When reading a Dutch contract or collective labor agreement you can stumble upon concepts such as Arbeidsduurverkorting (ADV) or Arbeidstijdverkorting (ATV) – terms that might seem confusing at first. Let’s dive into what ADV and ATV are, what the difference is, and how they are being used by employers.
What are ATV/ ADV days?
ATV / ADV days which translate to “reduction of working hours”, are a collective agreement between employers and employees in the Netherlands that allows for the accumulation of additional days off based on the number of hours worked. ADV / ATV can be used in hours or days.
For example, if the contract specifies a 38-hour work week but employees work 40 hours, they would accumulate 2 ADV hours weekly. These hours can then be used as additional time off in the future. It could also be that the company offers 40h contract and the clause of ADV/ATV reduction hours makes it actually 39/38h. Everything depends on how the employer phrases it in the contract.
Origin and use
ADV and ATV were set up in the 1980s to reduce the high level of unemployment; the available work could be distributed among a larger number of people. Many employees have thus been given a number of extra days off. Nowadays, these schemes are used more as a benefit to increase employees’ mental health, and productivity.
The manner in which employers use the ADV / ATV might differ per company and is determined by what is written in the contract. There might be additional conditions as to when and how an employee can use the reduction of hours worked. For example, it might be that ADV/ATV can only be taken within a specific time frame, or that it disappears after a given year.
What is the difference between ADV days and ATV days?
The difference between ADV and ATV is the way in which an employee can take their free hours. With ADV the employee might take extra hours worked as leave at a later time. There is usually more freedom of when exactly that would be. In the case of ATV, the employee can take a number of scheduled days off per year. The company often determines which day, afternoon, or morning employees should take this time off. In other cases, these days or half-days are determined in consultation between the employee and the employer.
What is the difference between ADV / ATV and holidays?
Holidays are a legal right. By Dutch law, as an employee in the Netherlands, you are entitled to a minimum of 20 holiday days based on 40h workweek and an 8% holiday allowance. ADV/ATV, however, is an agreement between the employer and the employee. Because ADV/ATV is not determined by law, it is usually regulated in the collective labor agreement or company policy, and employees are not entitled to it unless it is specified in the contract.
How many ATV/ ADV days is standard?
The average number of ADV/ATV days in the Netherlands can vary depending on several factors, including; industry, company policies, and individual employment contracts. Typically, if the employer offers a reduction of working hours, the amount would be either 6.5 or 13 days (or an equivalent number of hours) depending on contractual hours and additional hours worked each week.
What could be the benefits of days ATV / ADV days?
Implementing the practice of shorter days or hours can have many benefits for your organization.
Well-being and work-life balance
This practice prioritizes employee well-being by providing additional time for rest, relaxation, and personal pursuits. This reduces work-related stress and burnout, improves overall job satisfaction, and fosters a healthier work-life balance.
By promoting personnel well-being, reduction of hours can have a positive impact on staff productivity. Employees who feel well-rested and have time for personal endeavors often exhibit higher levels of engagement, creativity, and motivation when they return to work.
Flexibility and adaptability
Reduction of working hours provides flexibility to accommodate personal needs and unforeseen circumstances. Employees can use these days for various purposes, such as attending appointments, managing family responsibilities, pursuing education, or participating in community activities.
Talent attraction and retention
The availability of ADV / ATV days can enhance an organization’s attractiveness as a company and improve the employer branding. Offering a flexible work environment that promotes work-life balance is highly valued by employees in the Netherlands, increasing job satisfaction and aiding in talent retention. It can also be a compelling factor in attracting new talent as a reduction of working hours might be seen as an attractive benefit.
How to implement ATV / ADV days?
When implementing this practice there are several legal considerations that employers should keep in mind. It’s important to comply with working time regulations, which define the maximum hours employees can work daily and per week. Above that, the employment contracts should clearly state:
- the number of ADV days employees are entitled to,
- the method of accrual
- any conditions or restrictions on their use
Employers should also establish a transparent communication strategy to inform employees about the rules and procedures governing ADV days, including how they are earned, used, and tracked. Proper record-keeping is essential to document ADV days taken by employees.
Seeking legal advice can provide further guidance on effectively complying with the legal aspects of implementing ADV days.
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