Image: Nino Maissouradze

What you need to know about agency work

Flexible tasks, a higher salary, perks and perhaps even a lease car: working through an employment agency sounds attractive, but is it? Five questions about the pluses and minuses.

1. Where does that higher monthly salary come from?

The school pays. This does not only apply to the costs of the mediation and services of the employment agency, but also to everything that is stated on your pay slip. Your bank account will receive more in some months than a colleague with a similar appointment, but that difference actually comes out of your own pocket. More money means fewer rights. For example, if a thirteenth month is paid to your colleagues in paid employment, you will most likely not receive it. In the event of unemployment, your unemployment benefit is shorter and possibly lower, because you cannot rely on extra-statutory schemes. Your pension scheme in the fund for temporary workers is less favorable than the ABP pension. When you're young, you may prefer quick money now, rather than security later. Oh, and that lease car: there is a tax addition for private use. Part of the value of the car will end up in your next tax bill and that means paying extra to the Minister of Finance.

'More money means fewer rights'

2. How is the relationship with my team?

You don't have to go to all the meetings and you don't have sessions about a new school plan or the switch to another method. As a temporary worker, teaching is completely your core task again and some teachers are extremely happy with that. Should you stay longer than a few weeks for sick leave, the school will inevitably see you more as part of the team with mutual expectations of peer behavior. At a certain point, things like parent evenings, reports and advice will arrive. To do that job well, you need contact with your team. Avoiding meetings altogether is really not an option with a longer temporary employment contract.

3. Can I actually choose?

Given the teacher shortage, you would think that the red carpet would be explained for every education employee, but that is disappointing. Schools screen with gloomy prospects to avoid permanent employment as much as possible. In that view, starting in the 'flexible layer' is a stepping stone towards a permanent contract in the distant future. You can choose to follow that path or make other demands.
In addition to a contract through an employment agency or secondment, an 'ordinary' temporary employment contract is also possible. Such an agreement with an end date is logical, especially in the case of replacement due to a long-term illness or pregnancy. Schools that always hire part of their staff through an employment agency have now noticed that miracles do not happen there either when it comes to the availability of people, flexibility of deployment and costs.
Even if you opt for a temporary employment contract, you can sell your skin dearly. National agreements often state that it is possible to deviate from the standard if the temporary worker benefits from this. Whatever the school or the employment agency claims about collective agreements and protocols, if they want to treat you better than the basic standard, that is allowed. It is not crazy to formulate your wishes before you sign, you can negotiate.

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4. And if I don't agree with something, then what?

Various collective labor agreements state that the same terms and conditions of employment must apply to temporary employees such as temporary workers as for salaried employees. In practice, this is never entirely successful: it is often complicated from a legal point of view to enforce matters, which means that a deviation or violation is quickly invisible to the teacher. If you do see that something is not right, it is difficult to get it right. If you ask difficult questions, you will soon notice that 'suddenly, unfortunately' there is no more work. It is very easy for the employer to terminate a temporary employment contract. As a teacher you have a certain degree of professional autonomy within the relationship of authority with your team and school leader. This space differs per school. Your temporary colleagues can say more about it.

5. Which employment agencies can I sign with with confidence?

Never sign without going through your contract with someone who knows more about it. So-called cowboy agencies are active in this market that promise mountains of gold without 'delivery'. Large temporary employment organizations such as Randstad, Roler and Monday have a large order portfolio because various school boards have put a bulk of temporary work on the market through a tender. However, their offer can also differ per school, so let yourself be advised. If you are a member of the AOb, it can examine a contract proposal within a few days.

Disclaimer: no rights can be derived from the above answers and tips. Individual advice is necessary for an assessment of the concrete legal position. January can contact the AOb report via info@aob.nl or 030 2989599.

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