Draft opinion of the SER

Published by: Marieke Hartkoorn posted on 14 June 2021 reading time

Consequences for employers

On Wednesday 2 June 2021, the Social and Economic Council (SER) presented its draft advisory report "Security for people, a flexible economy and recovery of society". The proposals that the SER makes in the section 'Labour market, income policy and equal opportunities' are intended to provide people with sustainable employment and income security and to make it possible to combine work with learning, care tasks and a private life. In addition, the aim is to offer companies flexibility to respond to changing circumstances.


What awaits employers if the draft recommendation of the SER is implemented?

The aim is to regulate flexible employment relationships, so that employers can make less use of a specific flexible worker. For example, temporary contracts may no longer lead to permanent temporariness. The statutory interruption period of six months will lapse, so that after the maximum chain period (three temporary contracts for a maximum period of three years) a contract for an indefinite period must be offered if the employment is continued. This also applies if there has been an interruption of six months or more. On-call contracts, including zero-hours contracts, will be abolished and replaced by basic contracts with at least a quarterly hours standard. Finally, a maximum employment period of three years (currently 5.5 years) will apply and temporary agency workers will be entitled to employment conditions equivalent to those of their own employees.

Entering into sustainable employment relationships is encouraged. Employers are encouraged to increase (internal) flexibility, for example by making more active use of internal flexibility. Examples include self-rostering or the annual hours system. In addition, the SER proposes to make it possible to (temporarily) reduce working hours by up to 20% for all employees in the event of economic circumstances that would otherwise lead to dismissal. The employer may unilaterally decide to do this, if the wages continue to be paid in full. Decentralised parties may deviate from this. The employer is insured for 75% of the salary costs of the reduced working hours through a governmental compensation scheme, which starts immediately upon application and is checked afterwards for correct use.

Finally, the advisory report focuses on self-employment and tackling false self-employment. The SER proposes to introduce a legal presumption of employment for workers who work on the basis of a rate below the maximum daily wage (€ 30.00 to € 35.00 per hour). If the worker claims to be an employee, it is up to the client to prove that this is not the case. In this way, an employer is more or less forced to pay a rate above the maximum daily wage and to think carefully about the type of employment relationship with the worker.

The question is, of course, whether the proposed measures - if introduced - can actually contribute to the intended goals. Whatever the outcome, we are always aware of the latest developments and can advise you accordingly.