New rules and laws for SMEs as of 1 June 2023
- The basis
- 1 Jun 2023
- Edited 29 Jun 2023
- 9 min
- Managing and growing
- Rules and laws
Several new laws and rules come into effect between June and December 2023. To name a few, a ban is imposed on distance sales of cigarettes and cigars. So-called AOW employees on sick leave are entitled to shorter continued wages. And importers and manufacturers of textile products are required to collect old clothes.
The new laws and amendments for SMEs:
- Change in European patents
- Minimum wage increased
- Interest on tax increased
- Continued payment of AOW employee lowered to 6 weeks
- Ban on free plastic take-out cups and containers
- Extended producer responsibility for textiles: collecting old clothing
- Amendment to the Quality of Childcare Decree
- Repayment period amicable settlement shorter
- Repayment period for statutory debt restructuring shorter
- Ban on distance sales of cigarettes and
- Ban on flavoured e-cigarettes
- Care providers must provide medical details online
- New Register of Social Hygiene: reconfirm your registration
- Smart tachograph type 2 mandatory for trucks
From 1 June 2023
You protect a technical invention by taking out a patent. Others are forbidden from copying or using your invention. Do you want to apply for a patent in more than one country? The European patent system has changed as of 1 June 2023. You can now choose to apply for a patent for several European countries of your choosing, or go for a unitary patent. The unitary is a new patent, that protects your invention in 17 European countries. It is simpler, more efficient, and cheaper. The new Unified Patent Court (with a branch in The Hague) is in charge of executing and managing the unitary patent.
Do you employ staff and pay the minimum wage? On 1 July 2023, the legal minimum increased. This shows the gross amounts per month, week, and day. The increase also applies to people receiving state (AOW) or unemployment (WW). The minimum wage of a 21-year-old working full-time went up by over 3%.
Did you file your tax return late or incorrectly? Then you will pay interest on the tax you owe to the Tax Administration. This interest on increased from 4% to 6%. This applies to income tax and turnover tax, for example. The other way round is also possible. For example, if the Tax Administration takes too long to finalise your tax assessment, you will receive interest on any tax owed to you. This interest has also increased to 6%.
The Algemene Oudersdomswet (General old age pension Act, is the basic state pension you receive upon retirement. As an employer, you can hire AOW recipients. Do you employ an AOW recipient who falls ill for a longer period? The continued payment in case of sick leave changes from 13 to 6 weeks. This applies to state pensioners who become ill on or after 1 July 2023. The old term of 13 weeks continues to apply to employees who have fallen ill before that date.
Do you sell food or drinks to go or as take-out? A ban on free plastic single-use cups and food has come into effect. You now have to charge your customers for plastic single-use packaging, on top of the price of the coffee or the meal. You decide how much to charge your customer. You are allowed to offer your customers free single-use packaging if it does not contain any plastic. So, for example, 100% paper-based cups, or other materials.
Are you a producer or importer of textiles? On 1 July 2023, the extended producer (Uitgebreide Producenten Verantwoordelijkheid, UPV) for textiles takes effect. The UPV applies to all producers and importers in the fashion and textile industry who bring textiles and clothing onto the Dutch market for the first time. The UPV makes you responsible for collecting and recycling on the Dutch market. Dutch sector organisations Inretail and Modint have set up the Stichting UPV . If you join this foundation, you and other entrepreneurs can comply with the UPV requirements in a simple and affordable way.
You also have to report details on the sales, reuse, and recycling of textiles to the government:
- Register with (in Dutch) between 1 July and 12 August 2023. Provide details about your company, how much textiles you want to market the coming year, and what type of textiles, and how you are going to meet the requirements.
- From 2024, you report how much textile you have put on the market in the last year. You do this every year.
- From 2026, you also report every year if and how you are meeting the requirements for reusing and recycling textiles.
Do you run a nursery or out-of-school care? On 1 July 2023, the 3-hour rule and the familiar-face will change. The new rules are more in line with the real-world situation. From 1 July, you will be allowed to deviate from the childcarer-child ratio (Beroepskracht-kind ratio, BKR) for 3 hours per day. And to temporarily deviate from the familiar-faces criterion. For example, in case of illness or leave of 1 or more permanent staff members.
Do you have debts you cannot repay? You can make use of a debt settlement scheme, such as the amicable settlement. This allows you to come to a payment agreement with your debtors, either personally or with the help of an intermediary. You repay as much as you can over a set period of time. At this moment, the repayment period is 36 months. As of 1 July, the repayment period will change to 18 , so that you can be free of debt sooner.
Do you have debts and the amicable settlement route fails? Then you can ask the court if you can use debt (Wsnp). This is the Natural Persons Debt Rescheduling Act. If the court permits you to use the procedure, it draws up a debt restructuring plan. This plan states the amount you have to pay back. Currently, you have to do this in 3 years. On 1 July 2023, this will change to 18 months. After a Wsnp procedure, you are debt-free.
Do you have a shop that sells (electronic) cigarettes, cigars, or refill packs with or without nicotine? Or do you produce or import such tobacco products? As of 1 July 2023, distance sales of tobacco is banned. This is one of the measures taken to reduce the number of .
