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What is a collective labor agreement?

It is actually quite simple: collective labor agreement stands for collective labor agreement and comprises a written agreement between employees 'organizations, employers' organizations and employers. This contains agreements about employment conditions. A collective labor agreement applies in addition to your individual employment contract and therefore largely determines your terms of employment.

The collective labor agreement may contain agreements about, among other things:

  • Working hours;
  • Working hours;
  • Special leave;
  • Remuneration (pay scales);
  • Surcharges;
  • Fees;
  • Holidays;
  • Rules for overtime;
  • Pension schemes;
  • Continued payment of wages in the event of illness;
  • Sickness and accident schemes;
  • Employee safety;
  • Education.

There are different types of collective labor agreements. The type of collective labor agreement determines to whom the collective labor agreement provisions apply, how the provisions must be applied and to what extent the provisions are mandatory.

Collective labor agreement and employment contract
Your individual employment contract also contains agreements about the terms of employment. These are agreements that only apply to you. The agreements you make in your individual employment contract may never be more disadvantageous than the agreements included in the collective labor agreement.

Whether your employer may deviate from the CLA depends on the type of CLA. When there is a minimum collective labor agreement, the agreements in your individual employment contract may only deviate to your advantage as an employee. If your collective labor agreement is a standard collective labor agreement, then it is not permitted to deviate from the collective labor agreement provisions at all. Even if this is cheaper for you as an employee.

What types of collective labor agreements are there?

There are 2 types of collective labor agreements:

  • Industry collective labor agreement
    A sectoral collective labor agreement is concluded between one or more employers or employers 'organizations and one or more employees' organizations. This is therefore a collective agreement that applies within a sector. The agreements in the collective labor agreement apply within one sector, but only for companies and employees represented by the parties that have concluded the collective labor agreement.
  • Companys-CLA
    The agreements laid down in a company CLA only apply within the company. This CLA is concluded between an employer and one or more employee organizations.

CAO and the law

If there is a collective labor agreement, it applies instead of the law, unless it is not allowed to deviate from the law. This is the case, for example, with regard to the minimum wage and minimum legal holidays.

The collective labor agreement generally contains better agreements than the law. Earning more than the minimum wage and more vacation days than the law prescribes. Or, on the contrary, agreements about possibilities to follow a course or for the combination of work and informal care.

Term of validity of the collective labor agreement

A collective labor agreement is never valid for more than 5 years. Shorter is possible. The term of a collective labor agreement can be determined during the collective agreement negotiations. After the expiry of this period (minimum 1 year), the CLA can be extended for the same period. If the term of a collective labor agreement is not stipulated in the agreement, it must be valid for at least one year. After that, the collective labor agreement can be extended by one year at a time. A CLA can also have an aftereffect if no new CLA has yet been concluded. A collective labor agreement must always be registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.

Where can you find your collective labor agreement?

If a collective labor agreement applies in your industry or company, your employer will state this in the individual employment contract. You can of course also ask yourself whether a collective labor agreement applies. As an employee you are always allowed to inspect the collective labor agreement.

You can find information about your collective labor agreement on the website about collective labor agreements of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW). You can also search for your collective labor agreement on our site!

Do you have questions about your collective labor agreement? Then contact us.

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