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Netherlands - Labour inspectors announce tougher approach to violations

20 November 2012

Businesses and citizens that infringed the labour and social legislation rules will be dealt with more harshly according to Jan van den Bos, Inspector General, of the newly formed Ispectie SZW

Speaking on Monday at a press conference in The Hague, Van den Bos, announced that his focus is on addressing abuses and notorious offenders. Fines are being increased from 1 January 2013 from €8,000 to €12,000 per employee for the employers of illegal workers. Seven years ago, the penalty for this offense was €900. For repeat offenders, their businesses may be shut down for a period of up to three months or their assets seized.

A key priority for the Inspectorate in 2013 is tackling rogue agencies. The top 100 most unscrupulous agencies are to be identified and prosecuted.

The Inspectorate SZW is a combination of the organisations and activities of the former Labour Inspectorate, the Work and Income Inspectorate and the Social and Intelligence Investigation Service of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.  It oversees labour laws, fights fraud, labour exploitation and organized crime and examines the operation of the social security system. The organization employs over 1,100 employees.  

The Inspectorates’ work is 'risk-based'. It delves especially in sectors where there is risk of abuse and where there are employees who do not speak for themselves. These tend to be sectors where competition is fierce and where there may be a financial advantage in breaking the law. 

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