The right to be consulted and right of consent
The crux of the Works Councils Act (WOR in Dutch) is the right of the works council to be consulted and the right of consent concerning proposed decisions on certain company matters. The right to be consulted applies for example if there are plans for a merger or acquisition, a reorganisation or a major investment. The right of consent applies for instance to decisions to adopt, amend or withdraw remuneration or job evaluation systems, policies regarding working conditions, sickness absence or rehabilitation, and job appraisal schemes.
The employer must give the works council the opportunity to exercise these rights. If it does not do so, or does not do this correctly, the works council may be able to have a decision reversed, or to bring matters to a standstill for a substantial length of time.
In addition to the above topics, our lawyers are called upon to assist in a range of employee partici-pation issues, including the works council’s right of initiative, the works agreement, the duty of con-fidentiality, setting up a works council, elections, the staff representative body, the right to infor-mation and the appointment and dismissal of directors.
Employee participation law operates at the interface between employment law and corporate law. That is why our lawyers collaborate intensively with the Corporate Law team when a merger or ac-quisition is involved.
If problems arise in the employer’s dealings with the works council, this can have far-reaching re-percussions and spoil the workplace climate. Our lawyers are fully aware of this and give strategic advice on preparing for and implementing employee participation processes.