The Role of the Dutch Works Council in Tech-System Implementations.

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.

The latest trends redefining HR include big data, mobile apps, system technology, and the SaaS Model (Software as a service). These digital technical disruptors are bringing major changes to the HR function as these systems are tracking personnel data and might impacting privacy. What is the role of the Works Council in any of these system implementations? 

Right of Consent (article 27 WOR)

The implementation of any employee monitoring system (e.g. Camera surveillance, GPS tracking and time registration systems) is subject to Works Council’s right of consent based on article 27 of the Works Councils Act, as it related to the processing of personal data of employees. The proposed implementation is aimed to monitoring the behaviour and/or performance of the employees. This means that in case the company would like to implement a regulation concerning the processing of personal data of visitors this will not be subject to Works Council consent.

However, based on article 25, paragraph 1 of the Works Councils Act, the Works Council has a right of advice on intended decisions of the company on important proposed tech-implementations. The introduction of the electronic card system should be seen as an important technological feature.

In light of technological developments, organisations will introduce in the future more and more advanced personnel systems. The task of the Works Council will be to ask questions and critically analysing these systems while taking care of the interests of both the employees and the company.

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