Many organizations are faced with complex employment law issues, because of constant changes of legislation and case law, but also because of economical, technological and (more than ever) global trends. Specific legal expertise is required to face the challenges that arise from these changes and to adapt the organization to secure its future. Our lawyers from the Employment Law department will gladly assist you.
We advise on all possible individual and collective employment law matters. When necessary, we seek the help of our expert colleagues on areas such as administrative law, finance law and mergers and acquisitions. We work for both national and international clients in a variety of industries, such as the petrochemical industry, storage and transshipment, logistics, care, and financial services. We also regularly assist works councils and private clients.
The Employment Law department advises and litigates on:
- Individual and collective dismissal
There are different reasons for dismissal. For instance, dismissal during the probationary period, immediate dismissal for urgent causes, or dismissal because of a reorganisation, non-performance or a damaged working relationship. A good dismissal file is essential.
- (Change of) terms and conditions of employment
The terms and conditions of employment are stipulated in the employment agreement, personnel handbooks or collective labour agreements. Employers sometimes wish to change these employment conditions, either on an individual basis or collectively. Changing employment conditions is often complex. It demands solid reasoning and a good provision of information. It often pertains to secondary employment conditions for which consent of the works council is often needed. If that consent is given, it does not automatically bind the employees. In principle, separate consent must be obtained from the individual employees. In exceptional cases, it is possible to change employment conditions unilaterally.
- Industrial action and workers’ co-determination (works councils)
In many branches, employees have united in unions. Unions enter into collective labour agreements with employers(‘ associations). The unions can exert pressure on employers by organizing industrial actions, like strikes. These actions could potentially lead to substantial damages and demand a quick response. At the level of the undertaking, the employees’ interests are looked after by the works council. The works council has particular rights, such as the rights of advice and of consent.
- Incapacity for work and social security
Absence because of sickness is a common occurrence. Both employee and employer have obligations regarding the reintegration of sick employees. One of the most important obligations for the employer is the continued (partial) payment of wages during the first 104 weeks of sickness. After this period, an employee is possibly entitled to sickness benefits. This might result in costs for the employer, because of an increase of premiums or in the case of own-risk bearer status. Employees who become unemployed might be entitled to unemployment benefits. Sometimes employers also have own-risk bearer status for this or the applicable collective labour agreement obliges employers to supplement the benefits.
Privacy continues to play a bigger role in our society, as well as to the employment relationship, driven by the advancement of the digital age. Employers need to carefully handle (special) personal data. Privacy aspects are also important for supervision and inspection of the employees.
Employees are often bound by post-contractual obligations, such as non-compete and non-solicitation clauses. These are obligations that arise after the employment agreement has ended. Employees might be forbidden to enter into an employment agreement with undertakings that perform similar activities to their former employer’s activities or to maintain business contacts with former clients. A penalty clause is often stipulated for the breach of these obligations. The wording of these clauses is of the utmost importance, as well as the employer’s explanation of his interests in maintaining the restrictive clauses.
Pension is an important employment condition. In principle, employers are not obligated to offer a pension arrangement to their employees. This is different when there is an applicable compulsory sectorial pension fund. Amending pension arrangements is often very complex.
- Transfer of undertakings (TUPE)
Employees enjoy protection in the case of a transfer of undertakings. This is the result of European legislation which has been implemented in Dutch law. In the case of a transfer of undertakings, employees automatically transfer to the acquirer, while maintaining their employment conditions. Employees also enjoy protection against dismissal. As such, it is important to assess whether or not an intended transfer qualifies as a transfer of undertakings in the sense of the law.
- Employment conditions, working hours and special leave
The employer is responsible for the health and safety of employees in connection with the work. As such, the employer is obligated to implement a solid policy, which takes into account employment conditions and working hours and resting periods. Employers are obligated to work with an occupational health services provider or a company doctor.
- Triangular relationships and labour market flexibility (temping, secondment, payrolling)
The classic employment relationship is not always the norm anymore. Employers require flexibility and enter into relationships with third parties that provide the labour force, such as temping, secondment, payrolling and flexpools. The flexible workforce of undertakings also exists of on-call workers, temporary employees and independent contractors.
- Platform work
Platforms are commonplace in our society. Delivery, taxi, cleaning and construction services are offered by digital platforms. Both public and legal debate focus on the question if the people offering these services through a platform should have the legal status of employee.
- Corporate immigration
Within the European Union (EU), the free movement of workers applies. This means that EU citizens do not need a work and/or residence permit to work in the Netherlands. However, there are strict requirements that apply to the international posting of employees. Employing non-EU citizens in the Netherlands is also possible, but generally requires a work and residence permit. If this goes wrong, the Inspectorate SZW can impose significant fines to the employer.
- Industrial accidents and employers’ liability
Employers have a duty of care towards their employees. They have to take active measures to prevent accidents and injury in performance of the work. Nonetheless, industrial accidents happen frequently. If an employer has violated his duty of care, then he might be liable for damages resulting from the accident.
- (Un)equal treatment and workplace harassment
It occurs that employees are treated differently in relation to the work because of for instance their religion, sexual orientation or gender. Employers are obligated to protect their employees against this unequal treatment. Employers themselves cannot, in principle, take measures that result in certain (protected) groups of employees being affected by a direct or indirect discrimination. If an employee suspects discrimination, he or she can start proceedings at the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights or the civil court.