Dismissed! But have you been given the right notice period?

Dismissed! But have you been given the right notice period?

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Projob is a recruitment and career coaching agency with a focus on expats. Projob works with local and international companies, professionals and freelancers.

Whether you have been dismissed because of a reorganisation, bankruptcy, new technological developments etc., it is important to remember it can happen to anyone. It is often a distressing experience, and it can be even more so when you are not sure if it's being handled in the right way.

Each country has its own rules when it comes to dismissals, including the Netherlands. What are they? When and how should an employee be given notice?

Dismissed? A notice period applies!

If you work in the Netherlands, you will have signed an employment contract. This can be a temporary or permanent contract. Despite what kind of contract you have, if you are going to be dismissed, a notice period will apply.

Permanent contracts

When you have a permanent employment contract, there will be a notice period you and your employer have to adhere to. This notice period is stated in your contract or there will be a referral in your contract to the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) of the sector you work in.

How much notice an employer has to give an employee depends on how long the employee has worked for him or her. The maximum notice period is four months. The statutory notice period is one month.

It is possible that you and your employer have agreed upon a longer or shorter notice period. If so, this will be stated explicitly in your contract.

Does your work fall under a CAO? Your employer can only choose a shorter notice period if the CAO allows it.

It works both ways

Don’t forget that notice periods go both ways; if you plan to leave your job, you have to give your employer notice too.

You might not think that this is applicable to you if you are being dismissed, but if you agreed to give your employer a specific notice period, your employer must honour a period which is twice as long.

So, if you have to give your employer two months’ notice, your employer has to give you four months’ notice. The maximum notice period for employees is six months.

What if there is no notice period mentioned in my contract?

If there is no mention of a notice period in your contract, and there is no CAO applicable, the minimum statutory notice period of one month applies.

What if my employer hasn’t given me the correct notice period?

If you have not been given enough notice, you might be entitled to compensation. The compensation will amount to what you would have earned if the regular notice period had been applied. 

It is up to a court of law to mitigate this amount or not. They should at least grant a minimum of 3 months based on the statutory notice period. A court of law may also grant full compensation.

When is my employer not obliged to give notice?

There are a few exceptions:
- In the case of instant dismissal (due to unacceptable behaviour)
- In the case of immediate resignation (own choice)
- In case your dismissal happens during your trial period.

Temporary contracts

If you have a temporary contract with a duration of at least 6 months, your employer must inform you in advance if it will be extended or not.

If your employer fails to do so and ends your contract at the end of the fixed period, you are entitled to receive compensation of one month’s salary (gross) or the appropriate pro-rata amount.

Recruitment agencies

A reliable agency will work with the CAO of the ABU or the NBBU. If they offer you a temporary contract, it will be based on the rules of one of these collective labour agreements.

Be aware of the fact that the longer you work for the same agency, a notice period towards you might be applicable.

Know the rules

If you are being dismissed, you may have to deal with other rules and procedures in addition to the notice period. Always make sure you are well-informed!

Els Brouwer is Chief Content & Innovation Officer at Projob. She has been working with expats and international companies for over 10 years.

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Els Brouwer


Els Brouwer

Els has been working for more than twenty years in the recruitment sector and now at Projob, an agency that offers not only recruitment but also careercoaching. She is responsible...

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