Hiring and firing employees in the Netherlands

The Dutch rules for hiring and firing personnel are partly laid down in our Dutch Civil Code and partly explained in the judiciary of the Courts. It is quite easy to hire personnel, but it could be tricky to fire an employee.

Written contract is preferable under Dutch law

The Dutch employment law doesn’t require a written contract, but it would be wise to provide a written employment contract to the employee in order to avoid discussion about the arrangements. In my view, the employment agreement starts with defining the most important working conditions.

Another advantage of a written employment agreement is that both employer as employee can stipulate certain clauses, such as a trial period, non-competition, notification of termination, company secrecy, bonus regulation, salary, working hours, pension scheme, holidays etc.

The employment agreement may be drafted in another language, but realise this can lead to interpretation problems. Therefore, we would prefer an employment agreement in Dutch or English.

If the employee is working and living in The Netherlands then the Dutch law is probably applicable. In some cases this could be different if the employee is working in several countries. This depends on the specific circumstances of the situation. As a result parties may have to deal with the laws of various countries.

Because of the particular laws and regulations of each country, you cannot use the same employment contract in a different language. The employer would be well advised to draw up the employment contract in accordance with our Dutch law. Otherwise, some agreements or conditions could be invalid.

In The Netherlands it is also possible to agree with an employment contract for a definite or indefinite period. However, there is specific legislation relating to fixed-term employment contracts and employment contracts for an indefinite period. Added to this, Dutch law is constantly changing, so the employment contract should be revised from time to time.

Dismissal in the Netherlands

It is not always easy to dismiss an employee due to a mixture of legal requirements for dismissal.

Firstly, there should be a reasonable ground for ending the employment contract. The Dutch law mentions 8 reasons such as, sickness after two years, underperformance, economic circumstances, serious misconduct, frequently ill etc.

Secondly, there are different routes for termination. The most obvious solution is to end the employment contract by mutual consent with a termination agreement. This process is often accompanied by negotiations between both parties. Another way to end the employment contract is to ask for a dismissal permit with the Employee Insurance Agency (also known as the UWV). This is only possible if the employee is sick for more than two years or the employee is redundant due to economic, organizational or technical reasons. The last option is to ask the Courts for dissolution of the employment agreement based on other grounds like underperformance.

And thirdly, the employer will not receive permission of the UWV or the Courts to terminate the employment contract in case of a dismissal prohibition. For example, during pregnancy or sickness leave.

In short, there are many rules in the field of dismissal according to Dutch law. See for more information our other blog about dismissal in the Netherlands.

We are happy to advise you!

If you have any questions about these topics, our office in the Netherlands is happy to answer your questions and advise you further. We can do a quickscan of the employment agreement or provide a tailored employment agreement and – of course – we can be of assistance during a dismissal process.

Mail us: aantjes@aantjesadvocaten.nl or call: +31 614545793.

Do you have a question? We have the answer.


Aantjes Advocaten B.V.
Groot Hertoginnelaan 97
2517 EE Den Haag

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