Dutch Employment Law firm – Legal assistance for Employees The Netherlands

Dutch employment law governs the relationships between employers and employees in the Netherlands. It establishes various rules and agreements, which are typically included in employment contracts. These may cover aspects such as the maximum probation period, vacation days, wages, and other terms like the use of a lease car.

A significant part of the law concerning work and dismissal is mandatory. This means that the employee is almost always protected by law, although there may be deviations from the legislation. Consequently, power imbalances between employers and employees are reduced. Despite clear legislation, conflicts between employees and employers, often related to dismissals, wage payments, and vacation days, are common. Seeking advice in these situations is advisable.

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Legal Assistance for Employees

The world of the Dutch employment law is complex, especially if you are not in it every day. Of course you never assume that you need legal assistance, but unfortunately you cannot always avoid it. Are you fired by your employer and do you need the services of a specialist? Feel free to contact us without any obligation.
The dismissal can be arranged in several ways. In many cases, an initial attempt will be made to terminate the collaboration between employer and employee by means of a settlement agreement also know as a termination agreement. This is often the best and fastest way to terminate an employment contract.

Unfortunately, it is by no means always possible to terminate an employment contract with a settlement agreement, for example because one of the parties permanently disagrees with the provisions included in the settlement agreement. There is still the option to make use of labor mediation. Does this also not yield the desired result? Then a dismissal procedure will have to be started at the UWV or the subdistrict court. We provide you with all important information about employment law and dismissal.

Understanding aspects of the Dutch legal framework is essential for anyone working or establishing a business in the Netherlands. This in-depth article outlines key features of Dutch employment law and regulations that govern the employer-employee relationship.

Employment Contracts: Terms and Conditions

The employment contract sets out the mutual rights and obligations between employers and wage-earners in the Netherlands. Dutch law distinguishes between two main types:

Open-Ended (Permanent) Contracts

The standard employment agreement is for an indefinite period. It can only be terminated through proper notice following statutory dismissal rules. Permanent contracts offer maximum job security.

Fixed-Term (Temporary) Contracts

Employment for a limited duration is also common. Under the guidelines set by the Dutch government, fixed-term contracts naturally conclude after the specified period unless both parties agree to renew the contract. Strict regulations limit long chains of back-to-back temp jobs.

Dutch employment legislation prescribes various minimum terms for lawful employment contracts, temporary or permanent. These conditions of employment entail:

  • Written documentation of essential employment conditions
  • Maximum probation period of two months
  • Minimum wage currently set at €1,756 per month
  • Paid annual leave entitlement equaling at least four times average weekly hours

Furthermore, the employment agreement must detail position responsibilities, workplace details, working hours regulation, and provisions for contract termination. Employers in the Netherlands often use standardized templates that incorporate additional company policies.

Our employment lawyers can help ensure employment contracts comply with Dutch employment laws and avoid unenforceable terms. Collective labor agreements negotiated through relevant trade unions can also impact individual employment regulation.

Termination of Employment

As in other countries, Dutch law distinguishes between different forms of dismissal and their consequences:

Termination by Mutual Consent

The employer and employee can jointly agree to end their employment contract through a termination agreement. Settlement conditions are negotiable but should meet statutory minima regarding notice period compensation.

Dismissal by the Employer

Companies can only unilaterally terminate permanent staff for specific fair grounds, including long-term illness, poor performance, culpable employee behavior, redundancy, or other altered business circumstances.

Strict procedural rules apply for dismissal in the Netherlands, starting with advance notice. The employer must receive prior approval for firing proposals from an authorized official body before serving termination notice.

Resignation by the Employee

Employees with open-ended contracts must continue employment during the notice period after submitting their resignation, unless the company agrees to release them earlier. The same procedures apply as for dismissal by the employer.

Breach of contract termination rules enables the aggrieved party to seek reinstatement or damages through the Dutch courts. Even absent legal violations, judges can override unfair treatment in individual cases.

