The new CAO (collective agreement)

Entering into a new collective labour agreement (CLA) is a major challenge for many employers. Often, existing CLA’s do not (or no longer) properly reflect the changing needs of employees. For example, how can you be an attractive employer for young talent? Or, how can you keep the necessary know-how in the company? 

A CLA is a written agreement containing arrangements on employment conditions. For example, on wages, bonuses, payment of overtime, working hours, probationary period, notice period or pension. However, the vast majority of employees covered by a collective agreement are not members of a trade union. This fact sheet shows the facts. So how can you still tune in to the wishes of specific target groups? We recently listed the wishes of new entrants to the labour market in the Workforce Preference Study 2022.

The new CLA process

On the road to a new collective labour agreement for your organisation, many stakeholders need to be involved, including the employer, trade unions and certainly the employees. As an independent process manager, we map out the wishes of all stakeholders. Not only the wishes of the trade unions, but also those of your own employees, who are often not members of a trade union. We focus on co-creation and seek productive cooperation with all stakeholders. After all, a new CLA is there for the employees and the organisation. Our experts work with you towards the common goal; a CLA for everyone. Curious what this means for your organisation? Then get in touch with us. 

Central topics during CLA negotiations

At the moment, the following topics are central to collective labour agreements in the Netherlands. And what we see more and more often: employees' wishes differ greatly for each topic. Click on a subject and read more about it.

Sustainable employability  

Sustainable employability is about maintaining the 'labour factor', now and in the future. This touches various subjects and can therefore differ per company or per type of employee. In addition to the physical and mental health of employees, it concerns topics such as development, training and working conditions with the aim of remaining physically and mentally capable of performing the work.

Flex benefits 

More and more organisations are working with flex budgets, with a great deal of freedom for employees to use them according to their own needs and situations within a certain area of employment conditions (such as mobility, leave or development). In this way, an organisation can steer and direct its terms of employment more than in an á la carte system and, at the same time, offer customised solutions to employees.

Flexible employment 

Employing employees on a permanent basis or, on the contrary, retaining more flexibility is one of the main challenges for many organisations, but also for employees themselves. Working for multiple clients as a self-employed person or, on the contrary, committing to the one organisation has various advantages and disadvantages for both sides. 


Working independent of time and place. It has become more topical than ever due to the Corona crisis, but it is also an important subject for many employees. How to facilitate this by making agreements on working hours, (digital) facilities and health and safety conditions is therefore an essential CLA topic.


Development focuses on professional and personal growth at work and within the organisation. It is about strengthening competencies and behaviour and improving results. It is also about keeping professional knowledge and expertise up to date and expanding them.


Pension is a valuable employment condition, often offered by employers as a retirement provision. But there are also arrangements after the death and in case of an employee's incapacity for work. Due to the development of low interest rates and the increasing life expectancy, there is much discussion about pensions. The pension agreement will be introduced on 1 January 2023, which means that all pension schemes must be adapted to the new rules.

Performance-related pay 

In the past, performance-related pay usually took the form of individual performance-related pay. At present, there is a stronger and more frequent relationship with the success of a team, department or the entire organisation and we are seeing a shift from incentivising (beforehand) or rewarding (afterwards) to recognition: putting a colleague or team in the limelight because of a success achieved or example of behaviour.

Wage development

Wage development concerns the system and the agreements on the growth of the fixed salary. For many companies, the traditional split between collective and individual increases is now ready for a new phase, and the more systematic link between salary group and assessment is also increasingly under discussion.



A healthy mind in a healthy body. Healthy employees are less often sick, more productive and happier. Employers are increasingly launching initiatives for healthy food (e.g. lunch), exercising during work and reimbursing gym subscriptions.

What can PwC do for you?

At PwC, our CLA and labour market specialists are ready to assist you with the introduction and implementation. We can also help you look at opportunities and possibilities, specifically for your organisation and workforce. Would you like to know more? Then we look forward to hearing from you!

Contact us

Raymond Welmers

Raymond Welmers

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)6 52 79 19 10

Marc Borggreven

Marc Borggreven

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)62 242 46 64

Victor Steenbakker

Senior manager, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)64 065 52 48