for employers and employees

Labour law Netherlands

Our company has a team of specialists in Dutch employment labour law. On a daily basis, we assist international and expatriate employees with employment-related questions, such as entering into and terminating their employment contract, labour disputes and resignations. You are also at the right address with us when it comes to settlement agreements.

Furthermore, you are cordially invited to submit your employment question to our employment law specialist. We will gladly inform you about the possibilities and what we can do for you. If you have a positive feeling about our solutions, we will be happy to work with you as agreed. On this page you can find some basic information about the employment relationship.

The employment contract in the Netherlands may be concluded either verbally or in writing. A written employment contract may take the form of an agreement or a letter signed by both parties. In either case, the employer is obligated to inform the employee in writing of the conditions applicable to the employment contract. An employment contract may concluded for an indefinite term, a specified term (“a fixed-term contract”) or a specific task or project. As of 1 January 2015, the employer will be obliged to inform the employee at least one month before a fixed-term contract of six months or more ends of: (i) whether the contract will be continued and (ii) what conditions will apply to the continued employment.

You can agree a probationary period with your employer. Depending on your employment contract, this probationary period may last a maximum of 1 month or 2 months. A probationary period is a kind of introductory period. During this period, you and your employer can terminate the employment contract immediately. With a temporary contract of 6 months or less, your employer may not impose a probationary period.

Noncompetition clauses, applicable to a certain scope of activities in certain geographical areas and for a certain number of years, are common in the Netherlands. In order to validly restrict an employee from accepting competing employment after the termination of the employment contract, the noncompetition clause must be agreed upon in writing and signed by both parties. There are a large number of conditions that have to be taken into account in order for a non-compete clause to be legally valid. Such a clause often has far-reaching consequences for the freedom to work after the employment relationship has ended. If you have any questions about this, we advise you to contact us.

All employment contracts may be terminated at any time by mutual consent between the employer and the employee, with or without observance of the statutory or agreed-upon notice period and with or without payment of compensation to the employee. It is important for the employer to ensure that the employee’s consent to the agreement is explicit and unambiguous. Therefore, it is recommended that the employer enables the employee to seek legal advice in this respect, before accepting any offer for a termination of the employment contract. We can review the proposal for you free of charge. Check this page for more information or contact our labour law specialist directly.

If the employer and the employee do not reach agreement on the end of the employment contract, they can both start a dismissal procedure. The procedure to be followed, at the UWV or the subdistrict court, depends on the situation. Does your employer start a dismissal procedure? He can do this at the UWV or at the subdistrict court. Which procedure he starts depends on the reason for the dismissal.

If your employer applies for a dismissal permit at UWV Werkbedrijf (uwv.nl), he will request permission to terminate the employment contract. This is only possible if:

  • the business is in a bad economic condition (dismissal for business economic reasons), or
  • you have been ill for more than 2 years (dismissal due to long-term incapacity for work)

The UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) will inform you of your employer’s request for dismissal. You can defend yourself against this. Your employer can ask the subdistrict court to dissolve the employment contract:

  • in the event of personal circumstances (uwv.nl), such as dismissal due to dysfunction or a disrupted employment relationship (or a combination of personal circumstances).
  • after the UWV has refused a dismissal permit

You can wait for the hearing to tell your story orally. But you can also send a defence to the judge in advance. Your statement of defence or other documents you wish to rely on must be received at least 10 days before the hearing.