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Netherlands: Analysis of new child labour due diligence law outlines key features and potential shortcomings

'Dutch take the lead on child labour with new due diligence law' 17 May 2019

Almost three years since its introduction into parliament, the Wet zorgplicht kinderarbeid (Child Labour Due Diligence Bill) was adopted in the Dutch Lower House... The bill will come into force at the earliest on 1 January 2020....

Focusing on reporting requirements, the new law aims primarily to provide transparency to Dutch consumers and other stakeholders on products and services whose sourcing may involve child labour...

...Companies will be required to submit to the Dutch supervising authority... a disclosure statement... These statements will be made publicly available by the state authority...

Companies will be required to investigate whether there is ‘reasonable suspicion’ of child labour in their activities and supply chains... If such a ‘reasonable suspicion’ is identified, companies are required to develop an action plan...

The only apparent way to enforce the law will be if a person or company submits a complaint to the relevant regulating authority... Unlike the French Duty of Vigilance Law, complainants do not have access to seek remedy through a civil lawsuit...

...[F]ocusing corporate action on a single human rights issue... runs contrary to trends in other jurisdictions that are considering a broader approach to human rights due diligence... Finally, its limited enforcement mechanism and lack of remedy may be seen as weaknesses...

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