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Farmers and fruit and vegetable producers who make use of temporary migrant labor can now acquire a new certificate for the accommodation they provide to their staff. From September 2020, all agriculture companies that hire migrant workers and offer accommodation to workers (paid for with deductions from workers salary) must be certified.
Trade unions and leading agricultural and horticultural organizations have set up the Flexible Accommodation Agricultural Quality Certificate to guarantee the quality of housing for migrant workers. Annual reports from the SZW inspection service report regular issues with temporary accommodation for transient labor. It is estimated that every year around a hundred thousand such migrants require accommodation while working in the agricultural sector.
The Flexible Accommodation Agricultural Quality Certificate guarantees the quality and safety of short-term housing offered to migrant workers. Employers with this certificate can deduct a maximum of 20% of minimum wage of the staff for whom such accommodation is provided. The certification document sets out clear rules on cooking facilities, sanitary ware, hygiene and maintenance, among others.
These standards have been set by employee and employer organizations using earlier collective agreements as a starting point. A company must undergo an annual inspection to receive valid certification. LTO Nederland will manage the certification process and it will be introduced in phases. They expect that at least a thousand businesses will start using the quality mark.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment has established a transitional period until 1 September 2020. This will enable businesses that offer accommodation to adjust the rent to the wage paid to the worker according to the new rules. No fines will be awarded until after the transition period has expired.
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