The Role of the Dutch Works Council Regarding Employee Data and Privacy.

The Works Council [ondernemingraad, OR] is an internal body representing, promoting and protecting the interest of the employees. The rules concerning staff representation are described in the Dutch Works Councils Act [WOR].

The Works Council has consultation rights in respect of certain significant proposed management decisions. Furthermore, they have approval rights in respects of intended company decisions regarding employment policies. In this article we will deep-dive into the role of the Works Council regarding personal data and privacy matters.

Employers process a lot of personal data of their employees and taking their privacy into account is therefore extremely important. The Works Council plays an important role, in case the employer proposes to change or implement systems related to employee data.

Right of Consent (article 27 WOR)

The Works Council has the Right of Consent, described in article 27. The law stipulates, the entrepreneur has the Works Council to agree in case of changes or implementation of new regulations regarding the use of personnel data.

Example are: the registration of absenteeism/sick leave, payroll system, HR systems, performance management systems, tracking system (GPS tracker in company vehicles) and employee files.

Right of Initiative (article 23 WOR)

The Works Council can also decide to ask the entrepreneur about the use of employee data on its own initiative. This is described in the Works Councils Act article 23.
Examples are: asking questions in response to a security incident or questions or complaints from employees.

Right to be consulted (article 25 WOR)

The employer must ask the Works Council for advice in the case of introducing or changing a technological provision, with such a technological facility, personal data may be processed. Examples are: staff monitoring via CCTV, or screening at the entrance of the office by the means of fingerprints or other biometric data.

 

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