2018: Changes in the fields of HR and employment law

Minimum wage increased

The minimum wage and the minimum youth wage have been increased as of 1 January 2018. The statutory minimum wage for employees aged 22 and over in full-time employment is now €1,578.00 per month (€364.15 per week/€72.83 per day). The statutory minimum wage also applies to overtime, piecework and contracts for professional services, for example for post and parcel deliverers. Employees must earn at least the minimum wage on average for every hour worked (including overtime).

The employer must also pay a holiday allowance on overtime from 1 January 2018. This also applies to overtime worked earlier that had not been paid before 1 January 2018.

Maternal leave and multiple births

From 1 April 2018 the length of the pregnancy and maternal leave for women who are pregnant with twins or other multiple births will change. The total leave will increase from a minimum of sixteen weeks to a minimum of twenty weeks.

Pregnancy leave begins between ten and eight weeks before the day after the expected delivery date. After the birth the employee is still entitled to a minimum of ten weeks of maternal leave.

No-risk policy lowered to 56 years

From 1 January 2018 employers who enter into an employment contract with people then aged 56 or older will be compensated if these employees give up work due to illness, on condition that the unemployment has lasted longer than a year and the Employee Insurance Agency has granted unemployment benefit. The age for employees to be able to make use of the compensation scheme is currently 63 years.

Transitional severance pay increased

With effect from 1 January 2018 the maximum level of the transition severance pay rises from €77,000 to €79,000, or a year’s salary if this is higher.

State pension age and retirement age increased

On 1 January 2018 the state pension age was raised by three months to 66 years. The state pension age will rise in stages to 66 years in 2018 and 67 years in 2021. From 2022 the state pension age will be linked to life expectancy.

The retirement age is increasing to 68 years. For more information on this, please see our earlier blog on this subject.

Privacy

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) of the European Union comes into force on 25 May 2018. The GDPR has a direct effect in all member states, and therefore applies to the entire EU. The current Personal Data Protection Act will be repealed.

The GDPR places much more responsibility on organisations to protect the privacy of their consumers. For example, companies will have to maintain a registration of all data processing, consumers will gain a number of important additional privacy rights, and the penalties that the Data Protection Authority can impose will significantly rise. Companies will have to implement the necessary changes in their organisations in good time.