What is the legal position of staff working at an educational institution? 

Public or denominational school

What matters is whether a public or denominational school (including Catholic, Muslim, Protestant, etc.) is concerned. Personnel employed by a denominational school work under a regular employment contract. At a public school staff is appointed. The latter corresponds closely with the legal position of civil servants. Personnel of public schools are also officially a civil servant as laid down in the Public Service Act. Public schools render legal decisions in the sense of the General Administrative Law Act (AWB), against which personnel can lodge objections, appeals and ultimately can appeal against the decision before the Central Appeal Council (CRvB) as prescribed by the General Administrative Law Act (AWB). Staff working for a private school are simply an employee and must apply to the sub-district court in case of proceedings.

Type of educational institution

Secondly distinction needs to be made between the type of educational institution: more particularly primary and secondary education, higher vocational and university education. A separate collective labour agreement applies to each of these forms of education providing legal status regulations in which again a distinction is made between public and denominational schools. Another special feature of the legal status of employees in education is that the majority of them (teaching and support staff) do not fall under the protection of the BBA. The educational institute therefore does not have to obtain permission from the UWV (Employee Insurance Schemes Implementing Body) prior to dismissal and the employee cannot invoke the nullity of the dismissal due to lack of the UWV consent. It should also be taken into consideration that the collective labour agreements applicable to denominational institutions prescribe separate legal proceedings before appointed Committees of Appeal who are competent to rule on decisions in respect of disciplinary action, performance, suspension and dismissal.

Non-statutory supplementary benefit scheme

Finally, most collective labour agreements in education have a non-statutory benefit scheme so that the dismissed employee will receive higher (unemployment) benefits after dismissal compared to what regular employees would receive. However, in determining the amount of severance pay in dismissal procedures of teaching staff judges often take the significant value of the statutory benefit scheme into account, which has a negative effect on the amount of severance pay ultimately awarded. It also happens that in education dismissal the judge applies the so-called CRvB formula, the civil service tribunal formula. The above gives an impression as to the particulars of the legal status of employees working for educational institutions. Furthermore within education the following is significant: • details about employee representation: besides the Works Council Act (WOR) also the Participation Act applies to schools, and • details about the job evaluation: there are several civil service appeal boards and non-statutory supplementary benefits.