New Dutch laws in effect from July 1, 2015
On the first of July 2015 a raft of Dutch legislative changes came into effect. Ranging from Dutch employment conditions to mortgage regulations, here is an overview of the main changes to the legal system that are now in force:
Employment and income
Changes for employment and income include:
› Introduction of job transition allowance
The new transition payment (transitievergoeding) replaces the severance payment (ontslagvergoeding) for workers who are made redundant after two or more years with the same employer and is intended to help people bridge the period between jobs.
This transition payment (separate from unemployment benefits) can be up to a total value of 75.000 euros or one year’s salary and is also available for employees whose temporary contracts are not renewed after a period of two years.
› Permanent contract after two years
Employees who continue to work for the same employer for two years or more are entitled to a permanent contract rather than a temporary contract. Previously employers were not obliged to offer a permanent contract until three years had elapsed.
› Obligation to work after six months
› Income while on WW benefits
People who do work in conjunction with their WW benefit will be entitled keep 30 per cent of their gross earnings. This revison has the aim of encouraging more benefit recipients to pursue full-time work.
› Minimum salary raised
The minimum salary for full-time workers aged 23 and older has been raised to 1.507,80 euros gross per month, or 8,70 euros gross per hour. The minimum youth salary has also been raised.
› Care leave expanded
Employees who are unable to work because they need to take care of a severely sick housemate, friend or neighbour will be able to request care leave from their employer.
Previously employees were only eligible for care leave to support their child, partner or parent with a life-threatening illness.
› Undeclared tax penalties increase
The Dutch tax office (Belastingdienst) has increased the penalty for voluntarily declaring hidden income, wealth or inheritance from 30 to 60 per cent. Hidden income that is discovered by the Belastingdienst risks a fine of 300 per cent.
Property and housing
The main changes in the field of property and housing include:
› Mortgage guarantee (NHG) reduced
The National Mortage guarantee (Nationale Hypotheekgarantie intended to cover the residual debt if a house is sold at a loss) for mortgages in the Netherlands has been reduced from 265.000 to 245.000 euros.
In previous years the amount was set higher to stimulate the housing market. The NHG will be further reduced in 2016 to 225.000 euros.
› Social housing rent increase
Rent for Dutch social housing (rent-controlled properties) is permitted to increase by 2,5 per cent.
As rent is income dependent, tenants with an annual income of more than 34.229 euros can expect a rent increase of up to 3 per cent, and tenants with an income of more than 43.786 euros may experience a rent increase of up to 5 per cent.
› Higher VAT on building construction
The value added tax (BTW) on building and construction has been raised from six per cent to 21 per cent meaning that it will be more expensive to renovate or build a house. It was previously lowered to stimulate the housing market during the financial crisis.
Additional legislation changes in other fields include:
› New laws for drones
Busineses that use drones must apply for a Remotely piloted aircraft system Operater Certificate, also known as a "ROC".
› Higher sentences for hackers
Punishments for cybercrime in the Netherlands have been increased. Hackers who commit severe damage to essential digital networks, for example, can face up to five years in prison.
The maximum prison sentence for destroying digital data has been increased from one to two years.
› Referendum possible with 300.000 signatures
Citizens who disagree with draft legislation or other governmental issues can request an advisory or consultative referendum if they collect 300.000 signatures. The outcome of the referendum, however, is not binding.