University for national and world economy
Flexible forms of employment in the Netherlands
By Ivan Valentinov Parvanov
Prof. Krastyo Petkov
Table of Contents
II. Types of Flexible Employment
III. The Legal framework for Flexible
Forms of Employment
IV. Demographic Structure of people
Involved in Flexible forms of
V. The Nature of the Work, Carried
Out by Those in Non-standard
VI. Pros and Cons of Flexibilization
Within the European labour markets, there has been a growing emergence of so-called non-typical or flexible forms of work, which deviate from ‘standard’ employment contracts. The need for flexible employment arrangements has been underlined on several occasions. Developing these forms of work is considered necessary for achieving economic growth through the adaptation of business strategies and productivity to globalised markets and economies. The existence and development of different forms of work have been repeatedly acknowledged by the European institutions. In its Green Paper on modernising labour law of November 2006, the European Commission noted that: ‘Rapid technological progress as well as globalisation have fundamentally changed European labour markets. Fixed-term contracts, part-time work, on-call and zero hours contracts, hiring through temporary employment agencies and freelance contracts have become an established feature of the European labour market, accounting for 25% of the workforce’. As of 2007 this figure has been 44% for the Netherlands. Flexible forms of employment allow employers a flexibility margin to deal with fluctuations in demand, providing for the possibility of speedy and efficient deployment of rightly skilled workers for periods when orders diverge from‘normal’. Companies cannot step out of the business cycle and it is evident that fluctuations and shocks cannot be predicted. A flexible workforce is a key enabler in being responsive and successful in this environment. Manufacturers can achieve the flexibility they need through cooperation with their employees. Fluctuations and structural changes have to be managed between employers and employees and a wide variety of tools need to be available to this end. Companies use a range of practices to achieve day-to-day flexibility, the particular mix of which will vary depending on factors such as their market or size. Ultimately, anticipation and regulation cannot control for uncertainties and market fluctuations. Therefore, a regulatory environment which facilitates company flexibility rather than inhibits it by imposing a one-sizefits- all approach is required to maintain a competitive industry in Europe.
II. Types of Flexible Forms of Employment
| Workers are contracted to work less than standard, basic, full-time hours.
| Workers have the freedom to work in any way they choose outside a set core of hours determined by the employer.
| Staggered hours
| Workers have different start, finish and break times, allowing a business to open longer hours.
| Compressed working hours
| Workers can cover their standard working hours in fewer working days.
| Job sharing
| One full-time job is split between two workers who agree the hours between them.
| Shift swapping
| Workers arrange shifts among themselves, provided all required shifts are covered.
| Self rostering
| Workers nominate the shifts they'd prefer, leaving the employer to compile shift patterns matching their individual preferences while covering all required shifts.
| Time off in lieu
| Workers take time off to compensate for extra hours worked.
| Term-time working
| A worker remains on a permanent contract but can take paid/unpaid leave during school holidays.
| Annual hours
| Workers' contracted hours are calculated over a year. While the majority of...
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