The Social Economic Council (SER) has translated the Works Council Act (WOR) text into English. This is very useful now that, due to the increasing globalisation, there are more and more English-speaking Works Councils in the Netherlands.
The Works Council in English
Because organisations are increasingly globalising, Dutch organisations are noticing an increase in the number of foreign employees. This happens in organisations that move to the Netherlands from abroad, but also in Dutch companies that are focussing more on the international market.
Think of foreign employees who, because of their knowledge or experience, come to work in the Netherlands for some years (or permanently). They may come from the organisation’s foreign office(s) or are specifically recruited abroad. These employees are often referred to as expats.
A Works Council acts in the interest of all employees who have a Dutch employment contract with the organisation. This also applies to non-Dutch employees with a Dutch contract. Moreover, these non-Dutch employees, like their Dutch-speaking colleagues, are entitled to a seat on the Works Council. However, not everyone (sufficiently) understands the Dutch language, which is why many (or rather: more and more) organisations choose to use English as the language of instruction for the organisation. This means that the Works Council activities will also be in English, including all meetings/discussions and official documents.
Dutch legislation and regulations
As these companies are usually based in the Netherlands, Dutch legislation and regulations still apply. The WOR is an essential law for the Works Council; it lays down the rules on employee participation. The WOR describes the rights, duties and powers of the Works Council.
If the language of instruction changes from Dutch to English, it is useful to have the legislation and regulations of the Works Council also available in English. The SER has now made this possible by translating the Works Council Act.
Use this link to read the English translation of the WOR: Works Councils Act.
The English WOR as a useful resource
International organisations often have a diversity of nationalities and cultures. This can complicate the communication between Works Council members or between the Works Council and the Director. English may be chosen as the language of instruction, but that does not mean that everyone understands that language as well as their mother tongue. Moreover, translations are always subject to interpretation. Foreign Directors and employees often have to get used to the Dutch legislation and culture, which are different from what they are used to in their home country.
The English WOR is a very useful document for the communication between the Works Council and the Director in an international organisation, or in case of reorganisations involving Dutch and foreign companies. The English text makes it easier for the Works Council to clarify the regulations and powers of the Works Council in such situations.
It is important to remember that the English version has no legal significance. In case of discussions or conflicts, the original Dutch WOR must always be referred to.
counselling the Works Council
Does your Works Council need help or guidance in switching from Dutch to English, or do you need help with the (English) communication between the Works Council and the Director?
At CT², we have a lot of experience with international Works Councils. We know the possibilities and pitfalls of English as a language of instruction and the different cultural backgrounds within an organisation.
Please contact us. We are happy to help you find the best solution for your Works Council.
Note: Please note that we are a Dutch organisation and that all our information is originally composed in Dutch. For the benefit of our English-speaking customers we have translated some of our online information. We are still in the process of translating even more of our information. It could therefore be that you will come across Dutch pages on CT2.nl. Please contact us if you would like more information.