Dismissal law in the Netherlands 2020
2020-07-29 | By Godelijn Boonman
While headlines have been dominated by the Coronavirus outbreak, you may have missed a key change in Dutch employment law that has consequences for your rights when it comes to dismissal.
A new act called the Balanced Labour Market Act (Wet Arbeidsmarkt in Balans, hereafter WAB) has been in effect since 1 January 2020. If you work in the Netherlands, the WAB may change your rights as an employee.
Temporary employment contract
If your employment contract has an end date, then it is a temporary employment contract. The WAB will not change your rights regarding dismissal – but it delivers two important changes:
- The maximum number of consecutive temporary employment contracts has changed. From 1 January 2020, a maximum of three consecutive contracts is allowed.
- From 1 January 2020, employers will (in general) have to pay transitional compensation at the end of an employment contract that has lasted fewer than 24 months.
Permanent employment contract
If your contract has no end date, then it is a permanent contract and the grounds for dismissal have changed. From 1 January 2020, an employer can dismiss you using the so-called “i-ground”.
Until now, there were only eight reasonable grounds for dismissal in the Netherlands, and these could not be combined. The WAB now allows employers to combine certain grounds to make a cumulative case to end a permanent employment contract using the new “i-ground”.
Grounds for dismissal in 2020:
- Headcount reduction for business reasons (redundancy)
- Long-term disability (more than two years)
- Frequent and disruptive absence relating to sickness
- Incapacity to perform contracted work other than for a medical reason (e.g. poor performance)
- Serious misbehaviour
- Refusal to perform contractual duties for moral reasons (conscientious objections)
- A working relationship that has broken down so badly that the employer cannot reasonably be required to continue the relationship
- Other reasons such that it cannot reasonably be expected that the employer should continue the employment relationship (such as detention or difference of opinion between directors and shareholders)
- Combination of grounds c-h which, when combined, form a compelling case for dismissal.
If your employment is terminated according to the “i-ground”, be aware that you may be entitled to higher transitional compensation.
About the author
Godelijn Boonman is an expert in international employment law at GMW lawyers and a contributor to Legal Expat Desk. Godelijn advises and litigates for individuals, companies and organisations, both local and international. A bilingual expat herself who grew up in Africa and England, Godelijn Boonman is considered an employment law specialist for the international community in the Netherlands and is a member of the advisory board of ACCESS.