Employers’ associations have recently published their conditions of employment policy (‘arbeidsvoorwaardennota’ in Dutch) for 2021. The policy contains specific advice for the collective bargaining of the conditions of employment to be included in the CLAs. The coronavirus pandemic plays an important role in the policy: according to employers’ associations VNO-NCW, MKB-Nederland and AWVN, the new CLAs must take into consideration the current crisis in order to avert financial problems. The associations commit to more flexible conditions of employment as well as a crisis clause to be included in the CLAs.
Such as crisis clause can be used, for example, to temporarily relax conditions of employment and/or to temporarily adjust or suspend a pay rise when a crisis hits. Another option mentioned by the associations is the inclusion of a non-structural, profit-dependent bonus. This would allow an employer to base the height of the end-of-year bonus on that year’s profit. If it is not undesirable to use profit as a criterion, an employer can also opt to base the bonus on e.g. customer ratings or the individual performance of an employee. However, such austerity measures on the one hand should mean that employees can expect to receive higher wages when business is going well.