Let it snow! Let it snow!

We have been dealing with cold air coming from the polar region since this week, in other words: winter weather is on the way! Weather experts claim that the omens for a white Christmas are promising. The nice thing about a white Christmas is that everyone can build his or her own Olaf on the street, however, such weather conditions can also interfere with certain work to be carried out. It is expected that it will happen more often that you cannot go to or work due to unworkable weather and climate change plays a bigger role. Since January 2020, a new regulation called ‘unworkable weather’ has entered into force in the Netherlands.

Regulation

If an extraordinary natural circumstance (e.g., frost, snow and excessive rainfall causing flooding) occurs AND it meets the other conditions described in the regulation, an employer may be exempted from the wage payment obligation after the expiration of a number of waiting days.

Notification

As an employer, as of January 1, 2020, you must submit a daily notification to the UWV of any day on which extraordinary natural circumstances occur that prevent your employees from performing their work in the office or outside activities. A notification must be made by 10:00 a.m. on the day the employees are unable to work.

Conditions

The employer must have done everything possible to prevent the work from having to be stopped. In addition, these conditions apply:

  • The employee cannot work only because of unworkable weather. Therefore, there are no other reasons why he cannot work.
  • The employee cannot work at least 5 hours per week. Does he normally work less than 10 hours per week? Then he must be able to work at least half of his hours per week.
  • The unworkable weather lasts longer than the number of waiting days that apply.
  • The employer is no longer obliged to continue paying wages during the period of unworkable weather.

Note: If the above conditions are not met, you as the employer are responsible for continuing to pay your employees’ wages.

Waiting days

In case of exceptional natural circumstances, 2 waiting days per winter season apply this is from November 1 to March 31. In case of excessive rainfall, 19 waiting days per calendar year apply. You pay the wages to the employees.

What if it takes longer than the number of waiting days?
Then you can apply for unemployment benefits for your employees. This should be done within 26 weeks after the first day that you do not have to pay the wages yourself.

Adjust CLA

If, as an employer, you want to make use of this scheme, an article about this must be included in your collective agreement. In addition, as of November 1, 2020, your collective bargaining agreement must state in black and white what weather conditions apply.

What if you have an employee who does not work under 1 employer?
You must then report the hours worked by the employee with the other employer(s) to the UWV.

Which days do not count?

  • public holidays;
  • special leave
  • rest days;
  • non-working hours and scheduled days off;
  • vacations, leave days and mandatory days off;
  • already established ‘extra leave days’ for older employees;
  • days when your employee is in detention.

Payroll employees

Since 1 January 2020, employees with a payroll agreement have the same employment conditions as the other employees within the organisation (Wet arbeidsmarkt in balans). If your employee receives WW benefit due to unworkable weather and he also works for another employer (a second employer), the employee must report the hours he worked for the other employer to the UWV himself. The employee does this by filling in the form on the UWV website.

Not for temporary employees

The regulation on unworkable weather does not apply to temporary workers, according to the NBBU.
A specific arrangement must be included in the temporary employment agreement and that is not currently the case. NBBU is currently in talks with the trade unions to include such a provision in the collective agreement as soon as possible.

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

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