Public servants to become employees

23/10 2014

If also the Upper House passes the legislative proposal regarding the Wet normalisering rechtspositie ambtenaren (Act on the Standardisation of the Legal Status of Public Servants), the equality of status of public servants and employees will be final. The Act is expected to enter into force on 2 January 2017. If you are a public sector employer, the following is relevant to your organisation.

The main consequences of the proposed equality of status of public servants and employees are:

  • the unilateral appointment and unilaterally adopted employment conditions will be replaced with an employment contract and the applicable collective agreement, if any; and
  • the protection under administrative law in the form of objection and appeal will be replaced by protection under private law via the subdistrict court judge or the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency).

Public servant status and the title ambtenaar (public servant) will remain. This is due to the specific nature of working for public authorities and serving the general interest. The Ambtenarenwet (Public Servants Acts) will remain in place and will regulate issues that specifically relate to public servant status, such as integrity requirements, the avoidance of conflicts of interest and the limitation of fundamental rights (e.g. the right to strike). The proposed act will not have any consequences for the employment conditions of public servants. Agreements in that regard can be made only in the consultations between employers and trade unions, which will have to negotiate on a collective employment agreement. Collective agreements will replace the current legal status regulations.

Public office holders (ministers, King’s Commissioners and mayors), members of the judiciary and the public prosecutor’s office, military personnel, defence personnel and the police are excluded from the equality of status.

Public servants who becomes employees will come under the WWZ (Work and Security Act). The WWZ will enter into force on 1 January 2014 for flexible employment contracts. The new dismissal law and the amended ketenregeling (provisions on the succession of fixed-term employment contracts) will be introduced as from 1 July 2015. The WWZ will involve drastic changes, particularly with regard to dismissal. It is important that your organisation is well aware of the new dismissal law and the changes that will in due time most likely also apply to your public servants. You can find more information on the WWZ and the upcoming changes on our website . L&A has the necessary expertise to advise and assist your organisation in the transition from public servant status to employment law. L&A also offers custom-made training.

Please contact our public service law specialist Hanneke Klinckhamers.