Expats better protected by Dutch employment law

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Developments in Dutch case law over the past few years regarding the position of expats in the Netherlands has shown increasing protection for these workers. The most important increase in protection affects those who work in the Netherlands for a prolonged period of time.

Expats may become eligible for most of the same protective rules and regulations that apply to Dutch employees, if their position is similar.

In order to establish which additional protections an expat may have, it is important to know how the law protects Dutch employees.

In general, Dutch employment law is based on a premise of inequality of arms between an employer and an employee, which warrants compensation of this inequality by law.

The scope of protective measures exceeds the framework of this article, but this includes protection against (unfair) dismissal, during illness and working place conditions.

Arguably the most important for expats is the increasing protection against termination of employment - or the secondment agreement without application of Dutch employment law.

According to Dutch employment law, an employment agreement is considered to be concluded for an unlimited period of time if more than 3 fixed term agreements have been concluded or a fixed term agreement is (tacitly) continued exceeding a period of more than 36 months.

If this is the case, the Dutch employment agreement can in general only be terminated by notice after obtaining a dismissal permit from the labour office (UWVWerkbedrijf) or by dissolution by the Cantonal Judge.

Often expats have got a different contract structure, but if the actual situation resembles the above outlined situation, protection by Dutch employment law may sometimes be enforced as if the expat were a "local employee."

For expats it is therefore increasingly important to take note that if they feel they are treated differently than their Dutch colleagues, or are being terminated from their jobs, to determine whether their protection is not greater than is apparent from their contract. Dutch employment law may apply even if this is not self evident from the contract.

Ester de Vreede specialises in employment law and immigration law. For inquiries comment below and / or visit her law firm De Vreede Advocaten.

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Ester de Vreede


Ester de Vreede

Ester combines an extensive knowledge of employment law and immigration law, which proves to be an asset and of specific interest for highly skilled expats and companies that employ them....

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