Topic 2 Inclusion, diversity, and rights in the Dutch labour market​

Photo by Freepik:

People with TCN migration backgrounds continue to be underrepresented in senior positions at Dutch organizations. The Dutch government has now received advice from the Social Economic Council (SER) regarding an integrated strategy that includes more robust measures.

Large businesses will be required to communicate openly and actively about gender and cultural diversity, as well as to set their own ambitious goals for promoting gender diversity.

The proportional representation of men and women (50:50) and TCN migrants at the top of business and society must become the new standard. Talent is better utilized in this manner, and innovation, creativity, and social cohesion are encouraged.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to developing diversity policies for organizations, so attention should not only be paid to the top. It requires measures to improve women’s and TCN migrant’s positions in the labour market as well as to deal with discrimination in the workplace. A comprehensive, integrated strategy is required in order to achieve diversity and inclusion in society and organizations.

Top Employers found that 77% of Dutch businesses prioritized diversity and inclusion as their top priorities.Only 45% of that group set measurable goals, while 65% developed an HR improvement strategy.

Compared to just a third of organizations two years ago, the study found that over half now regularly provide diversity and inclusion awareness training. However, the business community in the Netherlands has a long way to go.

In the near future, the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the labour market will only grow. In the world, equality is becoming increasingly significant. However, in light of the labour market shortage, it is also very practical. As an employer, you are more interested in a larger target audience if you transform into a diverse and inclusive organization.

In honour of diversity day in 2021, Dutch companies and organizations pay attention to diversity in the workplace to demonstrate that it is beneficial to have a mix of people from various cultural backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, genders, and capabilities.

Dutch Working hours

The average workweek in the Netherlands is 38 hours. In the Netherlands, the majority of full-time (voltijd) jobs are between 36 and 40 hours per week, or seven and eight hours per day, five days per week.

Instead of the standard 38 hours, some businesses have a 40-hour workweek, which means that employees get paid more for working more hours. Increasing annual holiday leave (sometimes to around 12 additional days) is another way employers can compensate for higher weekly hours. Unpaid lunch breaks typically last for thirty minutes in the Netherlands.

Part-time work (deeltijd) is defined as working less than 36 hours per week but more than 12. In the Netherlands, a sizable percentage of women—roughly 74 percent have part-time jobs. There is a wide range of opinion regarding the benefits of this trend, which has both advantages (lower stress levels and more time spent with family and children) and disadvantages (lower financial independence, sluggish career development).

The legal workweek limit for employees in the Netherlands is 60 hours with a maximum of 12 hours per shift. For longer time periods, the limit is lower and only applies to short periods. An employee may not work more than 55 hours per week over a period of four weeks and more than 48 hours per week over a period of 16 weeks. If your shift lasts more than 5,5 hours, you are entitled to a 30-minute (unpaid) break, which you can also divide into two 15-minute breaks.

In contrast to many other nations, the Netherlands does not have a high rate of overtime work.

Depending on the terms of your employment contract, you may or may not be compensated for overtime hours performed. Some employers will specify in the employment agreement that (some) overtime work is standard practice and is compensated by your base pay, whilst other employers may offer cash or vacation time as payment for any overtime put in.  It is crucial to bring up the subject with your employer if you feel that you are putting in an excessive amount of (uncompensated) overtime.

Negotiating flexible work schedules with an employer may be an option for some employees. Among them are:

  1. Working one or more days a week from home.
  2. Lengthier workdays in return for a day off every week or two weeks.
  3. To make up for hours worked on the weekends or in the nights, give people time off.

Be sure to bring up the subject while talking about your employment contract or during a meeting for performance reviews if you want to explore the possibilities of flexible work.

Photo by NIX United:

In the Netherlands, a person’s level of work-life balance is measured by how well they balance work, family, parenting, and other activities. This is extremely challenging when you work and have children. That has a significant impact on your well-being if you are able to manage it effectively.

