With the NOW schemes, employers can apply for a salary cost compensation if they have a minimum of 20% loss of turnover due to the corona crisis. How is the Works Council involved? What are the rights of the Works Council? In short: what is the role of the Works Council?
The government announced the ‘Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkgelegenheid’ (emergency bridging funds for employment or NOW) at the end of March. This temporary measure ran from April to June 2020.
However, the corona crisis still has a significant impact on our society and economy, which is why, on 20 May, the government announced that the measure would be extended until 1 October 2020. This renewed arrangement is also called NOW 2.0.
NOW 2.0 Terms and Conditions
To qualify for compensation, employers must meet several conditions, such as a loss of turnover of 20% or more and a 100% payment of employee salaries. All terms and conditions – and an explanation of the extended NOW scheme – are published on the website of the Dutch government (Dutch).
Compared to the first NOW, NOW 2.0 has some additional conditions, such as the commitment of employers to encourage their employees to undertake training or retraining.
NOW and NOW 2.0: Works Council right to information
The NOW does not refer to the Works Councils Act (WOR). Still, the employer is required to inform the employee representatives of the compensation.
If the employer does not do so, the Works Council can use its right to information as it is laid down in Article 31 of the WOR (Dutch). Request written information and specifically name the information you want to receive from the ‘Bestuurder’ (Director).
policy adjustments due to corona: the right to advise and the right to consent still apply
Applying for the NOW compensation is one of the measures an employer can take to survive the corona crisis. Many employers also make policy adjustments in areas such as vacation days, salary and workplaces (working from home and/or changes in the office).
The Works Council has the right to advise or consent in many subjects, which is why the Works Council should follow the formal advise or consent procedures, which can also be accelerated. Changes to policies or regulations in the organisation should always be documented so employees (and the Works Council in the future) know what the policy is and the policy can be implemented/applied objectively.
Employers who receive the compensation and at the same time wish to dismiss more than 20 employees must reach agreement on this matter with the trade unions.
If there are no trade unions active in the organisation, the employer must consult the Works Council (or personnel representation) on the need for dismissal. If they cannot reach an agreement, they must submit a joint application for mediation to the Labour Foundation (Stichting van de Arbeid).
more questions about the NOW schemes?
This article is based on information from the SER and the Dutch government:
- are employers required to involve the Works Council in the NOW compensation scheme? (SER) (Dutch)
- questions about the NOW scheme (Dutch government) (Dutch)
Learn more about the NOW scheme and the Works Council:
- the NOW scheme explained (Dutch)
- NOW and the employer’s obligation to inform (Dutch)
- vacation days, hour not worked and Works Council consent (Dutch)
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.