Dutch Employment Law for Expats


Employment Law / Dutch Labour Law  for expats in The Netherlands

Employment Law / Dutch Labour Law for expats in The Netherlands





Dutch employment lawyer in Amsterdam

Our Dutch Employment Law attorneys (lawyers) in Amsterdam have experience in dealing with legal matters for expats / expatriates including employment issues in The Netherlands. Our lawyers can help you understanding peculiarities of Dutch  Law. If you are facing an employment legal matter, our Amsterdam employment lawyers are ready to help. Labour & Employment laws in The Netherlands can change drastically. The law firm WS in Amsterdam is specializing in advice on Dutch labour law, Employment Law and work related problems.  We provide pragmatic solutions to Dutch employment law issues faced by expats and foreign companies employing staff in The Netherlands.

Call our employment lawyers: 0031 20 – 522 1999 

Expat employers will often recruit staff and deploy them overseas. Our Amsterdam based labour law attorneys have a broad experience in advising and litigating on employment matters, which means we bring multiple perspectives and a wealth of experience to every case. The advocates of our law firm in Amsterdam practise across the whole spectrum of jurisdictions. Our goal is to resolve work related problems through a tactful negotiation, if possible, and by decisive litigation when it is not.

Tailored, prompt and cost-effective legal advice to expats living in The Netherlands

Our Amsterdam attorneys represent and advise expats and foreign companies on a wide variety of Labour Law and Employment Law issues. We focus on advising and litigating in the areas of:

Should you find yourself in need of help on any of these matters, WS Lawyers will be able to help you.

Dutch Employment Law for ExpatsEmployment contracts in The Netherlands

The main legal distinction is between fixed-term and open-ended employment contracts. Some fixed-term contracts may automatically become an open-ended contract after a certain period (2 years) or a certain number of renewals (3). Also on-call employment contracts (‘flex-contracts’) are possible for expats, like: 0-hours, on-call or ‘min-max’ employment contracts.

Expats with on-call contracts may demand an open-ended contract if the contract in practice shows a fixed work pattern. Both parties are free to include any clauses on which they agree in the employment contract, except for those contrary to the mandatory provisions of the laws and regulations. Many expats are subject to collective agreements (CAO, company agreements) which cover benefits and working conditions. There is a significant number of company agreements. The Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment is entitled to issue a decree to make a CAO ‘generally binding’ on all companies in a specific sector.

What is different about Dutch employment law: employee rights

Expats in the Netherlands are protected by various complex laws and regulations: Dutch Labour Law offers a high degree of protection for expats in The Netherlands, including protection with regards to safety, statutory national minimum wage, sick pay, maternity and pregnancy rights, transfers of undertakings, insolvency, data protection, holiday entitlement and restrictions on working hours (with particular restrictions for night workers). The employer is obliged by law to pay a holiday allowance worth at least 8% of annual pay.

An expatriate almost always enjoys a right at least to the minimum of local protections/benefits of the Netherlands.  Employers are obliged to act as a “good employer”. The employment/labour laws of the Netherlands apply even if the expatriate labor agreement has a choice-of-law clause. The employer should, in most cases, respect Dutch and international law.

30% tax ruling for employees from abroad to work in the Netherlands

The 30% ruling is a Dutch tax exemption for employees who are hired abroad to work in the Netherlands. 30% of the salary (‘regular employment income’) may be paid as a tax-free allowance, a compensation for the expenses as result of working outside the home country. Certain conditions must bemet, like: the employee works for a Dutch company that is registered with the Dutch tax office and pays payroll tax; The employee needs to have expertise that is scarcely available in the Netherlands; and employer and employee have agreed in writing (employment contract) that the 30% ruling is applicable. The maximum duration of the 30% tax ruling is 5 years.
This means that the salary will be reduced by a maximum of 30%. In return the employee will receive this percentage as a reimbursement for expenses. The salary must be at least €37,000.
This taxable income has implications for potential unemployment or disability benefits form the UWV, since benefits are based on the taxable salary.
This ruling will end if the employment contract is terminated, but also if the employee is exempted from work, like garden leave.

Works council

Dutch enterprises with more than 50 employees must set up a works council (ondernemingsraad, OR) with employees’ representatives. A works council has extensive consultation and information rights.

