CAO information

What is a CAO and what does it mean for me?

Every year we conclude hundreds of CAOs for you and your colleagues. But what is a CAO? And what does a CAO mean for me? Here you will find the answer to these and other questions.

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What is a CAO?

A CAO (Collectieve Arbeids Overeenkomst) is a Dutch collective labour agreement which includes agreements that we as a trade union have made for you and your colleagues. These are agreements regarding your salary, working hours, allowances, holidays, training, and pension.

I have a contract, so what is the point of a CAO?

There is no doubt that you will benefit from the CAO even if you have an employment contract. Without a CAO you only have the minimum protection of the law. The CAO is more important than your contract. Agreements in your CAO always take precedence over those in your individual employment contract. An employment contract only applies to you. A CAO applies to an entire sector or company.

What is the benefit of a CAO?

  • With a CAO you often get more holidays, regular pay rises, overtime pay, and continued payment in case of illness. A CAO often also regulates your pension. And if you are a member of the union, you have a say in the CAO. So you are better off with a CAO.
  • A CAO provides peace of mind in the labour market. Employers and employees know where they stand and oblige each other to comply with the agreements. This prevents conflicts.

Who monitors compliance with the CAO?

If you are the first to notice that your employer is not complying with the CAO agreements, report this to your employer. To have a stronger position, you can also do this in consultation with the works council or staff association. If you are worried about doing this, you can also contact the FNV.

It is even better if you do this collectively with as many employees as possible within your company. An employer who violates the CAO will usually not only do this with you, but also with your colleagues. If you and your colleagues are members of the FMV, we can support you if you let us know that your company is not properly complying with the CAO.

This means that compliance with the CAO starts with you and your colleagues, and with a FNV membership! This is key because if there are many FNV members in a company, the FNV can do more.

Who does the CAO apply to?

CAO is the Dutch abbreviation for collective labour agreement (Collectieve Arbeids Overeenkomst). And collective means that the agreements in a CAO apply to all employees in a sector or a company.

What is a sector CAO?

  • A sector CAO applies to the entire sector, for example metal & technology, or hospitals.
  • A sector CAO applies to you first and foremost if you are a member of the trade union that concludes the CAO, and if your company is associated with the employer party that concludes the CAO.
  • However, we always ask the Minister of Social Affairs to ensure that all companies in the sector apply the CAO. The minister must declare the CAO generally binding for this. From the date on which the minister issues this generally binding declaration, the CAO applies to all companies and employees in the sector.

How long does a CAO apply?

A CAO usually has a term of one or several years, but never more than five years. If there is no new CAO after this period, the old CAO will still apply.

Where can I find my CAO?

Below you can find the CAO that applies to your sector.

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