The seven things to check in your new employment contract

Godelijn Boonman

You got a new job or maybe you’re extended an existing position. That means a new employment contract. Before you sign at the bottom, check out these seven things:

1. Is the contract temporary or permanent? Go for permanent if possible. Dutch law offers a great deal of protections to permanent employees. An employer cannot terminate a permanent contract unilaterally. It needs consent from the employee or prior permission from the cantonal judge or UWV. If permanent contract isn’t possible, then remember that the maximum period for a temporary contract is two years and, in that period, a maximum of three temporary contracts are permitted.

2. Is there a trial period? If so, an employer can dismiss you without giving a reason. However, a trial period is not permitted in a temporary contract which is for less than six months and for a temporary contract that is longer, the trial period may only be a month. If the contract is a permanent one, the maximum length of the trial period is two months. This must be agreed upon in writing.

3. The notice period for an employer who wants to end an employment contract depends on the years of employment. If you’ve worked for less than five years it is one month, between five and ten years it is two months, between ten and 15 years: three months and more than 15 years: four months. An employee’s notice period is, in principle always, one month. An employer may agree upon another notice period but an employer’s notice period must always be twice that of the employee’s and has a maximum of six months. This notice period has to be taken into account when an agreement is terminated by an employer.

4. Your salary should always include 8% mandatory vacation money.

5. You must be given a minimum of 20 vacation days, excluding national holidays.

6. Don’t just sign a contract with non-compete or non-solicitation clauses. Once agreed upon, the clauses are binding and can be a great nuisance when one wants to leave for greener pastures. Ideally, do not agree to these clauses. And note that they are not allowed in a temporary contract unless the employer can demonstrate a need for them.

7. If you have two years of service, and the employer wants to terminate the contract, severance must be paid. This is known as a transition allowance. This has changed in recent years and this allowance is far lower than the cantonal court formula which was previously the rule. So, try to negotiate a golden parachute if you are in position to do so. You should aim for something like a month or more of salary for each year of service.

Are you unsure if you’ve negotiated for the best arrangements for you in your employment contract? You can contact one of our specialised employment lawyers.

 

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