Just started a new job in the Netherlands? Or maybe you are wondering whether to accept a new contract? Expert labor law expert Gadelin Bunman of GMW Lawyers shares her advice on evaluating and understanding the new employment agreement.
So you have been offered a new job in the Netherlands in 2022. The position sounds good, the conditions sound reasonable and you are happy to accept. Now you need to check the contract before signing it. The only problem is that you may not know much about Dutch labor law, so it’s hard for you to understand what each point means for your rights.
Know the type of contract, know your rights
The first thing you need to find out is a fixed-term contract (temporary) or an indefinite contract (permanent). It determines what rules will apply to your employment – and thus determines your rights.
If your contract has an expiration date, it is a temporary contract. The maximum duration of a temporary contract is usually three years.
Start well: trial period
If your contract provides for a probationary period (probationary period), then you or your new employer may terminate your employment during the probationary period without giving reasons. The probationary period must be agreed in writing.
Contracts with a term of less than six months may not include a probationary period. Temporary contracts for a period of more than six months may include a probationary period of no more than one month. Permanent contracts may include a probationary period of no more than two months.
Between: conditions and changes
Your contract, together with any applicable general terms and conditions or collective agreement, stipulates the terms on which you agree to work. This includes key information such as the location of your workplace, your salary, working hours, job title and pay schedule.
In the Netherlands you also want to check:
Employees working full-time must be given a minimum of 20 days off per year, excluding public holidays.
Holiday money (Vacation help)
Eight percent of your annual salary is reserved as “vacation money”. This amount can be paid annually or otherwise, but it should always be mentioned.
Clause on unilateral change
If your terms of employment contain a clause on unilateral changes, then your employer may change the terms of your employment without your prior consent. Since this may include topics such as changing the location of your workplace or the company’s requirements for crown vaccination, this is very relevant. Note that this is not easy to do for an employer. Although the contract has this clause, the employer must meet strict conditions before they can unilaterally change your contract.
Ends well: notice and termination
Be sure to check the provisions of your contract regarding the terms of notification and termination.
Deadlines for notification
Unless otherwise specified, the notice period for an employee is one calendar month. If you have been working for less than five years, your employer’s standard notice period will also be one month. Note that different notice periods may be agreed, but the notice period for the employer must be twice as long as for the employee, a maximum of six months for the employee and therefore 12 months for the employer.
Temporary employment contracts are terminated on the date of their expiration. Perpetual contracts can only be terminated by: dismissal of an employee, by mutual agreement on dismissal, by dismissal of UWV / court, or by dismissal on short notice (dismissal on the spot).
If your employment agreement includes clauses about non-competition, business or partnership, try to agree on this in advance; they may limit your future capabilities.
If you need help evaluating your new employment agreement, seek the help of a team of GMW lawyers from English-speaking employment lawyers. Call 070 361 5048 or ask your question online.