End of Fixed-Term Contract

Limited duration employment automatically terminates once the end date is reached, holding some exceptions. If employment continues beyond the expiry date without objection, the law will presume an open-ended agreement has been reached.

Special Case: Termination Laws During Probation

Enhanced employer and employee rights apply to cancel contracts within the standard two-month trial period without advance notice or reason. However, very short probation periods can be an indicator of unlawful temporary employment attempts.

Protection Against Unfair Dismissal

Termination laws in the Netherlands balance employer flexibility interests against job security. Workers with two years of company service generally qualify for statutory transition compensation upon dismissal without real fault.

Calculation of dismissal pay is complex but based on age, tenure, and salary components. The employer’s size and industry through collective agreement norms also impact compensation.

Employees can challenge perceived unfair dismissal in the Dutch courts within two months, either for failing substantive validity tests or violating procedural requirements. Possible outcomes range from reinstatement to additional compensation.

For employers, the risk of litigation makes careful compliance essential when terminating contracts in the Netherlands. Severance talks should follow formal organizational procedures, document substantive justification, respect notice periods and support active job search efforts.

Working Hours, Leave and Time Off

Beyond hiring and firing regulations, Dutch law governs various other aspects of the employer-employee relationship.

Working Hours

The regular work week may not surpass 40 hours per week in the Netherlands on average within a 16-week reference period. Different limits can apply for sectors covered by collective agreement. All work beyond the standard hours counts as overtime.

Notable temporary changes enable a 60 hour work week for up to 26 weeks per year during exceptional circumstances after works council consent. Similar opt-out schemes apply in specific industries like healthcare.

Vacation Leave

Employees accrue paid annual leave at minimum rate of four times their average weekly working hours. For a regular full-time schedule, this amounts to 160 hours or 20 days per year. Dutch law caps leave accrual at five times the weekly hours.

Employers must allow staff to take vacation days accrued and plan their absence through a transparent system. Carrying leave forwards is restricted to six months into the next calendar year.

Public Holidays

The Netherlands has between 7 and 10 paid national public holidays per year depending on how weekends coincide. Typical days off include Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter and King’s Day.

Many companies offer additional free days by bridging weekends around the public holidays. Collective agreements can further increase statutory paid time off.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 16 weeks of job-protected pregnancy and maternity leave around childbirth, receiving at least 70% of regular pay. Partners may take up to five days’ paid paternity leave. Parents can also take six months of unpaid childcare leave until the child turns eight.

Sickness Leave

Dutch law obliges employers to pay out 70% of salary during the first two years of illness through private insurance or public schemes. Collective agreements often increase sick pay duration or amounts.

Detailed regulations cover return-to-work support processes, including trial placements and occupational health checks before regular duties can resume.

Other Leave Entitlements

Added provisions mandate paid or unpaid time off for reasons like urgent family matters, doctor visits, judicial proceedings, exercising voting rights, and performing union duties.

Special Considerations for Foreign Workers

Netherlands’ employment regulations also govern foreign employees, including specific work permit conditions for non-EU/EEA nationals.

EU/EEA Workers

Nationals from most European countries enjoy freedom of movement for accessing the Dutch labor market. Registration and residency formalities still apply during longer stays.

Third-Country Workers

Employing staff from outside the EU/EEA typically requires government-approved work permits tied to the sponsoring Dutch employer. Eligibility depends on salary, qualifications, labor market tests and more. Short-term business trips can use exemptions.

Posted Workers

The Netherlands has implemented the EU Posted Workers Directive governing temporary secondments from another Member State. This includes agency staffing. Additional regulations can supplement Dutch employment standards depending on posting duration.

For any business activities involving foreign workers, immigration law compliance is essential given increased enforcement efforts against unauthorized employment.

Feel Free To Contact Us Regarding Dutch Employment Law Issues

For legal disputes at work or information on your rights and obligations, contact the Employment Law Firm Netherlands. We offer advice and assistance in both collective and individual employment law, staying abreast of legislative changes.