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Netherlands – Likely delay to employment agency registration requirement

23 April 2012

Earlier this year the Dutch Government decided that employment agencies in the Netherlands have to be registered in the trade register (Handelsregister) of the Chamber of Commerce as a measure to prevent fraud and illegal practices in the Dutch staffing industry. But now reports indicate that this registration may be delayed and may not become effective as of 1 May 2012 as members of the Senate are still awaiting answers to their parliamentary questions regarding this matter.

It is not the first time that this registration requirement for employment agencies has been postponed. Initially, it should have been enforced on 1 January 2012, then it was delayed to 1 April and finally to May. These deferrals have been caused by various delays in the Dutch Lower House and now in the Senate, which has raised questions regarding the registration requirement. A reply can be expected within four weeks and hence The Ministry of Social Affairs now assumes that the start date for registration will be 1 July 2012.

Failure to register in the trade register will result in high fines as temporary agencies will have to pay €12,000 per employee although figures can double and triple if agencies do not comply with this rule.

This new registration requirement aims to reduce the number of rogue agencies that underpay workers or operate illegally. It will make the owner of an employment agency visible and detect what activities are performed in an employment agency. It will also increase transparency over whether staffing firms comply with all points of collective labour agreements that ensure protection of temporary workers.

It was only last week when the Social Affairs Inspectorate made an arrest, suspecting the 40-year-old head of an employment agency of exploiting agency workers by significantly underpaying staff. The suspect, who is also accused of human trafficking, will remain in custody as ruled by a judge in Rotterdam last Friday.

To read about the latest legal developments in Europe affecting temporary staffing agencies and buyers of the contingent workforce, click here

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