Changes on-demand contracts in The Netherlands

The bill “Law on balance in the labor market” has been adopted by the Dutch House of Representatives. Entrepreneurs who regularly work with on-demand workers need to be aware of future changes.

What is an on-demand employment contract?

An on-demand employment contract is a collective term for zero-hour contracts and ‘min-max’ contracts. This means contracts with a deferred performance obligation: the employer calls on the employee if there is work available and the employee is subsequently obliged to come. It is a characteristic of such contracts that the number of hours to be worked is not clearly defined.

There is a clear definition of an on-demand employment contract: an on-demand agreement is when the (hours) scope of the work to be performed is not explicitly defined as a specific number of hours per period (at most one month or year), and where the salary payment is not uniformly spread over that time period.

Reimbursed accessibility services are not considered on-demand agreements.

Changes to procedure for requesting work

If the number of hours to be worked is not clearly defined, the employer must now make a request to the employee at least four days in advance of the work required, otherwise the employee is not obliged to agree to perform that work.

How must this request be made? This must be done in writing or digitally (for example by e-mail or WhatsApp). If the employer does not do this, the request has not been made correctly. With a collective labor agreement, a shorter request term can be agreed (but never less than 24 hours).

If the request is (partially) withdrawn within four days from the start of the work, or if the employer changes the times, the employee is entitled to wage payment for the period for which he was originally called.

Offer of fixed work amounts

An important change is the requirement to offer a fixed amount of work. The government wants employers to offer employees (annually, in the 13th month) a fixed number of working hours, during which the payment of wages is not excluded.

This offer of a fixed number of hours should be based on the average amount of work in the previous twelve months (the reference period).

If the employer does not make such an offer, the employee is entitled to the unused wages from the latest date when the employer should have made the offer. The government now proposes that in such cases there is a right to wage payment for the hours that the employee would have worked if the employer had made the offer and the employee had agreed to it.

For employees who have been working for more than twelve months on an on-demand contract, a transitional provision is included that stipulates that the employer must submit an offer for a fixed number of hours of work within one month of the time this amendment becomes law.

Tip! Withdraw a request in writing, as an oral withdrawal is not legally valid. You must then still pay the wage for the hours for which the employee was originally summoned.