Limits on telemarketing, higher minimum wage among law changes effective July 1
On July 1, a series of new laws will take effect in the Netherlands, including a telecommunications law that will limit telemarketing calls, an increase in minimum wage, and VAT on cheap online purchases from outside the European Union. Here follows a summary.
Employment, income and pension
Minimum wage in the Netherlands is adjusted twice a year based on the wages agreed upon in collective bargaining agreements. From July 1, the minimum wage for employees aged 21 and older will be 1,701.80 euros gross per month, an increase of almost 17 euros. Youth minimum wage is also increasing, to amounts ranging from 510 euros gross per month for 15-year-olds to 1,360 euros for 20-year-olds. The amounts apply for full-time employment.
The state pension is also increasing a bit on July 1. Single people on state pension (AOW) will get 1,226.60 per month, up from 1,218.19 euros. Spouses and cohabiting partners will receive an amount of 838.55 euros per month, an increase of about 6 euros.
The statutory vacation days workers built up in 2020 will expire in July. This rule does not apply to extra vacation days on top of the statutory minimum. Employers are obliged to notify their workers in time to use vacation days that are about to expire. If they fail to do so, the employee can take these vacation days later.
From July 1 it will be easier to apply for a residency permit for foreign staff.
It will become more expensive for some ABN Amro customers to withdraw cash from an ATM. People who have withdrawn over 12,000 euros within a year will be charged a few euros plus a percentage of the amount withdrawn for each subsequent ATM withdrawal. Rabobank will also charge extra in certain cases from after the summer.
Housing, rent and vacation rentals
The traditional rent increases on July 1 will look different this year. Social housing rents may not increase at all this year. This freeze applies until 30 June 2022. And free sector rent increases are limited to 1 percent plus inflation, which means this year's maximum rent increase is 2.4 percent. This law applies until 1 May 2024. Landlords can increase service costs - the costs that come on top of the basic rent of the home. The landlord must share an overview of the costs and explain why they are increasing.
Due to new EU rules, the valuation of homes in the Netherlands, for example when taking out a mortgage, will become more expensive. Cheaper and standard online valuations will no longer be accepted when taking out a mortgage. From July 1, the valuation report must also include accurate descriptions of which sustainability investments are required for the home.
In the municipalities of Amsterdam, Bergen, and Zaanstad, residents must register with the municipality if they want to rent their home to tourists. Rental platforms like Airbnb and Booking.com will not be allowed to place an ad if it does not include a registration number. This is an extension of the Tourist Rental Act.
Energy prices and meters
Gas and electricity prices will increase after July. Due to a cold spring and people returning to the office after coronavirus lockdowns, the demand for gas and electricity increased significantly this past year. Exactly how much the energy tariffs will rise is hard to say, as this is partly linked to the type of contract consumers have and how much they actually use. Some contracts have prices fixed for a certain period.
About 1 million Netherlands households who still have an old energy meter in their home will no longer be able to use the night rate for energy from July 1. Double rate contracts will be converted to single rate on that date.
The telecommunications law that takes effect on July 1 means that businesses can only call consumers with offers on products or services if the consumer gave them permission to do so. Companies where you are or were a customer can call you up to three years after the termination of the contract, after which the company must again get permission. If they call and you say you don't want any further calls, they must stop. Companies must also offer the option to opt out during the call.
Changes to shopping and discounts
From July 1, supermarkets and liquor stores will not be allowed to give more than 25 percent discount on alcohol. The new Alcohol Act, which replaces the Liquor and Catering Act, also criminalizes giving alcohol to minors, in addition to selling alcohol to minors, and has stricter rules for the online sale of alcohol. Happy hour at restaurants and bars is still allowed because the massive discount ban only applies to alcohol sold for offsite consumption.
Consumers will pay VAT on all products bought online from outside the European Union starting July 1. Until now, purchases below 22 euros were exempted from VAT. PostNL will also charge extra costs for collecting and remitting this VAT if it is not charged with the order. Products ordered before July 1, but only imported after that date, fall under the new rules.
From July 1, producers are no longer allowed to make small plastic bottles for soft drinks or water that cannot be returned for a deposit.
Gift vouchers must be valid for at least 2 yeas from the moment of issue after July 1.
Corona-passport for travel within Europe
From July 1 it will be possible to travel within Europe with a coronavirus travel certificate - a QR code that shows the traveler has been vaccinated against Covid-19, tested negative for the virus, or recently recovered from an infection and therefore has immunity. The government's CoronaCheck app can be used for this purpose.