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7 Things You Did Not Know About Dutch Employment Law

Categories: Latest News,Legal

Every country is different, and this also holds true in legal culture. Did you know that employees are protected against dismissal during sickness for a maximum of two years per sickness? Below you will find seven more peculiarities/oddities of Dutch employment law.

a woman working from home with her cat on the laptop

1. Work From Home? No Legal Right, With Some Exceptions

Even though many of us have experienced what it was like during Covid, there is no right to work from home. However, if the employer allows it, they must treat the staff equally: they cannot give permission to one employee and oblige the other (with comparable responsibilities, etc.) to come to the office.

2. Part-Time Work is a Right

Indeed, the Netherlands is one of the few countries where the right to work part-time exists. The employer may not refuse this unless he has compelling business interests. The fact that he has to find a replacement for the freed-up hours is not such an interest. It does not matter what the employee will do on his part-time day(s): write an interesting article, play with the kids, or clean the windows.

3. Wages Do Not Increase Automatically

Wages do not automatically increase with inflation, and there is no right to periodic wage increases. That sounds strict, but many companies still increase wages periodically, usually because they are covered by a collective labor agreement that obliges them to do so. Is there no collective labor agreement? Then, the parties will have to negotiate unless the individual employment contract provides for this.

Read Also: New Year, New… Employment Rules

4. Side Jobs Are Fine – Most of the Time

Since the summer of 2022, an employer may no longer ban side jobs unless they compete with the employer’s company or if there is a risk that an employee will be overworked as a result. So, you do not have to have the employer’s permission for a side job. Naturally, you cannot perform your side job during your paid working hours with the employer.

5. Probation Periods Have a Maximum of One or Two Months

During the probationary period, both parties can leave each other immediately (i.e. without a notice period) unless there is discrimination. It is, therefore, important that the probationary period should not last too long. The probationary period, thus, has a maximum of two months.

In the case of an employment contract for a maximum period of two years or for a fixed period but without a specific date, the maximum duration of the probationary period is one month. A preliminary period cannot be postponed or suspended. No written probation period = no probation period!

6. Non-Compete Clauses Are Often Enforced

Many employees sign their employment contract with a non-compete clause. They forget all about it until they wish to leave the company, and they are often surprised that the employer holds them to their non-compete clause. Keep in mind that employers often use this clause as a bargaining chip. A non-compete clause in a fixed-term contract is prohibited unless strict conditions are met. The good news is that Dutch law will soon change, meaning that non-compete clauses can no longer be easily included in an employment contract.

7. The Dutch Have a Unique Dismissal Law

Perhaps the most remarkable feature of Dutch employment is that the employer cannot dismiss anyone without prior approval of the UWV (the labor office, a governmental organization) or the cantonal judge. Moreover, the employer needs a legal reason to dismiss. That is why settlement agreements are so popular: parties can then part with each other with mutual consent, and going to the UWV or the court is not necessary.

a man packing his things after being dismissed from workk

If you are unsure about a successful outcome, please contact Flott.

On May 28 (7.00 -8.30 PM), I will discuss these and other matters live for Expat Republic. Admission is free. Keep an eye out on the ER website or LinkedIn. Don’t miss it!

For more information, please contact Ronald M. Beltzer, Attorney – Employment law specialist, at Flott Advocatuur.