The Netherlands has become a very attractive destination for employees, including temporary workers. Therefore, more and more temp agencies decide to expand their activity to this country and register there. This article describes the most important issues related to setting up a temporary employment agency in the Netherlands.
1. Registration at the Chamber of Commerce
Setting up a temporary-work agency in the Netherlands requires the registration at the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel (KvK)). During registration, the applicant receives a Chamber of Commerce number. Then the tax authorities give him/her a VAT number.
The legal act defining the principles for employing temporary workers and functioning of temp agencies in the Netherlands is the Act of 14 May 1998 establishing the rules for the non-public provision of employment and labour services (the Act on the allocation labour force by intermediaries) (WAADI). It prohibits the use of the services offered by entities lending employees who aren’t registered in the Trade Register. According to Article 7a(1) and (2) of WAADI: It’s forbidden for anyone to put employees to work in the Netherlands otherwise than through a company or legal entity which is registered in the Trade Register, as referred to in Article 2 of the Commercial Register Act of 2007, and which has been found to perform or co-perform the activity of making workers available. It’s forbidden to anyone, as a hirer, to carry out work by employees who have been made available in breach of the first paragraph.
2. Legal form
As in Poland, the legal form in which the temporary employment agency is to operate in the Netherlands is extremely important. It determines the principles on which the entity will be liable for debts, whether start-up capital will be needed etc. It’s possible to choose one of the following forms of exercising an economic activity:
- Sole proprietorship – It’s an activity belonging to a specific natural person. It’s easy to set up. However, this form of conducting business has a very serious disadvantage – the sole trader is liable with all his/her assets (both corporate and private) for debts incurred in connection with the conducted economic activity.
- Vof (general partnership) – This form of exercising an activity is appropriate if several people want to conduct business together. Each associate should contribute capital to the company – it may be made in cash or in kind. The minimum capital isn’t required to set up a Vof. The associates take full responsibility for the company’s obligations.
- Bv (Private limited company) – It’s a legal entity. This type of company is characterized by the fact that it issues shares. Moreover, the company bears the risk of exercising an economic activity. On the other hand, the founders and/or owners aren’t personally liable for the company’s obligations.
If a temporary-work agency already operates on the Polish market, the legal form in which it runs in Poland determines the legal form in the Netherlands.
3. G account
A temporary employment agency operating on the Dutch market should have a G account, in addition to its company’s account. This is a special bank account into which the agency’s clients pay the provision for payroll tax and sales tax. The agency can’t freely dispose of the funds accumulated on the G account. Only payroll tax and sales tax can be paid from the G account. Moreover, the tax authorities have the right of lien on this account.
4. StiPP, bpfBouw and trade associations
A temporary employment agency which operates in the Netherlands should join Stichting Pensioenfonds voor Personeelsdiensten (StiPP). It deals with the implementation of pensions schemes in the temporary workers sector. Its tasks include guaranteeing temporary employees additional pension benefits, as well as implementing pension agreements concluded by the social partners.
The entity responsible for pensions in the construction sector is Stichting Bedrijfstakpensioenfonds voor de Bouwnijverheid (bpfBouw). The obligation to join bpfBouw applies to agencies that send employees to work in the following industries:
- construction and infrastructure,
- concrete mortars,
- natural stonemasonry,
- brick industry,
- finishing (plastering etc.),
- production of bituminous and plastic roofing,
However, participation in trade associations is optional. Temporary-work agencies may join: ABU or NBBU. Agencies that have joined one of the indicated associations are required to comply with the collective labour agreements in force in each association.
5. NEN 4400 certificate
There may be a situation in which a client request the temp agency to present a NEN 4400 certificate. This document informs clients that the temporary employment agency is a reliable and trustworthy counterparty, as well as that it fulfills its obligations.
The certificate has 3 variants:
- NEN 4400-1 – for temporary employment agencies in the Netherlands,
- NEN 4400-2 – for temp agencies from outside the Netherlands,
- NEN 4400-3 – for freelancers.
A temporary-work agency which wants to obtain the NEN 4400 certificate should undergo an audit. During it, it’s checked whether the agency fulfils the requirements concerning the correctness of, among others, payment of salaries, taxes, contributions, keeping of personal files. Audits must be repeated regularly.
6. SNA quality mark
The verification of compliance with NEN standards is guaranteed by Stichting Normering Arbeid (SNA). This marks informs that the agency operates in accordance with the regulations and in good faith.
The SNA was developed to reduce the risk of clients of the temp agency. According to the Dutch law, if the agency fails to fulfil its duties resulting from employment, its clients are liable for those obligations. However, entrepreneurs who employ workers of a temp agency with the SNA quality mark may be exempted from any liability to the tax authorities for unpaid payroll taxes and turnover tax.
Temporary-work agencies with the SNA quality mark are regularly controlled for carrying out the obligations resulting from employment. The checks are performed by an accredited inspection body.
The Netherlands is a country where collective labour agreements are very important in determining the conditions of employment and workers’ rights. Stichting Naleving CAO voor Uitzendkrachten (SNCU) provides information on the content of collective agreements. The tasks of this institution also include promoting compliance with collective labour agreements and supervising the application of their provisions. The SNCU also acts as an enforcement authority. If, during an inspection, the SNCU finds that the temporary work agency doesn’t respect the provisions of the agreement, the agency will be called upon to remedy the infringements detected. The investigation won’t be closed until all the weaknesses have been rectified.
It should be emphasized that the SNCU has created a notification point allowing temporary workers to make a complaint against temp agencies which don’t comply with the provisions of the agreements. On the basis of the complaint, the SNCU may initiate an investigation against an agency.
8. Polish regulations
A Polish entrepreneur who wants to start providing services involving the posting of temporary workers from Poland to the Netherlands should, in addition to registration in the KvK, obtain an entry in Poland in the National Register of Employment Agencies. The entry in the Register takes place at the request of the person concerned.
The completed application with attachments should be submitted to the voivodeship labour office or to the Office of the Marshall. The entry in the Register is made by the Marshall of the Voivodeship.
The Office enters the applicant into the register within 7 days of submitting the application. The applicant will receive a certificate of entry in the Register of Employment Agencies. If the request isn’t accepted, a decision to refuse entry in the Register is issued. If the entry in the register doesn’t take place within 14 days from the date of submitting the abovementioned application, it’s possible to start running an employment agency. The exception occurs when the Office invites the applicant to complete the request. In such a case, the 14-day period runs from the date on which the deficiencies are corrected.
9. Legal notice
The study is a work within the meaning of the Act of 4 February 1994 on Copyright and Related Rights (OJ 2006, No. 90, item 631, consolidated text, as amended). Publishing or reproducing this study or its part, quoting opinions, as well as disseminating in any other way the information contained therein without the written consent of Crede sp. z o.o. is prohibited.