On February 7, 2017 Dutch Parliament adopted the Child Labour Due Diligence Law, requiring companies to determine whether there is child labour in their supply chain.
Impact on companies: Companies are expected to not only determine whether there "is a reasonable presumption” that their first supplier does not use child labour but also - if possible - whether child labour occurs further down the supply chain.
If underage workers are found, the company is expected to develop a plan of action to combat child labour and draft a statement on their investigation and plan of action. This statement will be recorded in a public register by a designated public authority that will soon be established.
The actual format of both the research on child labour and the possible plan of action will be based on a manual developed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the Child Labour Guidance Tool for Business.
Next steps: If the Dutch Senate adopts the law, the Act will be effective as of 1 January 2020. Companies who have already taken measures, can submit their statement to the registry by 2018.
FTA is following this piece of legislation closely and will inform you as soon as there are any new developments.
Exceptions to the law: An amendment to limit the scope of the Act to the first supplier was ultimately repealed. However, it is yet to be determined which groups of companies - for example, very small businesses or companies that are not active in countries or sectors where child labour is likely to occur - are exempted from the Act.
Filing a complaint: Any person or legal entity may file a complaint with the public authority on the basis of concrete evidence that a company is involved in child labour.
The complaint must be submitted to the company in question first and will be dealt with at that level if possible. Should a company:
- not take any action within the following six months, the petitioner can contact the appointed public authority. The authority may impose on the company a "binding instruction" and a term of execution, if the public authority is of the opinion that petitioner’s complaint is justified because the required level of research and/or a plan of action was not met.
- not follow instruction, an administrative fine will follow.
- violate the law again within five years following the first administrative penalty, it can risk a prison sentence up to a maximum of six months.
Contact: Norma Snell, Dutch NCG Coordinator