Minister Koolmees sent the bill for the Balanced Labour Market Act (“WAB”) to the Lower House on 9 November 2018. The aim of the WAB is to improve the balance between fixed and flexible employment contracts. We explained the key points of the WAB in a previous blog. The WAB bill is largely unchanged from the initial draft bill. The key points mentioned in our previous blog have not changed, so we can refer you to that blog for further details.
Advice from the Council of State
The Advisory Department of the Council of State (the “Council”) has issued its advice on the WAB. The Council is highly critical of the WAB in its advice. The measures proposed in the WAB do not ensure that discrepancies between fixed and flexible employment contracts will disappear or diminish significantly. The Council considers that a more fundamental and broader approach to labour law is needed. The Council is outspokenly hostile to certain measures. For instance, the Council advises that the measures for payrolling and the introduction of the extended probationary period should not be included in the bill their current form, as it considers that these measures will likely be ineffective as they stand.
The WAB bill is largely unchanged from the initial draft bill. The advice from the Council – to adjust the proposed measures on payrolling and the introduction of the extended probationary period – has not been taken up. Minister Koolmees, responding to the advice from the Council of State, indicated that the measures proposed in the bill are indeed not enough to improve the balance between fixed and flexible employment contracts. The Minister went on to explain that the measures in the WAB did not stand in isolation, but were rather part of a broader package of measures that are designed to improve the balance in the labour market.
Package of other measures
For example, measures are currently being prepared to clarify the complex problems surrounding the position of the self-employed, and the Cabinet wants to adopt measures that will clear away the bottlenecks experienced by employers in connection with illness and employment disability.
Also, an independent commission is being set up to investigate and issue advice on the regulation of employment in the future. This would include the increasing use of robotics and platforms. The commission will investigate what employment will look like in the future and the best way for the government to anticipate this in terms of legislation and regulations. Some specific questions posed to the commission include: (i) whether it would be desirable to amend the definition of the outsourcing contract and (ii) whether there is an alternative available for distinguishing between employees and the self-employed in labour law. The commission will issue its advice by 1 November 2019 at the latest.
The WAB still requires the approval of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament. The anticipated date for it to come into force is 1 January 2020. We will keep you informed of any developments.