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Factsheet for measure NL-2021-1/1687 Updated – measures in Netherlands

Time-Out Arrangement

Time-Out Arrangement

Country Netherlands , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 January 2021 – 31 May 2024
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Deferral of payments or liabilities
Author Amber van der Graaf (Panteia)
Measure added 09 January 2021 (updated 09 August 2021)

Background information

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of entrepreneurs to be at risk of going bankrupt. The Dutch government fears that if these entrepreneurs go bankrupt, they will have to bear the consequences for years, and it will leave other businesses and institutions with unpaid debts. Furthermore, the government wants to prevent that after the pandemic many people are afraid to start their own business, and these businesses are essential to rebuilding the economy.

To prevent longer term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis on entrepreneurs and their businesses, the Dutch government has developed and implemented a law, the WHOA, (Wet Homologatie Onderhands Akkoord or Law for Homologation of Private Agreements). This law aims to help implement the broader COVID-19 measure, the Time-Out Arrangement or TOA, (which has the same name as in English).

Content of measure

The aim of the TOA is to prevent enterprises from falling into further financial difficulty by giving enterprises some proverbial breathing room, or a time-out, concerning their outstanding payments or debts. The aim is to prevent enterprises from collapsing into bankruptcy due to bills and payments which pile up. The rationale here is that if enterprises go bankrupt this has a chain reaction as other organisations, which are awaiting payment, are not paid at all and suffer as well. The WHOA helps to implement the TOA. The Law means that a judge has the legal mandate to force debt collectors and organisations awaiting payment to agree to a repayment plan.

The WHOA law came into force on 1 January 2021. With this law, the entrepreneurs can reach an agreement with their creditors to prevent bankruptcy. Not all creditors have to agree on this, the judge confirms the agreement and then it becomes binding, even to the creditors who have not agreed. This law is an important part of the Time-out arrangement, however, since it does not cover all issues that entrepreneurs encounter, therefore this arrangement consists of other elements as well.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

03 June 2021

SMEs can apply for the TOA credit from 1 June 2021 to 31 May 2024 at Qredits. Qredits carries out this for the government.

01 June 2021

The Government made available another €200 million for loans to SMEs affected by the corona crisis. They may be eligible for a loan of up to €100,000, subject to favorable conditions. Entrepreneurs can use that money to restart, expand or adjust their business activities. The most important condition is that companies come to good agreements with their creditors and that the company is healthy at its core.

The credit is part of the Time Out Arrangement (TOA) and is intended for companies with profitable business activities at their core, and who have made good and binding agreements with their creditors.

Qredits, the social lender, will assess the application for the TOA credit and provide the loans. Entrepreneurs who receive the credit also receive 12 months of free coaching from Qredits to get their business back on track. Companies that meet the criteria can submit applications from 1 June.

Use of measure

There is not information available yet on the use of this measure.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social partners jointly
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Consulted
Form Not applicable Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level


The social partners have been involved in negotiating and developing this measure. The employer’s organisations MKB-Nederland, VNO-NCW and the KHN, (the royal association for hotel, café, restaurants and bars), have negotiated against reducing the support measures to enterprises in 2021. The KHN was on the main sectoral social partners involved in lobbying for the TOA. The VNO-NCW and MKB NL (the former representing all sorts of employers across sectors and the latter representing SMEs across sectors). These are peak level social partners and have been involved with the development of most of the COVID-19 measures along with peak level trade unions through existing discussion mechanisms and fora.

The Dutch Chamber of Commerce has developed a programme for business owners whose business is not going well to the point of a possible bankruptcy. This programme is a part of the Time-out arrangement and therefore the Chamber of Commerce has been involved in both the designing and implementing of this measure. MKB-Nederland, VNO-NCW and the KHN have been pleading for more support for business owners, specifically for business owners to be able to pause their business without being declared bankrupt.

Views and reactions

The social partners appear mostly supportive. The Chamber of Commerce implements part of the measure, namely the support and advisory services under its programme Zwaar Weer.

The KHN reports the implementation of this measure as a successful negotiation between their lobby and the government. The MKB and VNO-NCW are positive. According to them this is a good first step. However, they plead for more policies that increase the business owners’ chances of reaching an agreement with their creditors, to prevent even more bankruptcies.


  • 25 September 2020: Lobbysucces KHN: Kabinet werkt aan voorstel voor Time-Out Arrangement (
  • 09 December 2020: Kamerbrief: Aanpassingen in het economische steun- en herstelpakket als gevolg van de ontwikkeling in de bestrijding van het coronavirus (
  • 23 December 2020: Op de rand van faillissement? De WHOA biedt uitkomst (
  • 01 June 2021: 200 miljoen euro voor corona-doorstartkrediet mkb-bedrijven (


Eurofound (2021), Time-Out Arrangement, measure NL-2021-1/1687 (measures in Netherlands), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.