General information about the SER and the Works Councils Act

In general, every profit or nonprofit, private or government enterprise in the Netherlands with 50 employees or more is legally obliged to set up a Works Council.

Some of these enterprises or firms may be entitled to exemption from this rule, and must apply for that exemption. The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) is responsible for deciding whether to grant an exemption.

The SER helps to enforce the Works Councils Act (Wet op de ondernemingsraden).

The SER has published an English-language version of its ‘Voorbeeldreglement voor ondernemingsraden’ , under the title ‘Model Rules of Procedure for Works Councils’. The aim of this English translation is to make it easier for Dutch branches of foreign companies to set up a Works Council, specifically by providing them with a tool for drawing up appropriate Rules of Procedure.

The ‘Voorbeeldreglement voor ondernemingsraden’ was originally published in Dutch in 1984. In recent years, however, there has been increasing demand for an English version, particularly from those foreign companies operating in the Netherlands who are required to have a Works Council. The new publication is designed to meet this demand by providing staff and management of these organisations with an English translation of the Model Rules of Procedure. It follows the most recently published Dutch text of the Model Rules, which dates from 2015.