Temporary workers who lose their job often do not receive a transition payment, the trade union FNV concludes on the basis of its own research. ABU, the umbrella organization of temporary employment agencies, does not recognize that this is happening on a large scale.

Last year, the FNV questioned 168 temporary workers who lost their jobs. Almost nine in ten of them indicated that they had not received a transition payment. A year earlier, a poll among 200 temporary workers showed that the vast majority had not received any compensation.

The 60-year-old Jacqueline Blommaert is one of the temporary workers surveyed. “I can get really angry about how my employer treated us. We only had duties and no rights.”

That feeling was reinforced when Blommaert’s contract was not extended last year because she was ill. She asked for a transition allowance. “Then I was told: I don’t think you are entitled to that.” Blommaert knew her rights and kept insisting, but only after help from the union did she receive the 2000 euros in her account.

“We see it more often that employers only want to pay if we interfere with it,” says FNV director Karin Heynsdijk. “That shows that they know they have to pay, but only do so when they realize it’s serious.”

Based on the survey, the FNV estimates that employment agencies will not have paid out about 53 million euros in transition payments in 2020.

Complex

“We do not agree with the conclusion that temporary employment agencies do not pay a transition payment on a large scale,” says a spokesperson for the Algemene Bond Uitzendonderneming (ABU). “FNV draws far-reaching conclusions based on conversations with 168 temporary workers.” The nuance is therefore missing, says the ABU spokesperson.

Employment law lawyer David Lagarrigue also wonders whether all nuances have been taken into account. “It is often not entirely clear in the temporary employment sector who terminates a contract,” says the lawyer, who often works for temporary employment companies.

Temporary work is in many cases based on four-week contracts. If the employer subsequently has work elsewhere, a new contract will be drawn up. “But if the temporary worker does not want that new work, for example because it is further away, the question is who canceled the contract,” says Lagarrigue.

wrestling

The ABU also sees that temporary employment agencies are struggling with the question of when they have to pay out compensation. “Sometimes a force works for two months, then a month off and then another period,” the spokesperson said. “Does an employer have to pay compensation after those first two months? If someone is entitled to it, that is of course necessary, but everyday practice is complex.”

Union director Heynsdijk is not convinced by the arguments. “They sound like ways to get out of the fee.” In practice she sees that people are offered work on the other side of the country. “That’s not a reasonable offer.” But if the force doesn’t like that, employers say it has canceled the contract. “Temporary workers are then afraid to request their transition payment for fear that they will no longer get another job from their temporary employer.”

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