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Is my employer obliged to apply the CLA if he is not a member of the employers' association?

Is a collective labor agreement mandatory or not? A question that is regularly asked by both employers and employees. If your employer is not a member of an employers' association, the application of a collective labor agreement is only mandatory when it concerns:

  • A company CLA;
  • An industry collective labor agreement that has been declared generally binding (AVV). The collective labor agreement then automatically applies to all employers in that sector who fall under the scope of the collective labor agreement. So also for your employer who is not a member of an employers association. Exceptions are made to this.

When is a CLA mandatory?

The application of a collective labor agreement is mandatory if:

  • The employer has concluded a collective labor agreement himself (company collective labor agreement);
  • The employer is a member of an employers' organization that has concluded a collective labor agreement (industry-wide collective labor agreement);
  • There is an industry collective labor agreement in the sector that has been declared generally binding (AVV). The collective labor agreement then automatically applies to all employers in that specific sector who fall under the scope of the collective labor agreement.

The application of the current collective labor agreement also depends on the type of collective labor agreement that has been drawn up. Is it a minimum collective labor agreement? Then your employer may deviate from the CLA agreements. The agreements in a minimum collective labor agreement apply as the lower limit. Is there a standard collective labor agreement? Then you and your employer are obliged to comply with the provisions zo to be applied as described in the collective labor agreement.

Exceptions

The collective labor agreement for temporary workers (the ABU or NBBU collective labor agreement) has been created for temporary workers. They therefore usually do not fall under the collective labor agreement of the sector or company they work for, but often under the temporary employment collective labor agreement. If it has been agreed that a temporary worker works on the basis of the hirer's remuneration, the client's collective labor agreement may apply to some provisions.

When is a collective labor agreement not mandatory?

A collective labor agreement is not required by law. This means that if no CLA (company CLA or industry CLA) applies, your employer does not have to comply with CLA provisions. Your employer must, however, comply with at least the statutory provisions of employment legislation. You should think of:

  • Minimum wage;
  • Minimum vacation days;
  • Maternity leave;
  • Continued payment of wages during illness.

If your employer does not apply a collective labor agreement, it is important to make good agreements about your employment conditions. Also remember to have this recorded in writing in your individual employment contract.

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