29 Dec Most important HR law changes 2022
1. Untaxed home office expense reimbursement
- As from 1 January 2022, the possibility exists to provide employees with a tax-free home office expense allowance of EUR 2 per day (or part of the day) worked from home;
- The untaxed travel allowance of EUR 0.19 per kilometer for commuting will also be continued;
- The home office expenses allowances may be granted in conjunction with the travel allowance. Please note: per day, either the home office allowance or the travel allowance can be granted;
- When employer and employee have made fixed arrangements regarding the number of home working days per week a fixed home office expense allowance can be granted on this basis;
- An adjustment is not necessary if the employee occasionally works at the office on a on a homeworking day, however the homeworking allowance should be adjusted in the event of structural changes in this respect.
2. Expiry of temporary exemption for the work-related costs scheme (‘werkkostenregeling’ or ‘WKR’)
- In the Tax Plan 2022, the increase of the WKR’s free margin for the year 2021 has definitely been determined at 3%;
- For 2022, the temporary increase of the free margin, as introduced by the government in connection with the coronary crisis for 2020 and 2021, will lapse.
- As of 1 January 2022, the normal percentages will apply again, so:
- the margin for the first EUR 400,000 of the annual taxable wage bill is 1.7%.
- the excess of EUR 400,000 is subject to the margin of 1.18%.
- If the free margin is exceeded, a final levy of 80% applies.
3. Reduction of unemployment benefit (‘WW’) premiums and high premium in case of > 30% overtime
- As a result of the Balanced Labour Market Act (‘Wab’) a low WW premium for permanent contracts and a high WW premium for flexible contracts applies since 1 January 2020;
- From 2022 onwards, premiums decrease compared to 2021. For 2022:
- Low WW-premium: 2.2% (was 2.7%);
- High WW-premium: 7.2% (was 7.7%).
- Because of corona the government suspended the obligation to remit the high WW premium retroactively for permanent employees working more than 30% overtime in a calendar year. This suspension will no longer apply in 2022. If permanent employees work more than 30% overtime in calendar year 2022, the high WW premium must be paid retroactively.
4. Adjustment to tax on emission-free cars
- The additional taxable benefit rate for the private use of emission-free company cars will be reduced in accordance with the Climate Agreement. For 2022, an additional taxable benefit rate of 16% will apply.
- The list price to which the discount on the additional taxable benefit rate for emission-free cars applies, will be reduced. The list price to which this discount applies this will be EUR 35,000 in 2022 (and EUR 30,000 in 2023).
5. Directive on transparent and predictable employment conditions
- On 1 August 2022 at the latest, the European Directive on transparent and predictable employment conditions must be implemented in Dutch law.
- The consequences of implementing the Directive include the following:
- A new Section 7:653a of the DCC will be added to Book 7 of the DCC. This section stipulates that, in principle, it is not allowed to prohibit ancillary activities during the employment. Employees may therefore have several employers. An ancillary employment clause in the employment contract will then be null and void, unless the clause can be justified on the basis of an objective reason. These objective reason may be included in the contract itself, but may also be given by the employer afterwards.
- The information obligation of the employer pursuant to Section 7:655 of the DCC will be expanded. This means that, from now on, the employer must provide the employees with information on, among other things, the procedural aspects of the termination of the employment contract, the working hours, the place of work, the arrangement(s) regarding overtime and the entitlement to paid leave. Please note: in most cases, this information is already included in the employment contract.
- If the employer is obliged by law or by the CLA to provide training to its employees in order to perform the work for which they have been hired, the training in question must:
- A study costs clause will only be possible in certain cases and certainly not in the case of mandatory training. No transitional law will apply, which means that study costs clauses already agreed upon will in certain cases no longer be valid.
- Employees with an unpredictable work pattern will be better protected. The employer is required to agree so-called reference days and reference hours in writing at the commencement of the employment contract. These are days and hours when the employee may be required to work. If the employee decides to actually call up the employee on a reference day, a minimum call-up period of four days prior to commencement of the work applies. This is in line with the legislation as it currently applies to on-call workers. If the employer does not comply to this or the call falls outside the reference days or hours, the employee may refuse to work. The amendment is implemented in article 7:628b.
