31 January 2024, by Emily Proctor

Global travel giant Booking.com, based in Amsterdam, will now have to join a pension scheme after being classified as a travel agency by a court in The Hague. The firm previously argued that it was merely a software and internet company, which are not required to take part in pension schemes in the Netherlands.

Booking.com is not an internet company, court rules

The case was initiated by a pension fund for travel workers, Bpf Reisbranche. The fund disputed Booking.com’s claims to be an internet company and disagreed with the company’s position that it did not need to participate in a travel industry pension fund. 

In response, Booking.com argued that as part of its operations, it is not actively involved in making agreements between hoteliers and tourists. Despite this, the court ruled that the international company does now need to join the occupational pension fund. 

Ruling will apply retroactively from 1999

Since the case against Booking.com was a long-running one, and in previous cases the court sided with the travel firm, the new ruling will be applied retroactively from 1999. Booking.com’s parent company estimates that the ruling will lead to additional costs of 405 million euros, none of which can be charged retroactively to (former) employees.

“It remains an important principle and priority for us to offer our people a complete and competitive compensation package, regardless of how our pension plan develops”, Booking.com told NOS.

Thumb image credit: Nigel J. Harris / Shutterstock.com

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