Established in law by the 1950 Industrial Organisation Act (Wet op de bedrijfsorganisatie), the SER is the main advisory body to the Dutch government and the parliament on national and international social and economic policy. The SER is financed by industry and is wholly independent from the government. It represents the interests of trade unions and industry, advising the government (upon request or at its own initiative) on all major social and economic issues.
The SER also has an administrative role. This consists of monitoring commodity and industrial boards, which perform an important role in the Dutch economy. Industrial boards are responsible for representing the interests of particular branches of industry, and are made up of employers’ representatives and union representatives.
In addition, the SER helps the government to enforce the Works Councils Act (Wet op de ondernemingsraden).