Act also introduces a number of new requirements for the reporting procedure. This means that companies will have to adjust their whistleblower regulations accordingly.

Coronavirus Entry Passes (Temporary Expansion) Bill
On 22 November 2021, the bill Temporary Act on broadening the use of the coronavirus entry pass was submitted to the Lower House. With this bill, the coronavirus entry pass will become compulsory for employees and self-employed workers in sectors where visitors must also show an entry pass, such as the hospitality, cultural and non-essential retail industry. In addition, the government would like to introduce a coronavirus entry pass for employees in workplaces where the risk of infections is high. Refusal by employees may have adverse consequences, such as loss of entitlement to salary or, in extreme cases, dismissal. We previously wrote about this in Wetsvoorstel Tijdelijke wet verbreding inzet coronatoegangsbewijzen and Nadere nota: behandeling wetsvoorstel Tijdelijk wet verbreding inzet coronatoegangsbewijzen voorlopig ‘on hold’ (in Dutch). The Lower House will discuss the bill in January.
 
Finally, the coalition agreement presented on 15 December 2021 contains several new plans in terms of employment law, partly in keeping with the SER-advisory report 2021 that we wrote about earlier in our alert Werkgevers en werknemers presenteren sociaal akkoord (in Dutch). These include measures to reduce the differences between permanent and flexible employment, clarify the status of self-employed persons and to increase the minimum wage. We wrote about this earlier in our Alert Coalition Agreement in the Netherlands. It remains to be seen whether, and if so, how and when these plans will be implemented. The government will have to work on concrete bills in the coming period. Of course, we will keep you informed.
 
If you have any questions or would like to know more about a particular subject, please feel free to contact us.
 
For now we wish you happy holidays and a joyful and healthy 2022!

Key contacts

Suzan van de Kam

Partner | Lawyer
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+31 70 318 4297

Epke Spijkerman

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Christel Prevoo

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Michelle Engberts

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+31 70 318 42 00

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