Dutch Employment Law for Expats amsterdamWays of terminating employment in the Netherlands: Dutch dismissal law

The Dutch labour law system for dismissal is very protective of expats. According to Dutch dismissal law, dismissals can be performed only in the cases expressly provided by the Dutch Labor Code and under observance of the procedure stipulated by the respective provisions.

An impartial body (UWV or District Court) must first decide if dismissal on other grounds is allowed.

The grounds for dismissal according to Dutch dismissal law are:

  • enforced redundancy or redundancy on grounds of long-term incapacity (UWV; Dutch Employee Insurance Agency – public employment office);
  • dismissal on personal or behavioural grounds: poor performance, frequent sickness absence, culpable conduct, disturbed working relations (Dutch District Court – Cantonal Court). If the Cantonal court finds that sufficient grounds exist, it may dissolve the employment contract.

Termination Agreement / Settlement Agreement

Employment contracts (definite or indefinite term, on-call contracts) may also be terminated by:

  • mutual consent (settlement agreement or termination agreement);
  • termination during the probationary period;
  • by instant dismissal for ‘urgent reasons’ (dismissal on the spot), such as fraud, for which termination can take place immediately without compensation (also: theft, drunkenness, violence, threats, deception, harassment). The employee must be informed immediately of the reasons for the instant dismissal;
  • non-renewal of a fixed-term contract.

A Termination Agreement means that employer and expats have reached an amicable end to the working relationship. A Termination Agreement (Termination Agreement, Settlement Agreement, Employment Exit Agreement, Compromise Agreement, Employment Separation Agreement) outlines the terms of this deal. Exit agreements are offered in The Netherlands to employees when they are being made redundant or in case of involuntarily unemployment. In case of a Termination Agreement, the employee will have two weeks to withdraw consent.

Statutory notice period in the Netherlands

The employer must observe the applicable notice period when terminating the employment relationship. If there is no written employment contract and no collective employment agreement, the period of notice is regulated by the Dutch Civil Code, Book 7, Article 672. The length of the notice period for an employer depends on the duration of the employment contract, with a maximum of 4 months:

  • 1 month for less than five years of service;
  • 2 months for service between five and less than 10 years;
  • 3 months for 10–14 years of service;
  • 4 months for 15 or more years of service.

Our independent Amsterdam Employment Solicitor (attorney) can assist you with termination agreements to terminate an employment agreement by mutual consent.

Dutch Employment Law for Expats amsterdamDutch Employment Law for expats: redundancy pay and transition compensation (Severance benefits)

The transitional severance pay (“transitievergoeding”) was introduced in 2015 in Dutch dismissal law. The “judge’s formula” (“kantonrechtersformule”) does not apply anymore in proceedings.

The transition compensation (redundancy compensation, statutory severance payment or dismissal compensation) should compensate employees for costs such as costs for scholing or outplacement and their loss of earnings. This is available to all employees who have an employment contract that lasted for at least two years ore more. The amount of a transition compensation is calculated using a formula based on:

  • age;
  • how long the expat has worked for the employer;
  • monthly pay.

Proceedings in Dutch Employment Law

Our labor lawyers represent both employers and expats in disputes and negotiations. If a trial is necessary, we work to present your case in a way that maximizes your chance to win. In some cases, according to Dutch dismissal law, a court case will be required for a specific labour conflict:

  • summary proceedings
  • or a procedure on the merits.

This might involve:

  • expulsion / suspension [schorsing / op non actiefstelling],
  • discharge [ontslag],
  • workplace conflict
  • performance issues
  • salary problems
  • wrongful termination, unlawful termination
  • the Permanent Invalidity Benefit Act.

Unfairly laid off?

If you believe you have been unfairly laid off, you should contact WS Lawyers in Amsterdam. 

Dutch Employment Law for Expats amsterdamContact our Dutch Attorney focused on Employment Law for Expats and foreign companies

Get an answer from a lawyer that specializes in your issue. Our lawyer in Amsterdam has extensive experience with international clients, and will advocate on your behalf with strong and knowledgeable legal counsel. For further information about Dutch Dismissal Law, Dutch Employment and Labour Law for expats, please contact our Employment Contract lawyer in Amsterdam: 0031 20 5221999


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