WAB compliance: challenge and opportunity

Preparing for compliance with the new labor legislation poses challenges as well as opportunities for HR departments. Automating and digitalising existing manual and analog processes not only simplifies WAB compliance, the gains in overall operational efficiency can actually reduce the total HR admin workload to below pre-WAB levels!

The WAB at a glance

Effective date: January 1, 2020

Applies to: All Dutch employers

Purpose: To encourage employers to hire more permanent employees by reducing the gap between permanent contracts and flexible employment

What is the WAB?

In May 2019, the Dutch Senate adopted legislation aimed at reducing the gap in legal protection and monetary differences between fixed- and indefinite-term employed employees. The Labor Market in Balance Act, or WAB (Wet Arbeidsmarkt in Balans), takes effect at the start of 2020 and mainly affects the areas of:

  • flexible employment
  • dismissal law
  • transition allowance
  • payrolling
  • on-call contracts

Challenge: changes to
work agreements

The new legislation impacts many types of employment contracts. One example is on-call contracts. On February 1, 2020, all employers will be required to offer a contract of a fixed number of work hours to employees who fall into one of the following two groups:

  • On-call workers who have been employed for twelve months on January 1, 2020
  • Employees with zero-hours or min/max contracts who have been employed for longer than twelve months on January 1, 2020

The number of work hours in the new contract is based on the hours for which the employee was entitled to wages during the previous twelve-month period. 

The employee has one month to accept the offer. If they turn the offer down, they can continue to work on a flexible hours basis. However, after twelve more months, the employer will once again be required to extend a new offer of fixed work hours based on the same criteria as before.

Opportunity: contracts automation

Digitalising agreements processes with workflows powered by electronic signatures can greatly simplify scenarios like the one described above. E-signing is an enabling technology that opens up automation opportunities by bridging the gap to 100% paperless HR operations. Obviously, the benefits extend far beyond achieving WAB compliance. 

A fully digital process eliminates numerous manual steps, from generating new contracts, to managing the signing process from start to finish, and finally to saving the completed agreements to a secure, searchable archive. 

In addition to eliminating paper, esign-driven workflows reduce data errors, cut lead times and simplify document archiving. The barrier to implementation is generally very low in terms of time and cost.

Scrive’s solution

Since 2010, Scrive has been transforming HR departments and recruitment teams with workflow solutions built on the principles of data quality and customer experience.
Managing agreements processes with Scrive eSign automates a number of steps:

  • Generate the agreement Templates for standard employment agreements eliminate document preparation time. With a few clicks, the electronic agreement is populated with data from the HR system and sent by email or SMS to the employee or candidate for signing.
  • Sign on any device The signing party can receive and sign the agreement anywhere, on any device, with authentication options for added security.
  • Monitor the signing process Status of the document is updated at every stage of the process: when it was received, when it was opened, when it was signed and returned.
  • Bulk signing When many employees need to sign the same type of agreement, bulk mailing functionality greatly reduces time and complexity. With the mailing list uploaded, it only takes a few clicks to generate all the agreements and send them to the recipients for signing.

To add security, signing parties can be required to authenticate themselves to open and view the document as well as at the signing stage. Authentication methods include SMS PIN and iDIN.

Example: managing a time-bound
contract offer

Returning to the scenario of the contract offer with a one-month acceptance deadline, the Scrive workflow engine can automatically manage the process compliantly. The electronic evidence that is gathered throughout the document lifecycle provides clarity around internal processes and may be crucial in the event of a dispute.

For example, a limit can be applied to the validity of the offered contract, and when the deadline expires, the contract will no longer be available for electronic signing. The employer will have detailed electronic evidence that the offer was extended in accordance with the law because the document’s event log will show when the contract was delivered to the employee, when they opened it and when it was withdrawn.

Conversely, if the employee signs the contract, even if they don’t sign until the last hour of the last day of the offer period, the exact time the signature was executed will be recorded and saved with the signed document, which is returned to the employer instantly. The digital process avoids any ambiguity due to mailing times and the need to rely on paper postmarks.

Legally binding and secure

Documents signed with Scrive meet all the standards for a legally-binding agreement. A detailed event log of every stage of the signing process is attached to every signed document before it is digitally sealed to protect it against tampering. If an agreement is ever subjected to a legal challenge, the evidence package and digital seal are crucial for demonstrating the legality of the signature and authenticity of the document.

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Scrive is committed to understanding our customers processes and requirements, adapting our solutions to meet their goals, and being continually responsive to their needs and challenges as they expand and grow with us. Because our customer’s success is our success.