From civil servant to employee

Published by: Sebastian van den Brink posted on September 18, 2019 reading time

At the beginning of 2020, labour law will change again. On 1 January 2020, the Normalisation of Legal Status of Civil Servants Act (WNRA) and the Workplace Balance Act (WAB) will enter into force.

In this article, we look at the introduction of the WNRA and outline the most important consequences and changes for the more than 500,000* civil servants.


From appointment to employment contract

The WNRA stipulates that appointments of civil servants are automatically converted into employment contracts with the same employment conditions. Therefore, it is not necessary to negotiate about the employment conditions or to sign a (new) agreement. Nevertheless, it may be the case that the public employer draws up an employment contract and wants the civil servant to sign it. This can be a useful moment to confirm existing agreements or to revise them.


Objection procedure with own employer disappears

The employment contract is governed by civil law. Therefore, it is no longer possible to initiate an objection procedure in the event of a disagreement with the employer (although a CAO can still include an objection and dispute procedure to raise problems in a more accessible manner). Disputes within employment law are ultimately submitted to the subdistrict court.

For dismissal, the employer will have to request permission from the UWV or the subdistrict court. It is still required to have a valid reason for dismissing an employee. The valid reasons in civil dismissal law are different from the grounds for dismissal that currently apply to civil servants. The grounds for dismissal for civil servants are currently included in the applicable regulations, but in civil dismissal law, this is always the same exhaustive list of Article 7:669 (3) of the Civil Code: commercial reasons, long-term occupational disability, frequent absenteeism, failure to perform, culpable act or omission, conscientious objection, disrupted working relationship. In addition to these limitative grounds, it is also possible to be fired on other grounds if the employer cannot reasonably be required to allow the employment contract to continue. With the introduction of the WAB, a (limited) combination of these grounds will also be able to lead to dismissal. For civil servants, it is also new that a probationary period dismissal or summary dismissal is possible.


Still a civil servant?

Despite the changes, "the civil servant" continues to exist, at least in part. The special rules that now apply to civil servants on the grounds of the Civil Servants Act will largely remain in force. The duty of secrecy, the ban on accepting gifts and the duty to report ancillary positions remain in full force.

The WNRA keeps government employers busy and individual civil servants are confronted with changes. Are you a civil servant and do you have questions about the implementation of the WNRA or its consequences for you personally? Please contact one of our labour law specialists.


* The introduction of the WNRA does not apply to political office holders, members of the High Institutions of State, members of advisory bodies and independent administrative bodies, the judiciary, defence and police officers (including civilian/administrative/technical personnel) and notaries and bailiffs.