The Netherlands was named the best nation in the world for achieving work-life balance in 2019 thanks to its score of 9.5/10 on the OECD Better Life Index.

In general, the Dutch adhere to the principle of “work to rule,” which means that they respect their predetermined working hours. The Dutch make friends slowly and selectively, but once they do, most of them last a lifetime. Birthday is one of the most important rituals in the Netherlands. The birthdays of friends and family are meticulously tracked. When a Dutch colleague celebrates the birthday of a member of their family, such as a father, spouse, or child, it is perfectly acceptable to congratulate them. In order to achieve a healthy work-life balance, it is necessary to take into account the importance of the family (Gezin) for Dutch people.

The business case for work-life balance is well-known to Dutch organizations. In order to make better use of employee resources, there is a growing trend toward more adaptable working time systems. There are already a lot of part-time and temporary workers in the Netherlands.

The 2021 InterNations Expat Insider survey has revealed what it is about working in the Netherlands that expats love so much, as many TCN migrants move there for work:the flexibility of the work-life balance, working hours, and job security.

The survey also looked at how New Work is seen in different corporate cultures. New Work is a new idea that aims to change the way people work by emphasising values such as self-actualisation, autonomy and personal growth. It is also about how the work environment can adapt to the digital and globalised world. 76% of expats in the Netherlands believe that New Work plays an important role in the country’s corporate culture, with 69% believing that the concept carries more weight in the Netherlands than in their home country, according to the Future of Working Abroad report.

Holidays in the Netherlands are governed by collective agreements (CAO) and labor agreements.  If you work on a public holiday, you are entitled to extra pay.

Types of Dutch holidays: There are three types of holidays in the Netherlands:

  1. Dutch national holidays: The king’s day (Koningsdag) on 27 April and Liberation day (Bevrijdingsdag) on 5th May each year.. Despite the fact that Liberation Day is a national holiday, not everyone might be free on that day. This will be determined by your school or employer.
  2. Dutch public holidays: In addition to the national holidays, New Year’s Day and a few Christian holidays are widely observed public holidays in the Netherlands.
  3. School holidays: In the summer, there is a six-week “zomervakantie,” and in the winter, there is a two-week “kerstvakantie.” Additionally, schools plan holidays for:
    • May (meivakantie),
    • autumn (herfstvakantie), and
    • spring (voorjaarsvakantie, carnavalsvakantie, or krokusvakantie).

photo by Millis MA:

Photo by IamExpat:

Prohibition of discrimination: Discrimination is against the law in the Netherlands, and everyone has the right to be treated equally. Because of its significance, this right is protected by the Constitution. It is against the law to discriminate in the Netherlands, as stipulated in Article 1 of the Constitution, in situations involving equal circumstances.

Grounds of Discrimination: In total, the following are the grounds for discrimination that are outlined in Dutch law:

  • Race;
  • Religion;
  • Age;
  • Sex;
  • Belief;
  • Nationality;
  • Homosexuality or heterosexuality;
  • Impairment or persistent illness;
  • Hours of operation (whether full- or part-time);
  • Opinion on politics;
  • Social standing;
  • Type of agreement (temporary or long-term).

Discrimination based on any one or more of the aforementioned grounds is outlawed by a number of statutory provisions.These, in addition to Article 1 of the Constitution, include:

  • the Equal Treatment Act (Algemene Wet Gelijke Behandeling): Covers discrimination in the Netherlands. This framework is based on a directive from the European Union that protects people based on their religion, personal beliefs, political opinions, sex, nationality, sexual orientation, and civil status.
  • the Equal Treatment of Disabled and Chronically Ill People Act; The right to be treated equally applies to all aspects of education, including examinations, lectures, internships, information about career options, and access to education.
  • the Equal Treatment in Employment (Age Discrimination) Act; Regardless of age, equal treatment in employment, occupation, and vocational education.
  • the Equal Treatment (Men and Women) Act. Equal treatment and opportunities for all

Photo by Diario de Navarra: