The position of on-call workers has already improved under the Balanced Labour Market Act (in Dutch “Wet Arbeidsmarkt in Balans” or “WAB”). As of 1 August 2022, a number of aspects are added to improve the position of on-call workers. These additions concern the introduction of reference days and hours and the possibility to submit a request for more predictable and secure working conditions.
Introduction reference days and hours
The new rules aim to provide better protection for employees whose work patterns are wholly or largely unpredictable. This concerns employees for whom the majority of working hours is unclear in advance. This is the case with the on-call worker. As of 1 August 2022, the on-call worker must be notified of the reference days and hours within one week after the start of the employment contract. Reference days and hours are understood to mean the times when the on-call worker must be available and when the on-call worker can be obliged to come to work. Outside the reference days and hours, the on-call worker may refuse the call.
In addition, the minimum call period of four days (possibly shortened to one day in the case of a collective bargaining agreement) still applies. Therefore, if the call is withdrawn within the four day-period, wages are owed to the on-call worker. In addition, the “snapshot”, i.e., offering a fixed working time after 12 months of working as an on-call worker, continues to apply. For an overview of these rules, reference is made to the information about the Balanced Labour Market Act (in Dutch “Wet Arbeidsmarkt in Balans” or “WAB”).
Way of informing
For employees with a wholly or largely unpredictable work pattern, it will be possible to submit a request to the employer for more predictable and secure employment conditions. The employee could request for fixed hours or for a permanent contract. The employer must be alert to such requests.
Conditions and decision period
The on-call worker making the request must be employed by the employer at least 26 weeks prior to the intended commencement date. In response to the request, the employer will make a decision. The decision shall be substantiated and communicated in writing, with a decision period of maximum one month. For employers with less than ten employees, a maximum decision period of three months applies.
The employer ensures that the employee’s request is responded to within the set decision period. If the employer does not inform the employee or informs the employee too late about the decision on the request, the employee’s request will be deemed granted.
If the employer rejects the employee’s request, the employee can only submit a new request to the employer one year later. The same rules as described above apply to a new request.