Netherlands passes law for more gender equality in leadership positions –

Change language and content customisation
Find an advisor
Get in touch
Find an office
Search for:
Jump straight to:
Please enter a search term
We can use your selection to show you more of the content that you’re interested in.
Sign-up to follow topics, sectors, people and also have the option to receive a weekly update of lastest news across your areas of interest.
Got an account already?
Search for:
Please enter a search term
Out-Law News | 18 Oct 2021 | 9:47 am | 1 min. read
A new law will provide for a more balanced ratio between men and women in leadership positions at large businesses in the Netherlands.
The Dutch senate has recently approved a bill for a more balanced ratio between men and women in the board of directors and supervisory board. The bill is based on advice from the Social and Economic Council (Sociaal-Economische Raad/SER) and likely to come into force on 1 January next year.
Emile Doelwijt, corporate law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “From a recently published quick scan by the SER, it appears that despite the fact that, according to the survey, 8 out of 10 businesses are aware that the law for more women at the top is coming, less than 20% of the relevant businesses have actually started with preparations to comply with the new legislation.”
The new regulation replaces an earlier ordinance that was based on the ‘comply or explain’ principle and applied from 2013 to 2020, but according to experts did not lead to the desired success. The new regulation is considered to be more binding in character.
The bill applies to public and private businesses that qualify as ‘large’ businesses. The criteria for large businesses are a total value of assets of more than €20 million, a net turnover of more than €40m and at least 250 employees. If a company meets two or more of these criteria on two consecutive balance sheet dates, it is considered a large company. The number of Dutch businesses that qualify as large businesses under these criteria is estimated at 5,000.
Large businesses will be required to set a target to achieve a more balanced ratio of men and women on the supervisory board, board of directors and second-tier management. If the supervisory board and the board of directors each consist of only one person, a target can be set for both bodies together.
The targets must be commensurate with the size of the supervisory board, the board of directors and the second-tier management and aim for a more balanced gender distribution. If there is not a single person of the other sex in the board, the aim should be to appoint at least one. Businesses must report annually on their targets and progress.
For the approximately 100 Dutch businesses whose shares are listed, a special rule applies: as long as the composition of the supervisory board of a business does not consist of at least one third men and at least one third women, a person whose appointment would make the ratio between men and women on the supervisory board more unbalanced cannot be appointed as a supervisory board member, unless this concerns a reappointment.
Contact an adviser
Emile Doelwijt
Senior Associate
Sign-up to receive the latest news, insight and analysis direct to your e-mail inbox
Out-Law Legal Update
The High Court in London has sanctioned Virgin Active restructuring plans despite objections from landlords and a lack of support for the plans from most classes of creditor.
Out-Law Legal Update
The UK Supreme Court has decided that disclosing information in the wrong box on a tax return but explaining it in the white space was not an inaccuracy, as the return had to be considered as a whole.
Out-Law Legal Update
Creditors are to be banned from initiating debt recovery action during a new 60-day breathing space period in which individuals in debt in England and Wales will be able to seek professional advice on structuring their debt repayments. The new regime takes effect from 4 May 2021.
Out-Law Analysis
Pandora Papers leak highlights importance of third-party due diligence
Out-Law News
Dutch regulatory authorities strengthen cooperation over regulation of digital activities
Out-Law Analysis
Transposing the EU's platform liability regime into Dutch, German and Irish law
Out-Law Analysis
How to navigate complex IP issues in European tech M&A
Out-Law Analysis
How share plans relate to European tech M&A and the digital skills shortage
Senior Associate
Out-Law News
China’s central bank continues to tighten regulation of fintech
Out-Law News
OECD multinational tax proposals agreed by 136 countries

2021 Copyright Pinsent Masons LLP
We use cookies that are essential for our site to work.  To improve our website, we would like to use additional cookies to help us understand how visitors use the site, measure traffic to our site from social media platforms and to personalise your experience.  Some of the cookies that we use are provided by third parties.  Please visit our Cookie Policy for more information. To accept all cookies click 'Accept all'.  To reject all optional cookies or choose which optional cookies to allow, click ‘Cookie settings’.  This tool uses a cookie to remember your choices.
See our Cookie Policy for more information


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *