Dutch employment law: changes with effect from 1 July 2015


With effect from 1 July 2015…


… the rule as to successive fixed-term contracts is 3 x 2 x 6

The maximum number of fixed-term contracts that can be entered into successively remains to be 3. However, the maximum duration of such contracts will be 2 years. If the maximum duration will be exceeded, after 2 years, the last contract in the series will automatically become a contract for an indefinite period of time. In case of an interruption of more than 6 months in the series of contracts, a new series will start, and counting can re-start from 1.

… there are statutory grounds for dismissal

The law mentions 8 grounds for dismissal. These grounds contain strict conditions. Only if all of the conditions for one of the grounds have been fulfilled, dismissal will be possible. For example, a dismissal due to non-performance requires an action plan aimed at improved performance. In addition, in all cases, the employer has to demonstrate that the employee cannot be reassigned to an alternative suitable position.

… the dismissal route is fixed

The ground for dismissal determines the dismissal route. As a result, employers are no longer free to choose the dismissal route they prefer. The UWV may only judge dismissal requests that are based on economic reasons or in case of long-term incapacity for work. The court will be competent in all other cases.

… the employee who is ill, will remain employed in case of a reorganisation

During illness, an employer cannot give notice of termination for economic reasons. It is no longer possible to alternatively have the employment contract terminated by the court.

… the termination agreement is laid down in statutory provisions

The termination by mutual consent, a termination agreement, is provided for by law. One of the rules that applies in this respect is that an employee can cancel the termination agreement in writing within 2 weeks, without having to state his reasons. If this possibility has not been provided for in the termination agreement, the period during which the agreement can be cancelled, will be extended to 3 weeks.

… the system of severance payments is changed

The court formula is no longer applicable. Employees have a statutory right to a severance payment, being the so-called transition allowance. Each employee who has been employed for 2 years or more and who has to leave the company involuntarily is entitled to such transition allowance. The dismissal route is irrelevant in this respect. In case of a termination agreement, the employer is not obliged to pay the transition allowance, but in the negotiations this will often be the starting point. The level of the transition allowance will in most cases be 1/3 monthly salary per year of service. In highly exceptional situations (‘serious imputable acts or omissions on the part of the employer’), the court can grant supplementary compensation. The level of such compensation will be determined by the court.

… appeal and cassation will be possible

It will be possible to appeal against the decision of the UWV and the court decision in termination proceedings.



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