The ABU phase system explained

Are you planning on hiring temporary workers through an employment agency in the Netherlands? A smart choice! But how does it work with the employment contract? When an employee starts working for you via an employment agency, you will be dealing with contracts based on a phase system. This system determines what kind of temporary work contract an employee is entitled to and which working conditions apply. The system consists of three phases, each with a different duration:

  • Phase A: maximum 52 weeks
  • Phase B: maximum 3 years and a maximum of 6 contracts
  • Phase C: Indefinite period

The further the employee is in the system, the more benefits he or she can receive. But how do you know which phase the employee is in? No worries. The employment agency can tell you exactly that. In this article we will explain the ABU phase system.

Phase A

At the start of an employment contract the employee enters phase A. In this phase you can offer the employee a maximum of 13 contracts.

The maximum duration of this phase is 52 weeks. Each week in which the employee works – be that one hour or forty hours – counts towards the calculation of those 52 weeks. The employee then proceeds to phase B. If there is an interruption between contracts of more than 6 months then the week count starts over. What about the hours that the temporary worker does not work? Then he/she does not get paid for those hours. There are three different types of contracts that you can offer in this phase:

  • On-call employment contract with flexible hours. The duration of this contract is a maximum of 12 months.
  • Employment contract with fixed hours, so not on an on-call basis. The duration of this contract is a maximum of 52 weeks.
  • Secondment agreement on an on-call basis. The duration of this contract is a maximum of 12 months.

Phase B

An employee is working in phase B if the employment is continued within a period of 6 months after the end of Phase A. A Phase B contract can also be offered at an earlier stage if agreed upon by all parties. You can then offer an employee a secondment agreement. Please note: the maximum duration of this phase is 3 years. In this phase the employee is working based on a secondment agreement for a fixed duration and an agreed upon number of hours per week. You can offer a maximum of six secondment agreements in this phase and the duration can differ per agreement. When the employee reaches a seventh secondment agreement or has worked in phase B for more than 3 years, they automatically proceed to phase C.

If there is an interruption between two secondment agreements in phase B the months continue to count toward the maximum period of three years. If the interruption lasts longer than six months, the employee will start at phase A again.

You cannot terminate the contract if the employee is ill. You must continue payment to your employee for as long as the secondment agreement lasts. The continued payment is a percentage of the benefit daily wage. The termination of a secondment agreement is only possible when the agreed upon contract end date is reached. Early termination is only possible with due observance of a notice period.

Phase C

If you would like to continue the contract after the completion of Phase B, then the employee will enter phase C. In this phase an employment contract for an indefinite period is automatically applicable. If the employee does not start right away, but accepts another contract within 13 weeks of completing phase B, he/she will still enter phase C.

If the interruption between contracts is shorter than 26 weeks but longer than 13 weeks the employee will go back and start phase B again. If the interruption is longer than 26 weeks then the employee must go all the way back to phase A.

In this phase you must also pay a percentage of the benefit daily wage when the employee is sick. Please note: In this phase the employee can choose to terminate their contract themselves. They must still adhere to the notice period requirement of one month. If you, as an employer, want to terminate the contract in phase C then an district judge or the UWV will need to be involved.

Secondary benefits

  • Vacation: The temporary worker is entitled to 25 vacation days per year, based on a 40 hour work week
  • Holiday pay: The temporary worker is entitled to a holiday allowance of 8.33% of the actual wages
  • The temporary worker will build up a pension starting on their first day of work. The pension fund (StiPP) is responsible for the administration of the pension.
  • Additional benefits are outlined in the Remuneration Scheme for Temporary Employees (BRI), including travel compensation and wage increases.

How do we work?

Step 1
Candidates can respond to your vacancy and we will contact them based on their application. Is there a match with your company? Then we continue with the intake interview. If not, we perform a search in our database to find suitable candidates. We also actively use social media channels, such as LinkedIn. We will send a message to the candidates that are a good match and if they are also interested in the position we will schedule an interview with them.

Step 2
An informal interview takes place where we get to know the candidate in depth. After the interview we make a profile with all the information we received from the candidate during the interview.

Step 3
We introduce the candidate to your company using this profile. To prevent discrimination on any level, we remove photos, age, and nationality from the profile. If you are interested in a candidate then we will arrange a meeting.

Step 4
You will have the opportunity to interview the candidate one or more times. The interview needs in each individual situation can depend on several different factors.

Step 5
Once you have found a suitable candidate and choose to hire them, we will take care of the rest! This includes salary and other terms and conditions of employment, for example. It is good to note that the salary of the candidate is not the amount that you must pay us. We do not withhold any part of the salary from the candidate.

Step 6
The candidate signs the contract, either in person or via email, and they receive information about the start date, travel compensation, etc.

It is important to know what your rights are with a company in the Netherlands. We hope we have been able to provide you with some insights through this article. For a complete overview of the ABU phase system, you can download our product sheet on this page. If you would like to know more, please contact us. Do you want to know more about what outsourcing recruitment can mean for you? Then read this blog.

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