Do you sell flavoured e-cigarettes? As of 1 January 2024, e-cigarettes with like strawberry icecream, mango, hazelnut, or mojito will be forbidden. Only tobacco flavours are allowed. Producing e-cigarettes or refill e-liquids with flavours will be banned as of 1 July 2023. Shops are allowed to sell what stock they have left until 1 January 2024.
Are you a care provider? On 1 July 2023, the Wet Elektronische Gegevensuitwisseling in de Zorg (Electronic data exchange in healthcare Act, comes into force. This law makes it mandatory for care providers to exhange medical data electronically. The aim is to reduce errors and improve the communication between care providers. In the coming years, care providers will come to arrangements on how to execute the new law. The first requirement will most likely be enforced in 2024: the general practitioner will then have to send prescriptions to the apothecary or dispensary electronically.
Do you sell or serve alcohol? And were you registered in the Register of Social Hygiene before 1 July 2023? Since 1 July, there is a new Register of Social .
The National Commission for Social Hygiene (Lcsh) is taking over the register from Stichting Vakbekwaamheid Horeca (SVH). You have to reconfirm your registration so that you are listed in the new register. You have 5 years to do this: until 1 July 2028.
Do you work in the transport sector? A smart tachograph type 2 will be mandatory on newly registered trucks. A tachograph registers the driving and rest times, the speed, and the distance covered by the vehicle. Did you register a truck before 21 August 2023? Then you can replace the existing tachograph in phases:
- 31 December 2024: SMT2 mandatory for trucks with an analogue or digital tachograph
- 19 August 2025: SMT2 mandatory for trucks with a smart tacho 1
New laws and regulations in 2024
Shorter processing time for building projects with the Environmental and Planning Act (1 January 2024)
The new Environmental and Planning Act ('Omgevingswet') will make it easier to check if a building project meets all the requirements in one go. 26 existing regulations for space, living, infrastructure, environment, nature, and water will become 1 act. This should lead to faster and cheaper decision-making, simplification of rules, and an end to unnecessary rules. Once the Environmental and Planning Act comes into force, all municipalities must be connected to the digitised system 'Digitaal Stelsel Omgevingswet' (DSO).
The Environmental and Planning Act is expected to come into effect on 1 July 2023.
Measures to improve quality in construction projects (1 January 2024)
To better safeguard the quality in construction projects and protect private and business customers, new measures will come into force. Construction companies will be required to hire the services of an independent and certified quality controller. The liability for hidden defects will change: the construction company is to remain liable for defects only discovered by the customer after the moment of completion. This is unless the construction company or builder did not cause the defects.
The law to improve quality in the construction sector ('Wet kwaliteitsborging voor het bouwen', Wkb) is expected to come into effect on 1 January 2024.
The effective date of this amendment is not yet final.*
5. Safety coordinator required for construction or demolition work (1 January 2024)
Do you work in construction? All construction and demolition works must appoint a Safety Coordinator Immediate Surroundings (Veiligheidscoördinator Directe Omgeving in Dutch). This coordinator sees to the safety and health of everyone in the immediate surroundings of the work. The Decree on construction works in the living environment (Besluit bouwwerken leefomgeving, Bbl) enters into effect at the same time as the Environmental and Planning Act (Omgevingswet).
On Business.gov.nl, you can find all relevant upcoming changes in laws and . Or go to , type in a keyword, and choose the Regulations or Amendments tab in the search results.
How are laws made?
Sometimes a new law or an amendment is announced, and then does not go ahead, or the effective date is postponed. Why do some announced laws come into effect, while others do not?
Roughly speaking, the legislation process works like this. Ministries and the lower house of parliament ('Tweede Kamer') prepare laws. Once the lower house of parliament has approved a law, it goes to the upper house ('Eerste Kamer'). They can only accept or reject the law. If the upper house accepts the proposal, the government publishes the new law in the 'Staatsblad' (Government Gazette).
The effective date of a law can be mentioned in the law itself. Or the law may state that the government will determine the effective date by Royal Decree (Koninklijk Besluit, KB). The KB is published in the Staatsblad.
As the legislative process consists of many steps, it can take a while before a proposed law enters into effect. Changes in the composition of the lower and upper houses of parliament can also affect the progress. If there is a caretaker cabinet in place ('demissionair cabinet'), it will only handle current affairs and not take any major decisions.
Supervision and enforcement
In the Netherlands, several organisations are responsible for supervising and enforcing laws.
Several supervisory organisations check whether everyone complies with the law. Examples are the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (Financial Markets Authority, AFM), the Nederlandse Voedsel- en Warenautoriteit (Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority, NVWA) and the Inspectie voor de Gezondheidszorg (Healthcare Inspectorate, IGZ).
Municipalities, police, and the Openbaar Ministerie (public prosecution, OM) enforce laws in several ways. Think of performing checks or providing information and advice.
If a person breaks a law, enforcement organisations can impose sanctions. These vary from a fine to a jail sentence. Which sanction applies depends on the gravity of the offence.