Employment law

Dutch labour law contains extensive protections for employees. Still, expats should be aware of regulations and legislation. This can help you solve any conflicts that might arise more smoothly and swiftly.

Employment contracts

The Netherlands knows various types of contracts, but it applies to all employment contracts that the employer cannot simply fire you without a valid reason. If any case of force majeure should occur, like bankruptcy, you can receive benefits from the UWV, the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency. It will supply (part of) your income if your salary is suddenly cancelled.

We will now inform you about the main aspects of the different types of contract:

  • Employment contract of indefinite duration: of all the types of contract, this one offers the most financial security. An employer cannot just terminate the contract; unless there's grounds for an instant dismissal, the employer and employee come to a mutual agreement about termination of the contract, or the employee passes away. Employers can also fire their employees when the UWV has given them a license to do so, which always needs to have a valid reason of course. If a conflict arises that both parties cannot resolve, a ruling will be made by a judge. The judge will then decide if there's a valid reason for termination of the contract and what the consequence will be.
  • Fixed-term employment contract: employers have the option to offer the employee an employment contract for a fixed duration of time. Such a contract may not apply to a period longer than 24 months and it can only be extended twice before the employer has to convert it into a contract of indefinite duration. Also, the employer has to inform the employer about what will happen at the end of the current contract a month ahead of time. If the employer does not adhere to that rule, they will have to pay a fine.
  • Trial period: in most cases, the first few weeks of the first contract will be designated as a trial period. During that period, both the employer and the employee can terminate the agreement if they so wish. No notice needs to be given for such a termination, but it should be relayed beforehand. You can't just, for instance, stop showing up without telling anyone. The duration of the trial period should be set in writing. For a fixed-term employment contract with a duration of more than six months, the trial period lasts one month. For a two-year or indefinite contract, the trial period will last a maximum of two months. Did you sign a contract for a duration of less than six months? In that case there's no trial period.

Rules concerning illness

If an employee become incapacitated for work, i.e. they're unable to execute their duties because of illness, the employer is mandated to keep paying their salary. This applies to a period of two years and the salary payment needs to be at least 70% of the previous salary, with a maximum gross payment of €4400 per month. In most cases, 100% of the last earned salary is paid out during the first year of work disability.