Diversity and inclusivity at work

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

Diversity in the workplace is good for your employees and for your company. According to research, creativity, productivity, and job satisfaction go up among the workforce. Read here what you can do to encourage diversity. And which subsidies are available to be more inclusive as a business.

What is diversity and inclusivity?

Diversity is about the differences between people. Such as gender, age, language, skin colour, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and cultural background. But also neurodiversity (where the brain processes information differently from most people).

Inclusivity is about managing these differences well. Doing business inclusively gives everyone equal opportunities to participate and contribute.

Benefits of diversity in the workplace

If your company is inclusive, it means that everyone can participate. A diverse and inclusive team is often more productive due to different skills and experiences. Read more about the meaning of diversity and inclusivity.

Equal opportunity

You must treat all your employees the same. For example, you may not discriminate against them, and you must reward your employees in the same way. You may not discourage people from applying for a job vacancy. Ensure equal treatment during the application. For example, you should not put in a job posting that you are looking for a woman. Ensure equal treatment during the application process.

Laws on diversity and inclusivity

There are several laws to encourage diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.

The Participation Act is intended to ensure that people with an occupational disability or illness have a greater chance of finding a job. Do you employ an employee with an occupational disability? Then you can get support from the UWV or your municipality. For example, help with modifying a workplace and guidance in the workplace.

Do you employ more than 25 employees? Then the job agreement applies. You must hire people with an occupational disability. Smaller businesses may do so voluntarily. Learn more about how to get in contact with potential employees covered by the job agreement (in Dutch).

Read more about the Participation Act and the job agreement.

Since January 2022, listed companies have been obliged to ensure a better distribution between men and women in top positions. For example, at least 1 in 3 members of the Supervisory Board (SB) must be female. And you need to make a plan to get more women into leadership positions.

Read more about the amendment to the law for more women in top positions (in Dutch).

Reducing wage costs with subsidies and allowances

For certain employees, you can receive subsidies and allowances and so reduce labour costs. For example, if you hire someone on benefits who falls under the job agreement, you can apply for Labour Costs Compensation (Loonkostenvoordeel, LKV) for them. For example, older employees, or employees with an occupational disability.

You can also apply for a labour cost subsidy through your municipality for employees who fall under the Participation Act. Or apply for a wage dispensation from UWV for employees with a Wajong benefit, if their productivity level is lower than other employees.

Read more about subsidies and allowances for wage costs.

Rules for a safe and healthy workplace for specific employees

You are responsible for a safe and healthy work environment. To ensure that all employees can do their job, there are special rules for certain employees that are laid down in the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet). For example, consider what an older employee can handle. Or modify the workplace for an employee with a disability.

Read more about the working conditions rules for specific employees.

Offer a trial placement

You can offer an unpaid trial placement to someone who is partially disabled. The candidate will then keep their benefit but can start working for your company. Are you satisfied with the trial placement? Then you can hire the candidate without further probation.

A condition is that you intend to offer the employee an employment contract of at least 6 months. UWV must give permission for a trial placement.

Read more about the conditions for a trial placement.

Insight into the cultural diversity in your company

The government encourages cultural diversity in the workplace. Would you like to know more about the cultural diversity within your company? At the request of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW), Statistics Netherlands (CBS) has developed the Cultural Diversity Barometer to measure this. And also to compare cultural diversity with national or regional statistics.

The barometer can be used by companies with more than 250 employees. This is to protect employee privacy. Read more about the Cultural Diversity Barometer.

Several sector organisations have also created codes to improve diversity and inclusion within businesses. And make it clearer for employers. Check whether your sector also has a diversity and inclusion code.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK