Important changes in employment law as from 1 January 2022

The first month of the new year is almost over, so the time has come to list the most important changes in employment law of 2022.

Tax-exempt homeworking allowance

From 1 January 2022, employers can give their employees a tax-exempt homeworking allowance of no more than € 2 for each day or part of a day on which work is carried out from home. Please note that it is not permitted to pay a commuting allowance for that same working day, Not even if the employee works from home for half of a day and travels to the office to work there for another part of that day. The employer therefore has to opt for one of the exemptions.

Paid parental leave

From 2 August 2022, employees are entitled to nine weeks of paid parental leave, provided that they take these nine weeks in the first year of the child’s life. The parental leave allowance (that can be applied for at the Employee Insurance Agency UWV) is currently 50% of their daily wage (up to 50% of the maximum daily wage). If the employee’s wage is higher that the maximum daily wage, the employer will not be obliged to supplement the allowance.

EU Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

This directive has to be implemented in Dutch legislation by 31 July 2022 at the latest. In brief, this directive stipulates that (i) employees are always entitled to free mandatory training, (ii) a clause prohibiting ancillary activities will no longer be valid, unless there is an objective ground that jusitifies such clause, (iii) the working conditions are laid down in writing in a clear way, and (iv) flexworkers are entitled to more predictable working conditions with more certainty. The act will enter into force with immediate effect, which means that (study costs) clauses that are contrary to this act will be void immediately, even if the employment contract was concluded before 1 August 2022.

A better say for flexworkers under the Works Councils Act (Dutch WOR)

Pursuant to the amended Works Councils Act, flexworkers are more involved in the workers’ participation within the enterprise. For example, the periods for acquiring the right to vote and the right to stand for election are shortened to three months. In addition, agency workers will already be regarded as ‘persons working in the enterprise’ after 15 months, which means that they will have the right to vote and to stand for election after 18 months. As a result, an enterprise that works a lot with agency workers will have to set up a works council sooner.

No smoking areas

From 1 January 2022, a general smoking ban applies in the workplace. This means that all smoking areas will have to be removed. Under strict conditions, creating a smoking area outdoors remains possible.

Balanced men-women ratio in the top management of the enterprise

The More balanced ratio in the number of men and women on the Boards of Directors and Supervisory Boards Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2022, aims at a more balanced ratio in the number of men and women on the boards of directors and supervisory boards of large private and public limited companies. Under this Act, for example, at least one third of the members of the supervisory board of a listed company have to be women. Large companies are also obliged to set targets and report if and to what extent these are achieved.

Maximum transition payment

As every year, the maximum statutory transition payment has been adjusted upwards again. This year, the transition payment amounts to € 86,000 gross (or one annual salary, if this is higher).

Unemployment insurance contribution with retroactive affect

Currently, employers pay a lower unemployment insurance contribution for employees with an employment contract for an indefinite period, and a higher unemployment insurance contribution for flexible workers. These contributions decrease slightly in 2022. On the other hand, employers have to pay the higher unemployment insurance contribution with retroactive effect for the permanent employees with less than 35 working hours per week who have worked more than 30% overtime in hours during a calendar year. Employers should therefore be alert to employees in permanent employment and with a limited number of working hours who work overtime on a structural basis.