Your lawyerJan Dop, LL.M.
Jan Dop assists national and international enterprises in all facets of their day-to-day business operations. He specializes in personnel, real estate and issues involving public authorities. Jan is Head of our Embassy Desk, that serves Embassies, Consulates, diplomats and expats. He has been a lawyer at Russell since 1995, and became a partner in 2011.
t: +31 20 301 55 55
New Working Conditions Act
The Working Conditions Act was amended on 1 July 2017. Does your company meet the requirements of the new legislation? Check in this blog whether you will have to make changes.
The Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) was amended on 1 July 2017. The Working Conditions Act contains general rules for employees and employers to promote the health and safety of employees.
What has changed?
The following rights and obligations are included in the changed Working Conditions Act:
- Basic contract
Arrangements between health and safety service providers and employers have to be laid down in a basic contract. In such a basic contract a number of subjects has to be addressed. For instance, at what point employers have to be supported by the health and safety service and how access to the company doctor is arranged. The Works Council has a right of consent regarding the contents of the basic contract.
- Open consultation hour
Employees who are not sick also should be given the opportunity to see the company doctor without prior consent. This obligation can be fulfilled by an open consultation hour.
- Second opinion by another company doctor
If the employee has doubts about the opinion of the company doctor, the employee may request a second opinion by another company doctor. The employer is required to pay the costs thereof. The option to get a second opinion from the UWV continues to exist.
- Access of company doctor to workplace
A company doctor should be given the opportunity to see each workplace. This way, the company doctors can improve the performance of their tasks.
- Advisory role of company doctor
To guarantee the impartiality of the company doctor, it was expressly provided that the company doctor has an advisory role only regarding supervision in case of illness. The responsibility to monitor absenteeism remains with the employer. In addition, the company doctor shall provide advice on preventive measures.
- Complaints procedure
All company doctors are required to have a complaints procedure that is known to everyone.
- Prevention officers
The prevention officers who must be appointed by each organisation will also cooperate with and provide advice to the company doctor and other health and safety specialists.
- More employee participation
Employees play an important part in the health and safety policy. For instance, the prevention officer is appointed with the consent of the Works Council (or employee representation (PVT) or the employees concerned) and the function of the prevention officer has to be outlined as well. In addition, the company doctor and other health and safety specialists are allowed to engage in consultations with the Works Council.
Compliance monitoring of the Health and Safety Act will be performed by the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate. Are you not meeting the requirements of the Health and Safety Act? In this event, the Inspectorate may impose measures and fines.
The change in the law entered into force on 1 July 2017 but there is a transitional period up to 1 July 2018. This means, new contracts must be in accordance with the new rules from the very beginning but existing contracts have to be in line with the legislation no later than 1 July 2018.
It is important to inform your employees about the changes in the Working Conditions Act. The right to visiting open consultation hours, requesting a second opinion of another company doctor and filing a complaint with the company doctor can, for instance, be included in an employee handbook. We will gladly help you drafting it.
Make sure that your contracts with the working conditions service are in line with the new Working Conditions Act on time. In addition, make clear arrangements with your health and safety officer, prevention officer and company doctor.
Would you like to learn more about the Working Conditions Act or your obligations regarding (sick) employees? Please contact us:
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