New legal position for civil servants

The government wants civil servants to have the same legal position as employees in the private sector. So changes are being made to the rules for dismissal and there will be a collective labour agreement for civil servants.

In February 2014 the House of Representatives approved plans to normalise the legal position of civil servants. The changes will not take effect immediately however, even if the Senate approves the plans too. Relevant legislation will first have to be amended and employers will also have to make changes in their organisations.

Employment contract instead of appointment

Civil servants are to have employment contracts, just like employees in the private sector. They will no longer be formally appointed to their positions. Collective labour agreements will replace legal status regulations. Civil servants will in future come under private labour law, including the rules on the termination of employment. That means that in the event of a dispute or dismissal, civil servants can no longer lodge an objection with their employer or an application for review with the administrative court. They will have to take their case to the civil courts instead.

Exceptions to new civil servants legislation

The new legislation will apply to the majority of current civil servants. It will also apply to new groups, like employees of:

  • De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB, the Dutch central bank);
  • Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB, Social Insurance Bank);
  • UWV (Employee Insurance Agency).

The legal position of some groups of civil servants will remain the same. They include:

  • employees of the police force and the Defence organisation;
  • judges and public prosecutors;
  • political officeholders: members of parliament, mayors and members of municipal executives.

Terms of employment remain unchanged

The terms of employment for civil servants will remain unchanged. The new legislation will not affect salaries, leave entitlements or end-of-year allowances. Employers and unions may, however, agree to change the terms of employment in new collective labour agreements.

Special status civil servants still applies

Government bodies serve the public interest. So the special rules for civil servants will continue to apply. These include:

  • the duty to observe confidentiality;
  • rules on ethical standards, such as the ban on accepting gifts;
  • reporting any outside activities.