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Flexible employment relationships

In practice, there is still a need for less traditional forms of employment than the indefinite contract

In practice, there is still a need for less traditional forms of employment than the indefinite contract, with a fixed number of hours. Think of on-call contracts, fixed-term employment contracts, agency work employment contracts, payrolling and self-employed workers. Valegis can advise you on all these forms of employment.

On-call contract

The law defines an on-call contract as the agreement whereby:

  • the amount of work is not fixed as one number of hours per unit of time of:

– not more than one month; or

– not more than one year and the employee’s right to wages is spread evenly over that unit of time; or

  • the employee is not entitled to wages if he has not worked.

0-hour and min/max contracts are included. In case of doubt, contact one of Valegis’ employment law specialists.

If there is an on-call contract, an employer must call the on-call worker at least four days in advance. If you do not comply, the employee does not have to come to work. In case of a CLA, this on-call time can be shortened to 24 hours.

If you subsequently withdraw the call within four days, the on-call employee retains the right to wages for the period for which he was called. Without the on-call employee working, you will still have to pay wages.

“Each time the on-call contract has lasted one year”, the on-call employer is obliged to make the on-call employee an offer for an employment contract for the average number of hours he has worked in the previous year. Again, if you do not meet this obligation, the on-call employee is entitled to wages for the average number of hours worked.

Agency work employment contract

Another form of flexible employment is the agency work employment contract. This contract is characterised by an agency clause: the contract ends by operation of law if the hirer terminates the contract with the work agency. An agency clause may be agreed upon in the first 26 weeks, via a CLA this period may be extended to a maximum of 78 weeks.

In the case of an agency work employment contract, the chain rule (how many fixed-term employment contracts in how many years) only starts after 26 weeks. This period may also be extended via a CLA to a maximum of 78 weeks.

As soon as the chain rule applies, six fixed-term employment contracts may be concluded for a period of four years. Outside of the agency work employment situation, that is three fixed-term employment contracts in three years.

Finally, the CLA may exclude the obligation to continue to pay wages during the first 78 weeks, whereas outside of the agency work employment situation this is 26 weeks.


A special form of agency work employment is the payroll contract. If there is a payroll contract, as an employer you cannot make use of the lighter employment law regime for the “general” agency work employment contract as set out above. The law defines the payroll contract as the agency work employment contract:

– without an allocation function, i.e.: the payroll employer does not match supply and demand of labour;

– the employee may only work for another client with the consent of the hirer.

If there is a payroll contract, the payroll employee is entitled to equal terms of employment: the Netherlands Posting of Workers by Intermediaries Act (Waadi) stipulates that the payroll employee is entitled to the same primary and secondary terms of employment as employees of the hirer, including an ‘adequate’ pension scheme. This pension obligation takes effect on January 1st , 2021.

Furthermore, in the case of reorganisations, payroll employees must be treated as own employees, for example whilst reflecting the composition of the workforce.

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