6. Change minimum wage
- As of 1 January 2022, the statutory minimum wage for employees aged 21 or older will be EUR 1,725 gross per month (was EUR 1,701).
7. The Paid Parental Leave Act
- Currently, an employee is legally entitled to unpaid parental leave for a maximum of 26 weeks. This will change with the Paid Parental Leave Act (‘Wbo’) which comes into effect on 2 August 2022.
- With the Wbo, employees will be entitled to a parental leave benefit for 9 weeks. The condition is that they take these 9 weeks in the first year of the child’s life. Employers do not have to continue paying wages, the benefit is provided by the UWV. This amounts to 50% of the daily wage (up to 50% of the maximum daily wage). Possibly the benefit will be increased to 70% of the daily wage.
- The paid parental leave also applies to some parents who have a child before the act takes In that case, the child must be younger than one year old at the time the act takes effect. Also, the parents have to be employees at the time and not yet have taken the full entitlement (26 times the working hours per week) to parental leave.
8. Smoking area prohibited
- As of 1 January 2022, according to the amended Tobacco and Smoking Products Decree, a company may no longer have a smoking area. The NVWA supervises the enforcement of this smoking ban and in case of violation of the ban, the NVWA can impose an administrative fine.
9. Works Councils Act (‘WCA’)
- With the implementation of the Collective Act on Social Affairs 2022 – of which the date of implementation is still to be determined – the WCA will be amended on a number of points.
- The periods of active and passive voting rights will be reduced from 6 months and 12 months, to 3 months (Section 6 of the WCA).
- Temporary agency workers accrue co-determination rights in the user company after 15 months (instead of after 24 months) and will thus acquire active and passive voting rights after 18 months (Section 1 of the WCA).
- Section 15 of the WCA will be amended in such a way that it is possible to deviate from the main rule that a standing committee must consist of a majority of Works Council members. This can contribute to reducing the workload of Works Council members. If the permanent committee does not consist of a majority of Works Council members, the right to advice and consent remains with the Works Council.
10. Binding and Non-Binding Status of Provisions of CLA Act (‘Act AVV’)
- A new subsection will be added to section 2a of the Act AVV which regulates that a limited group of posted workers (who, in short, are engaged in the initial assembly or first installation of a good) are not entitled, under the conditions set out in the Posting of Workers Directive, to the “hard core” of employment conditions relating to remuneration and the minimum number of paid annual leave days. This only applies insofar as these terms and conditions of employment result from provisions of the collective agreement that have been declared generally binding and that are applicable by virtue of Section 2a(1) of the Act AVV.
- Other parts of the hard core of employment conditions will continue to apply in full to these posted workers if they perform the installation or assembly work in the Netherlands.
- It should be noted that the exception does not apply to work in the construction industry.
11. The Employment conditions (Posted Workers in the EU) Act (‘WagwEU’)
- With the implementation of the Collective Act on Social Affairs 2022, an addition will be made to the definition of “self-employed person” in the WagwEU from which it follows that this refers to a self-employed person coming from another EU member state. It does not concern self-employed persons from third countries. Self-employed persons from third countries are covered by the regime of the Foreign Nationals Employment Act.
- A newly added Article 3b of the WagwEU implies that an employer may not disadvantage an employee by the circumstance that the employee commences legal or administrative proceedings to enforce the rights granted to him in this Act or in Article 2a of the Act AVV.
12. Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and medical data
- With the implementation of the Collective Act on Social Affairs 2022, article 88a of the Occupational Disability Insurance Act (‘WAO’), article 104 of the Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (‘WIA’) and Section 75a of the Sickness Benefits Act (‘ZW’) will be removed. As a result, the UWV will no longer be allowed to share medical information with the employer at all, even if an employee gives permission.
- An authorized representative of the employer, acting in the place of the employer, may however be given access to the medical data.
- A legislative proposal is currently under consideration that will amend the Whistleblower Protection Act to become the Whistleblower House Act.
- The proposed legislation will result in several changes, including:
- stricter requirements for the internal reporting procedure;
- the reporting procedure should also be open to reports of infringements of European Union law.
- an expansion of the circle of protective persons;
- a shift in the burden of proof – the burden of proof will be on the employer; and
- a registration obligation for the employer.
This article was published on 29 December 2021