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SER: 'Permanent work deserves a permanent contract'

Permanent jobs that are the norm again and the drastic curtailment of flex contracts. The labor market must provide employees with more security to combat increasing inequality, the Social and Economic Council (SER) recently advised the outgoing cabinet. Yesterday evening, the Members' Parliament of the FNV agreed with this advice.

On June 2, the SER released a advice with a vision for the future of the labor market. The SER is an independent advisory body comprising entrepreneurs, employees and independent experts and publishes advice to the government on socio-economic policy. The council is now advising substantial investments. 'Broad prosperity: in security of work and income', the report states. Changes in the labor market are desperately needed, because the council sees growing inequality and 'social discontent'.


For example, the SER wants first and foremost that employees who perform structural work also receive a permanent contract. 'In this way you contribute to the sustainable employability and security of people, the development of human capital, the increase in labor productivity and the support for collective labor agreements, according to the experts.

SER advice: 'Permanent contracts contribute to sustainable employability and security, the development of human capital, increasing labor productivity and support for collective labor agreements'

In addition, temporary employment contracts, temporary contracts and self-employment schemes must be curtailed so that the labor market offers employees more security. There is no longer any competition on terms of employment. The zero-hours contract must disappear completely. Employees often do not know how many hours they are going to work and what income they can expect that month. Instead, there must be a basic contract that guarantees employees what they can expect in terms of income, for example in three months' time.

“This is a big step forward,” says Jim van Emden, AOb-policy officer social security. “It is also important that all parties agree that there should be no waterbed effect. So that a measure is taken against flex, that no other constructions arise elsewhere.” This advice could put an end to the 'race to the bottom', hopes the AOb-collaborator. Van Emden: “It is very positive and a breakthrough that there is now a recommendation in which permanent work is seen as the norm. The unions have been saying this for years, but the good thing is that employers now recognize this.”

'This is a big step forward'

Pole and perk

The advice contains all kinds of measures to undo the incentives to offer flexible contracts. For example, the SER wants to phase out the tax benefits for self-employed workers and employers. Self-employed persons must insure themselves against incapacity for work and those who earn less than 35 euros per hour can enforce in court that they are employed as employees. Van Emden: “It is then up to the employer to prove the contrary.”

The SER wants to put an end to uncertain contracts. It is only allowed in case of illness replacements and peak loads. However, temporary workers must then have exactly the same employment conditions as their salaried colleagues from day one, such as a pension in line with the market and the same training. “The council also argues that temporary workers should only be allowed a temporary employment contract for three years, just like with regular contracts. It is now 5,5 years,” says Van Emden. “And the council would like to see the six-month interruption period disappear. These are very big steps.”


Because also in education, according to AOb-chief executive and teacher Frans Kim van Strien, an 'addiction' to flex contracts. The examples 'fly around her ears'. Van Strien: “The colleague who has been working on a new temporary contract for many years. Always with different boards, of course, otherwise it is not allowed. Or the colleague who is not allowed to stay at her school after two temporary contracts, but sees her job again the next month in a job board. Again temporarily, of course.” According to the teacher, it increases the teacher shortage and she herself also prefers to have colleagues in permanent employment. “Each time changing faces is bad for continuity within your team and ultimately also for the quality of education.”

'Always changing faces is bad for continuity within your team'


Van Emden believes the agreement is a victory for the employees. “This advisory report contains many measures that the unions have been advocating for a long time. The only concern is the second year of illness for employees. In the proposal, employees must reintegrate with another employer during the second year of illness. Sick employees may become dependent on insurers that mainly focus on limiting claims, which will increase the pressure on this vulnerable group of employees. Payment and assessment thus fall into the same hand.”

Reports from the SER are important, although they remain an advice to the cabinet. The question now is which coalition will be formed. In any case, the unions and employers have agreed to the agreement. Yesterday the FNV was in favor of a large majority. Van Emden: “It remains to be seen how this will be worked out in collective labor agreements at all decentralized tables. In any case, there can be no misunderstanding about the spirit of this agreement.”

Your rights and obligations under the law and the collective labor agreement for education
De AOb wants teaching staff to have a permanent contract as much as possible. Yet there are many colleagues who have a temporary contract. So what should you pay attention to?

  • Make sure you are aware of your legal position. Look in your collective agreement for this. Sometimes there are additional arrangements at your school when a permanent contract is given. Please check with the PMR.
  • Visit the site www.benchmarkpovo.nl if you work in primary or secondary education and look at the relationship between permanent and temporary contracts. It is possible to compare the figures of your own school board with other boards. This can help you in the conversation about this. Particularly interesting for employee participation councils. On the basis of this, they can denounce flex, substantiated with the right of initiative.
  • Check regularly with your manager which conditions you must meet in order to be eligible for a permanent contract. Record this in writing.
  • Have you been approached by a secondment agency with attractive incentives, such as a higher scaling, lease car or a travel allowance? Know that you often fall under the collective labor agreement for temporary workers and receive a worse pension and no year-end bonus or paid parental leave. You are also not entitled to extra-statutory schemes in the event of illness and unemployment.

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