8 ways to lose your job in the Netherlands

9 Ways to lose your job in Holland

As an expat, the most common reason to move to a new land is work – but which country will protect your rights in the workplace when you are there? Expat employment specialist Godelijn Boonman explains what makes the Netherlands a great choice for international workers.

This post was reviewed and updated on 23 September 2020

For anyone who has moved country to follow their career, the thought of losing that job due to dismissal is a nightmare. What you may not realise when choosing your new homeland is that the laws of the country you move to will determine your rights in the workplace.

How safe is my job in the Netherlands?

Employees enjoy very strong legal protection under Dutch law. In fact, an employee in the Netherlands with a permanent contract can only be dismissed with permission from either a judge or the UWV (Employees Insurance Agency), and for an employer to get that permission is not easy.

An employer needs to have reasonable grounds to dismiss someone. They also need to prove that they have tried to move the employee into another role in the company.

There are only 9 ways to lose your job in Holland

In the Netherlands, there are only 9 reasonable grounds that an employer can use to justify dismissing an employee on a permanent contract.

These are:

  1. Headcount reduction for business reasons (redundancy)
  2. Long-term disability (more than two years)
  3. Frequent and disruptive absence relating to sickness
  4. Incapacity to perform contracted work other than for a medical reason
  5. Serious misbehaviour
  6. Refusal to perform contractual duties for moral reasons (conscientious objections)
  7. A working relationship that has broken down so badly that the employer cannot reasonably be required to continue the relationship
  8. Other reasons such that it cannot reasonably be expected that the employer should continue the employment relationship.
  9. Combination of grounds c-h which, when combined, form a compelling case for dismissal.

Facing dismissal?

If you are employed in the Netherlands and you are facing dismissal, then you would be wise to consult an employment law expert.

More information?

Learn more about termination and dismissal in the Netherlands. Get the new white paper: When to call a lawyer about work


This feature was originally published in ACCESS magazine