Hiring on-call workers with a min-max contract

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A min-max contract is an employment contract for on-call workers. You and your employee determine the minimum and maximum number of on-call hours together. You always have to pay the minimum number of hours.

1. Know the rules for on-call workers

The same rules and regulations that apply to other employment contracts also apply to the min-max contract (in Dutch). For instance:

  • advance notification of a call
  • the right to wages when a call is canceled
  • the right to an offer of a fixed-hours contract after 12 months of on-call work

Read the general rules for on-call workers.

2. Comply with the employment conditions

A min-max contract is an employment agreement. It details the agreement you have made with your employee:

An on-call worker is entitled to the same working conditions as your other employees.

3. Clearly specify the number of on-call hours

A min-max contract is a fixed or temporary contract for a minimum number of hours per week, month, or year. Those are the guaranteed hours. You always pay out these hours. You also determine the maximum number of hours for which you can call your employee. Your employee has to work up to the agreed maximum number of on-call hours.

4. Pay for the number of hours

Pay your on-call worker for the total number of hours worked.

  • You must always pay your on-call worker for at least the guaranteed or minimum number of hours laid down in the contract. Even if you have not called them in to work.
  • You also have to pay them for the hours they have worked on top of the minimum number of hours.
  • Do you call your employee for a number of hours and fail to cancel or change the appointment in time? Then you must pay them for those hours as well. This only applies for the first 6 months.

5. Keep in mind the call period

You have to notify your on-call worker of a call to work at least 4 days in advance. If you cancel a call or change the working hours less than 4 days before the date, your on-call worker is entitled to wages over the hours they were called for.

Do you call for work less than 4 days in advance? Then your on-call employee does not have to come to work. A collective labour agreement (CAO) may contain agreements on a shorter on-call period. For example, 1 day instead of 4 days.

6. Continued payment of wages after 6 months

After 6 months, the continued payment of wages obligation comes into force. This means your on-call worker is entitled to payment if you call them, but they cannot do the work because of something that is your resonsibility. For example, machinery is broken or an order is canceled.

The collective labour agreement (cao) may contain the possibility of an extension to the 6 month period. But this only applies if the work is occasional and has no set structure. For instance, if you need to replace an employee due to illness. In that case the on-call worker is entitled to the wages for the hours they are called for (taking into account the minimum number of hours). Check these conditions in your collective labour agreement.

7. Pay for 3 hours’ work for every call

You have to pay your on-call worker 3 hours’ wages for every call. Even if their services were only required for 1 or 2 hours. Unless:

  • You have chosen a contract for 15 hours or less per week, and you have not agreed on fixed working hours.
  • There is a pre-agreement (voorovereenkomst, in Dutch) in place where the agreement only applies when the on-call worker accepts the assignment

8. Continued payment of wages during illness

Your on-call worker is entitled to continued payment of wages during illness. If your employee is under a min-max contract, you pay them 70% of the guaranteed hours. If that amount is less than the minimum wage, you have to pay the minimum wage. If the contract expires, your employee can apply for social benefits from the Employment Insurance Agency UWV.

9. Holiday entitlement

Your employee with a min-max contract is entitled to days off and a holiday allowance. You can calculate the number of days off by multiplying the average number of hours worked per week by 4. For example: if your on-call worker works 25 hours per week, they are entitled to 100 hours holiday. A CAO may contain other agreements on the accrual of holiday days.

10. Keep track of your on-call worker’s hours

If your on-call worker works overtime on a structural basis, they can demand that you increase the number of fixed hours in the min-max contract. This is called Legal Presumption of Employment Duration (rechtsvermoeden van arbeidsomvang, in Dutch). The average number of hours worked per month in the last 3 months counts as the new number of fixed hours for the contract. They may then ask you to change their min-max contract to one with a higher number of hours per week.

Do you not want to change the contract? Then you must be able to prove that the need for overtime was a temporary situation. For example, with a written agreement or a shift roster showing it was a peak period.

11. Comply with the rules for dismissal

You are not allowed to terminate a min-max contract just like that. If you want to dismiss your worker, you must observe these rules:

  • A temporary min-max contract ends at the appointed date.
  • To end a permanent employment contract, you must observe the rules for transition payment, valid grounds, etc. See Rijksoverheid (in Dutch).

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