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Legal changes in the Netherlands - good news for lawyers

Posted by: Inez Diepenbach 08/08/16
Last month was certainly a period of change for the legal field in the Netherlands. At the beginning of July, contract professionals in the country faced potentially hefty fines as the country moved to the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) – an agreement which sees the automatic exchange of tax information across borders.

While the direct impact of this is yet to be reported, we certainly expect to see greater demand for legal expertise both in-house and across firms as employers seek to support their interim talent. And given the potentially serious financial implications, many businesses are also seeking reassurances that they will not also be impacted by the CRS.

July also saw the introduction of a new law designed to enable Dutch staff to report workplace misconduct. Coined the ‘Whistleblowers’ Centre Act (34105/7) this new regulation outlines changes to employer’s reporting obligations along with the establishment of a public body that will provide guidance and investigate any wrongdoing.

Companies affected by this new legislation must now formulate official policies that allow employees to report workplace breaches including corruption and unsafe working practices.

The supporting body – The Whistleblowers’ Advice Centre – has been set up alongside this regulation to not only investigate cases brought against organisations, but also provide legal protection for employees.

While there is an ‘unofficial grace period’, labour policy advisor at the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions, Rik van Steenbergen, has publically stated that a lack of implementation of the required policies now may still entail a risk for companies if an employee is unable to report wrongdoing internally due to a lack of reporting procedures. As a result, we certainly expect to see greater demand for specialist employment lawyers in the Netherlands as organisations look to mitigate any potential risks.

Lastly, we see a significant increase in new legal hires in teams; companies are allocating budget for additional legal team members, which is a very positive trend.
Tagged In: Europe
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