Works council

Publication date: 4 May 2021
Is there already a works council in your company? Are you a member of your company’s works council? What are the advantages of having a works council in your company? Jan Dop and Priscilla C.X. de Leede explain the role of the works council and give an overview of the works council’s most important rights.

works-councils

What is a works council?

A works council is the most important employee representative body in a company for safeguarding the rights and interests of employees. A works council plays an important role in the company: It can block important decisions of the entrepreneur, but can also enable reorganization of the company.

When do you need to set up a works council?

Every company with 50 or more employees must have a works council. A works council must also be established in a company with fewer than 50 employees if this is required by a collective agreement. Both the entrepreneur and the employees can take the initiative to set up a works council. Furthermore, each interested party can request the subdistrict court to order the entrepreneur to set up a works council if he does not want to do so.

How to become a works council member?

The members of the works council are elected by all employees of a company who have worked there for six months prior to the election date. The number of works council members depends on the number of employees working within a company. For example, a company with 50 up to 100 employees must at least have 5 members.

In principle, employees who have worked for the company for 1 year prior to the election date are eligible to stand for election. The intention is to reduce these statutory terms for the right to vote and to be electable as a works council member. In this way, also employees with short employment contract are given the opportunity to participate in a works council.

Most important rights

The main rights of the works council are:

  • the right to information, both passive (entrepreneur’s duty of disclosure) and active (on request of the works council);
  • the right to be consulted regarding intended major decisions of the entrepreneur;
  • the right of consent regarding intended decisions to adopt, change or revoke certain regulations/policies;
  • the right of initiative, that gives the works council the opportunity to come up with its own proposals and to participate at an early stage upon its own initiative in discussions on decisions to be taken.

Other rights and powers

The works council has additional rights and powers in order to be able to fulfil its tasks. For instance, the right to free time for mutual consultation and training, continued payment of wages during works council work, and protection from dismissal.

Jan Dop and Priscilla C.X. de Leede are experts in employee representation and employment law at Russell Advocaten. Please contact them if your works council has any legal questions or you need help setting up a works council in your company or your company has any issues related to the works council.

    Share on social media

    • IT and ICT
    • Employment law and dismissal

    Uber drivers are employees, not self-employed workers

    14 September 2021

    According to the Amsterdam District Court, Uber drivers are employees. Therefore, they are covered by the collective agreement of the taxi industry with all associated rights and obligations. How did the District Court reach this judgement? And what does it mean for other forms of platform work?

    read on
    • Retail
    • Employment law and dismissal

    Questions and challenges during COVID-19: Dutch employment law, tenancy law and contract law

    13 September 2021

    In this article, we will discuss several questions and challenges in the field of Dutch employment law, tenancy law and contract law during COVID-19.

    read on
    • Corporate law

    Is a management agreement an employment contract or a contract for services?

    26 August 2021

    Do the new rules of the Supreme Court for the assessment of employment contracts also have consequence for management agreements? Case law has not decided yet. This can be seen from the judgments of the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal and the District Court of Midden-Nederland about the management agreement of the CFO of Volksbank.

    read on
    • Employment law and dismissal

    Dismissal of sick statutory director

    12 August 2021

    A sick employee may not be dismissed. However, an employee who knows of imminent dismissal, cannot avoid this by reporting sick. But when does the employee know that this is the case? This question was central to the court case concerning the dismissal of a CFO of Volksbank.

    read on
    • Employment law and dismissal

    Personnel: Rules on employee appearance in company regulations

    10 August 2021

    Employers can determine rules on clothing and appearance in company regulations. What do employers have to keep in mind when setting such rules?

    read on
    • Employment law and dismissal

    Three important topics to include in your employment contract under Dutch, US and UK law

    15 July 2021

    In the last issue of Stare Decisis, Priscilla de Leede of Russell Advocaten, Mary Edenfield of Mateer Harbert and Ed Belam of Marriott Harrison discuss the most important topics to include in your employment contracts regarding the termination of the contract. There are some important differences to take into account!

    read on
    • Corporate law

    Good governance: The advisory capacity of directors and members of the supervisory board

    28 June 2021

    Directors and members of the supervisory board support shareholders in an advisory capacity. From 1 July 2021 this also applies to directors and supervisory board members of associations, foundations and cooperatives. What are the consequences if the shareholders make decisions disregarding this advisory role?

    read on
    • Works Council
    • Corporate law

    Management and Supervision of Legal Entities Act: What are the changes?

    23 June 2021

    On 10 November 2020, the Dutch Senate adopted the bill on the management and supervision of legal entities. This affects all associations and foundations, but, above all, nonprofit organizations. As an officer of a sports club, are you now more likely to be liable? Do you have to meet additional requirements when you are a member of the supervisory board of a school?

    read on