The moment the Wet Normering Topinkomens (WNT) applies to a legal entity or institution, the question is often whether the WNT then also applies to all employees working there.
What is a top official under the WNT
The function of the WNT is to standardize so-called "top incomes. Here the remuneration maximum from article 2.3 applies to the top official. This top official is further elaborated in article 1.1 sub b WNT, which concerns the following persons:.
- the Secretaries General, the Directors General, the Inspectors General and the other members of the Top Management Group at the State, the Deputy Admirals, the Generals, the Lieutenant Admirals and the Lieutenant Generals, the person or persons charged with the day-to-day management of the colleges referred to in Art. 1, of the Comptabiliteitswet 2016, as well as the members of an independent administrative body without legal personality and the most senior subordinate or the members of the group of most senior subordinates to that body and the person or persons charged with the day-to-day management of that body;
- the secretaries in the provinces, municipalities and water boards and the registrars in the provinces and municipalities;
- the presidents and secretaries of the public bodies for profession and business, the highest subordinate or members of the group of highest subordinates to the Board, and the person or persons in charge of the daily management of the entire public body;
- the members of the highest executive and supervisory bodies of a legal person as referred to in Article 1.2, parts f, g and h, as well as the highest subordinate or the members of the group of highest subordinates to that body and the person or persons responsible for the day-to-day management of the entire legal person;
- the members of the highest executive and supervisory bodies of a legal person or institution as referred to in Article 1.3, Article 1.4 or Article 1.5, as well as the highest subordinate or the members of the group of highest subordinates to that body and the person or persons responsible for the day-to-day management of the whole legal person or institution;
- a person who has held a position as referred to under 1° to 5° for a period of at least twelve calendar months and thereafter continues to be employed by the same legal person or institution, for a period of four years from the time that the position referred to under 1° to 5° is no longer held, with the exception of positions to be designated by regulation of Our Minister.
In the case of semi-public organizations, this concerns, in particular, the officers belonging to the group of senior managers within a legal person or institution, for example, the directors or the person in charge of the daily management of the legal person or institution.
Job title is not decisive
Here the job title or particular appointment is not decisive, but rather the actual activities of the employee concerned. For example, despite the fact that a formal board has been appointed, the management layer below it, which is in fact in charge of day-to-day management, may also fall within the scope of the WNT, without there being a 'management title'.
However, for the purposes of the WNT to apply, it is therefore not about all employees, but only the top officials. As a result, an employee who is not considered a top official under the WNT can enjoy a higher income (remuneration) than a top official and the remuneration of the "ordinary" employee is not standardized by the Act.
Obligation to publish annual accounts
However, in the event of a higher remuneration for a non-top official, there is an obligation to publish in the financial statements. The legal entity or institution must then disclose which positions receive higher remuneration than the regular WNT standard.
WNT also applicable in case of secondment or ZZP
It is also important to note that the WNT does not only apply to senior officials with an employment contract. Top officials working on a ZZP basis or through secondment, for example, also fall under the WNT, so a higher remuneration/ circumvention of the WNT by choosing such a construction is not possible.
However, the aforementioned publication obligation for a non-top official without employment does not apply in the case of seconded or ZZP officials.
WNT also has consequences in case of dismissal
The application of the WNT also has consequences in the event of dismissal, for example with regard to the maximum amount of severance pay.
For both employers and employees, it is therefore important to know whether the institution or company falls under the application of the WNT and, if so, which employees are covered and what the consequences are. The lawyers at SPEE advocaten & mediation will be happy to advise you.