Even though the Dutch economy is growing again, many companies are still dismissing employees. Godelijn Boonman highlights the top 8 things to consider when confronted with dismissal.
An employer cannot terminate a permanent contract without your agreement. Nor can he or she terminate a temporary contract prior to its scheduled date of completion. Only the UWV or the cantonal court can give permission to end a contract if parties are unable to reach an agreement.
If you have in employment for two years or more, an employer must pay compensation for the dismissal. This is known as the transitional statutory allowance. During the first ten years of employment, this amounts to 1/6 of the monthly salary per every six full months of employment. After 10 years, the compensation increases. The compensation is then 1/4 of the monthly salary per every six full months that the contact continues after the initial ten years.
Since January 1, 2017 the maximum transitional allowance is €77.000,00 gross or, if more, the total of one yearly salary. There are a few exceptions for employees older than 50 and working for the bigger companies or companies with less than 25 employees.
3. Reasonable grounds
An employer must have reasonable grounds to end the agreement and must also have tried to find another suitable position within the company before suggesting termination. If both are not the case, and you do want to agree to a proposed dismissal, be sure to negotiate a higher compensation than the transitional allowance. It is likely that your employer will be willing to pay more because the UWV or a court will not grant permission for dismissal.
4. Period of notice
An employer must take the notice period into account when ending an agreement. The notice period depends on how long you were employed:
- Less than 5 years: one month notice;
- Between 5 and 10 years: 2 months notice;
- Between 10 and 15 years: 3 months notice.
- For 15 years or longer, you must be given four months notice. The employment agreement should not end until that period has been taken in to account. The notice period commences on the date the parties reach an agreement.
5. Garden leave
Try to agree upon garden leave during the notice period. Garden leave entails that you continue to receive your salary without working. You then also have time to look for other work.
6. Non-competition clause
Make sure a non-compete or a business relations clause is waived in the agreement.
7. Vacation days
Employers tend to not want to pay outstanding vacations days so be careful and plan to use your vacation days if possible.
Finally, an employee has the right to dissolve the agreement within 14 days.
Get legal advice
We suggest that you seek legal advice when confronted with dismissal. Do not be too afraid of legal fees. Most employers are willing to compensate at least part of these fees and our lawyers know whether an employer stands a chance in court. The wording of the termination agreement itself is also important to ensure entitlement to unemployment benefits.
Godelijn experienced an international upbringing and education as an expat child living in Africa and England. Back in The Netherlands, she studied law at the University of Utrecht (1990). She then embarked on her legal career as a lawyer by working 10 years for the well-known law firm of ‘Wladimiroff en Spong Advocaten’. In 2000 she joined GMW lawyers as a partner and is the head of the Labour law and Pension section.
Godelijn specialises in international employment law and has extensive experience in dealing with both non-contentious and contentious international employment matters including (collective) redundancy packages and dismissal. She works for both companies and individual employees, enabling her to keep an open mind to both sides of a case. Naturally she helps her clients when a problem has arisen, but prefers to act before an escalation has taken place. Advice on a fair Human Resource policy is an essential part of her work.
Godelijn Boonman is considered to be the undoubted employment specialist for the expat community because she is bilingual, has a large international clientele and a wealth of experience in international employment law matters. She is therefore frequently asked to be the key note speaker at international seminars.
Godelijn has a keen interest in the international community and has been a member of the advisory board of ACCESS and the Women’s Business Initiative International since its beginning.