Collective labour agreements (CAOs) are legally binding agreements between employers and employee representatives that set out the terms and conditions of employment. In the Netherlands, CAOs are widespread and cover a variety of industries, from healthcare to construction.
These agreements are negotiated by labour unions and employer organizations, and typically last for a specific period of time, such as one or two years. They are designed to ensure fair and consistent treatment of employees, and to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes between employers and employees.
One of the key features of CAOs in the Netherlands is the system of “sectoral bargaining”. This means that CAOs are negotiated at the industry level, rather than at the individual company level. As a result, collective bargaining agreements can cover a large number of employers and employees within a particular sector.
Another important aspect of CAOs in the Netherlands is the principle of “equal pay for equal work”. This means that employers are required to pay all employees performing the same job the same wage, regardless of their age, gender, or nationality.
CAOs in the Netherlands also typically cover a range of other employment-related issues, such as working hours, vacation time, sick pay, and pensions. They can also include provisions for training and career development, as well as mechanisms for resolving disputes or grievances.
Overall, CAOs play a crucial role in the Dutch labour market, helping to ensure that workers are treated fairly and that employers are able to compete on a level playing field. As such, they are an important aspect of the country`s social and economic fabric, and are likely to remain a central feature of the Dutch workplace for many years to come.