1 to 10 Employees

Your company may establish a staff meeting on a voluntary basis.

11 to 49 Employees

On the request of the majority of employees, the employees can voluntarily set up a Works Council or an employee representative body. An employee representative body [Personeelsvereniging] is not the same as a Works Council. If an employee representative body is established, staff meetings need to take place and are entitled to prior consultation.

50 Employees and more

Based upon the Dutch Works Councils Act (WOR) [Wet op de Ondernemingsraden] a Works Council is required to be established. In case your company owns more than 1 company, please ensure that each company with 50 employees and more has its own Works Council. A joint Works Council is possible when those companies each employ less than 50 people, but the total amount of employees is 50 or exceeds this number.

Employee Representation

The Works Council is an internal body representing employees, and has consultation rights in respect of certain significant proposed management decisions and approval rights in respects of intended decisions regarding certain employment policies.

The rights of the Work Council consists of:

Right to be Informed
Right to be Informed WOR art. 31 - general active and passive right: supply the Works Council upon request and provide as company on own initiative all information in writing reasonably necessary for the proper fulfilment of their tasks and duties.
Right for Initiative
Right for Initiative WOR art. 23  - discuss topics at or outside the regular consultation meetings with the company.
Right to be Consulted
Right to be Consulted WOR art. 25 and art. 30 - discuss important decisions regarding the organisation including Appointment / dismissal director.
Right for Consent
Right of Consent WOR art.27 - discuss decisions on employment-related matters

SANCTIONS & ACTIONS

In case of non-compliance, the Works Council may (after interference of the Branch Committee), request the Cantonal Court to declare the entreprise to comply with his obligations. The Cantonal Court may further, upon request of the Works Council or the employees, oblige the employer of the Works Council to perform certain activities or to refrain from performing certain activities.

In case a decision is made contrary to the opinion given by the Works Council, the Works Council can lodge an appeal against the decision with the Enterprise Chamber of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam which court can (depending on the circumstances) oblige the entreprise to withdraw its decision and reverse actions take as a result thereof; and/or forbid the employer to perform activities which are an implementation of the decision taken.

European Works Council

Companies, part of a multinational organisation, which operates in at least 2 countries in the European Economic Area (EEA), must comply with the European Works Council Directive (EWC). Employees can request an EWC if the organisation has both: 1,000 or more employees in total and at least 150 employees in each of 2 or more EU states, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland.

Trade Unions

Trade Unions are (independent) organisations, representing employees within a certain industry or business sector. They are negotiating Collective Labour Agreements of employment. This is an exclusive role - Works Council will on average not have a say in this. The Trade Union has information and consultation rights in respect of collective dismissal and have right in respect to mergers and considered with are considered to fall within the scope of the Dutch jurisdiction. Please read more about the differences between a Collective Labour Agreement per company and a Collective Labour Agreement per Business Sector.