Post-COVID Dutch & European employment: legal trends and necessities

Due to COVID-19, many companies have abruptly changed their requirements and procedures regarding hiring, onboarding, and remote work. Undutchables teamed up with employment law experts Pallas Law to discuss new legal trends and necessities in the EU.

Aubrey de Wilde on November 22, 2022 Average reading time: 5 min
Share this article:
Post-COVID Dutch & European employment: legal trends and necessities

Hiring trends

Although seeking stability has always been a characteristic of job seekers, the current candidate market has made the hiring process more evident as the number one trend. The trick is that candidates are also looking for flexibility, and flexibility can also be helpful for you as a company, such as in the form of a trial period which is flexible for both parties. One thing to keep in mind with a trial period is that the candidate is also able to ‘quit’ before they even show up on the first day. If this is something you would like to avoid then you can agree to leave out the trial period, which offers more stability for both sides. However, do keep in mind that it is quite common to have a trial period, so if you decide not to use one you should consider all of the pros and cons first.

Finding a win-win situation between flexibility and stability for both parties is a great way to start off on the right foot when you hire new talent, especially in the current market.

Another great way to provide stability when hiring a new team member is to offer an indefinite contract right away. Keep in mind that this does remove some of your flexibility as an employer but this option can be especially effective when you are looking for experienced or specialised candidates. The main point to keep in mind while hiring is finding the right balance between stability and flexibility offered, and maintained, by you as an employer. Make sure that you are transparent and clear to the candidate as well, so that the contract provisions do not come as a surprise to them and they know what they are signing up for. Finding a win-win situation between flexibility and stability for both parties is a great way to start off on the right foot when you hire new talent, especially in the current market.

Retention trends

The next big point that needs our attention is how to retain talent in this market. The contract and company conditions are not only important when hiring, but remain a very important aspect for employees already within your organisation as well. The option to work from home or offering flexible working hours to your employees can make a big difference. These two options are especially relevant at the moment, so if you are able to implement this employees will feel heard and it will increase employee morale and their opinion of the company, which, you guessed it, increases retention. Other opportunities that make a difference to employee attitude are providing training courses and a clear career and growth perspective. You can also be creative in finding which conditions and benefits work best to fit the needs of your company and employees.

One such creative option is to offer discretionary bonuses. This can provide additional motivation because employees know that they can receive a bonus for their work. It also provides flexibility for you as a company because it is not part of the agreed upon monthly/yearly salary. The salary payment is something that you must always pay and most employees will never agree to a decrease in salary, but will be looking for an increase where possible. The discretionary bonus provides occasional additional income to employees, which they will welcome, while leaving you the flexibility within your budget to pay this out when it is fiscally responsible.

An important thing to keep in mind when offering contracts and benefits is equal treatment. You are not allowed to discriminate in any way. This means that the available benefits need to be accessible for all employees regardless of if they work remotely or on site, internationally or locally, on an indefinite or fixed term contract, or full-time or part-time. Make sure that any benefit you put into place does not discriminate against any group and that all employees can make use of it. This can increase retention because employees will be working in a fair environment and therefore will not leave due to feeling that they have been unfairly treated.

EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions

As we know, the work world is opening up more and more to remote working which opens the possibility to work not just from home, but from anywhere in the world. While employees love this option and it also provides great options for broadening your search when hiring, you need to make sure you stay up to date on the legal requirements for working in this way.  The EU Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions outlines some of the changes going into effect in this post-Covid market.

As of August 1st, 2022, you will need to keep the following things in mind:

  • Change to mandatory training and study clause. Mandatory training following from the law or a CLA (Collective Labour Agreement) must be provided at no cost to the employee and you are no longer allowed to include a study costs clause (with repayment obligation) for training that falls in this category.
  • Ancillary activities. You are no longer allowed to prohibit ancillary activities unless this is justified by objective grounds. There is no need to change current contracts that may have a clause prohibiting ancillary activities, but be aware that when an employee requests permission to perform ancillary activities you, as the employer, either needs to grant permission or provide objective grounds for the refusal.
  • Right for employee to request more predictable and certain working conditions. Employees are now granted the express right to request more predictable and certain working conditions. The employer should take this seriously and accommodate the request where possible.
  • Duty to provide information. This requirement existed already but is being emphasized even more now in an effort to make the contract and benefits more transparent and accessible for the employee. Some specific topics that are important to provide information on to potential and new employees are: whether or not the work location is flexible, under which circumstances are they entitled to paid leave, whether they can expect predictable working hours or not, and which working days and hours will be applicable for them. Pallas would advise employers to double check your employment contracts and personnel handbook to make sure that you are compliant with the duty to provide information article of this directive.

Relevance of EU Posting of Workers Directive

The EU Posting of Workers Directive has also become a lot more relevant in the last couple of years as more employees are working while they travel, expats return to their home country to work for a while, or companies post workers abroad for temporary projects. There are also a couple of important things to keep in mind with regards to this directive:

  • Minimum pay extended to ‘equal remuneration’. This means that the minimum payment allowed needs to take both the rules of the employer country and the rules of the host country into account.
  • Temporary postings longer than 12-18 months. Usually you will be able to continue applying the Dutch rules and regulations for the first 12 months. After 12 months the employee posting changes from being temporary and you will need to make arrangements to comply with the taxes, benefits, and other requirements of the country where the employee is working. This is typically after 12 months, but sometimes after a maximum of 18 months. When you extend the posting past this time period you will need to comply with the host country’s rules and regulations.
  • Employer obligation for international posting within the EU. When you post an employee internationally you must inform the authorities of the posting. There is an obligation to provide a digital notification to the Dutch authorities as of 2020, so make sure you don’t forget this step. This requirement was put into place to help with information sharing and addressing issues related to fraud and the circumvention of rules.

Regardless of what your current situation is with your employees it is always important to stay up to date on the changing legal requirements and trends in the market. This way you can make sure you are finding and hiring great talent, retaining your workforce, and fulfilling your obligations to comply with all of the applicable laws and regulations. This way you can keep both your company and your international teams working successfully. 

Are you curious about what services Undutchables has to offer? Take a look at their website or contact them directly.
Share this article:
Aubrey de Wilde

Aubrey de Wilde

Recruitment Consultant at Undutchables

Premium partners View all partners

Intelligence Group
Recruitment Tech

Read the newsletter about total talent acquisition.