Courts wise up to disadvantages of flexible working: Trouw

While legislation to give more rights to workers with flexible contracts is still going through parliament, judges are already having an impact in a string of recent rulings, Trouw reports on Friday.

The paper says the courts are wising up to the ‘tricks’, such as payrolling, used by employers in an effort to get round employment law.

Lawyer and University of Amsterdam researcher Johan Zwemmer told the paper employment law is in a change-over period. ‘Social pressure has given judges the confidence to take a stand on shell constructions,’ he said.


‘The crisis means reports about freelancers earning less than the minimum wage or union campaigns against payrolling make it much clearer where the problems with flexible working are,’ Zwemmer said.

Employment lawyer Anja Hoffmans also says judges ‘are increasingly sensitive to the argument that employers are using shell constructions’.

In April, for example, the High Court ruled in favour of former Heineken canteen staff who were transferred to a new employer when the catering contract was farmed out, with lower pay and fewer rights.

Last week, the High Court also ruled that people with on-call contracts should get paid for at least three hours for each job.

‘Judges are looking more at the underlying reasons… rather than what is simply on paper,’ Zwemmer said.

Verdicts will be given on two important cases on payrolling at the end of this year. The cases, brought by the FNV general workers union Bondgenoten, focus on situations which are ‘clearly to the advantage of employers,’ a union legal official told Trouw.

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