Koppert Cress wins battle over work expense scheme Healthy Employee Lunches at Supreme Court, “Euphoric with this statement"

Category: Food & Health

Euphoric with this statement. Common sense proves decisive: a healthy lunch. Groundbreaking for employers and employees in the Netherlands

Koppert Cress has triumphantly won the battle in a long-running case with the tax authorities. The issue revolved around the work expense scheme in relation to healthy employee lunches. Driven by the mission to have all their employees reach retirement healthy, Koppert Cress has integrated healthy food into their Health & Safety policy. In the company restaurant Rob & Bob, a collaboration between Rob Baan (Koppert Cress) and Bob Hutten (Hutten Catering), no unhealthy options are offered, but rather healthy meals. As part of the Health & Safety policy, employee lunches were offered free of charge to ease the transition from soft drinks to fruit water and from fries to vegetable-rich meals.

Rob Baan (first reaction): “Euphoric with this statement. Common sense proves decisive: a healthy lunch. Groundbreaking for employers and employees in the Netherlands.”

Koppert Cress's determination to promote health and wellness led to a legal dispute with the Tax Office. The Tax Authority's position, that taxes were indeed due for these free lunches, caused a stir in the media and lively discussions in society. The result was a wave of support for Rob Baan and his determination.

The impact of this battle was such that on May 24, 2024, it moved the Supreme Court to a historic ruling in favor of Koppert Cress regarding the work expense regulation for healthy employee lunches.

“Healthy employees are the core of a healthy company. Our goal is for all our employees to retire healthy,” said Koppert Cress management. “For years we have observed with horror the lunches brought by our employees, often consisting of non healthy foods and drinks.” - Rob Baan

In 2015, in consultation with the Works Council (OR), the company doctor and the Occupational Health and Safety Service, a policy plan was developed to make and keep employees healthier. Although a gym membership was offered and a company dietician was active, it proved insufficient. The idea of a healthy lunch within the Occupational Health and Safety Plan came up, but the Working Costs Regulation (WKR) did not allow free lunch, even if it was in agreement with Social Affairs and the Occupational Health and Safety Service. This led to a legal battle with the Tax Office, which has now been brought to a positive outcome with the approval of the Supreme Court.

Koppert Cress hopes that this ruling will contribute to a positive change and that healthy employee lunches can continue to contribute to a healthy lifestyle for their employees and society as a whole. The company remains committed to continuing their commitment to health and wellness.

More information -> https://www.nieuwelunchcultuur.nl/op-werk/
Supreme Court -> https://www.hogeraad.nl/actueel/nieuwsoverzicht/2024/mei/hoge-raad-gratis-verstrekking-gezonde-lunchmaaltijden-werknemers-valt/ 

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