As of 1 July 2015, new Dutch labour laws may result in some changes to the way you hire and dismiss personnel. More specifically:
- Changes affecting temporary personnel (Flexwet).
- Changes in regulations regarding the dismissal of employees (Ontslagrecht).
Changes affecting employees on temporary contracts
- Number of fixed term contracts.
From 1 July 2015, a new law will come into effect (Flexwet), which aims to limit the gap between flexible and permanent employment. Hiring the same employee for more than two years on consecutive temporary contracts is no longer permitted. After two years of temporary contracts, or when a 4th contract is offered, the presented new contract must be of a permanent nature. It is only possible to prevent a change from a temporary to a permanent contract if there is a man- datory period of at least six months between the two contracts. Otherwise it is legally viewed as one contract with consecutive days. Prior to 1 July 2015, this mandatory period is three months.
- Probation Period.
As of 1 January 2015, it is no longer permissible to include a trial or probation period of one month as part of a temporary contract that is of a maximum duration of six months. This also applies to consecutive contracts. For fixed-term contracts lasting longer than six months, it remains possible to include a probation period.
- Announcement of termination for fixed-term contracts.
A temporary contract of six months or more must have a notice period of one month. This means that a fixed- term contract does not automatically expire. You as
an employer are required to take action to terminate the contract by providing sufficient notification to the employee.
Changes regarding the dismissal of employees
- Dismissal route.
Prior to 2015, the dismissal of any employee was audited by the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency) or the district court in regards to whether the dismissal was legally valid. As of 1 January 2015, employers can only opt for one dismissal route and which route is taken depends on the specific reason for the dismissal. In a case where you dismiss your employee for (business) economic reasons or if the dismissed employee has been long-term occupationally disabled (minimum of two years), it is necessary to work with the UWV to terminate the contract. Dismissal for any other reason must be handled by the district court.
- Consideration period after mutual termination agreement.
It remains possible for an employer and employee to mutually agree to a dismissal. The termination agree- ment has to be offered in writing. The employee then has a cooling-off period of 14 days in which they can change their mind. It is mandatory for the employer to notify the employee of this cooling-off period.
- Severance transition budget (compensation).
As of 1 January 2015, another change to dismissal law relates to severance pay. Irrespective of the termination route, the government stipulates that permanent and temporary employees who are dismissed must be awarded a ‘transition budget’. This replaces the previous severance payments. The employee can use this budget, for example, for training or assistance to transfer to another job.
For more in-depth information in Dutch, please see: www.ondernemersplein.nl/wetswijzi- ging/hervorming-ontslagrecht.