Notice period and dismissal
Applying the correct notice period is important when it comes to dismissal under Dutch labour law. A mistake could mean you (temporary) loose your entitlement to unemployment benefits. Here is how it works and what you should be aware of in case you resign or get dismissed.
What is a notice period?
The notice period is the duration from the moment you resign (employee initiative) or are dismissed (employer initiative) until your actual termination date. Dutch employment contracts that are terminated have a notice period that depends on the duration of your labour agreement. Even if there is no mention of a notice period in your contract, a statutory notice period of at least 1 month applies. There are exceptions based upon your contract type or the agreement that you've made. If you work for a Dutch employer, here is all you need to know about the (statutory) notice period and keep your unemployment benefits.
🔒 Notice period permanent contract
Do you have a permanent contract? Then your standard notice period is 1 month. This means that if you want to resign, you must cancel your contract 1 calendar month in advance. The notice period starts from the 1st of the following month.
Suppose you want to resign on March 1st, then you must give notice in writing before February 1st at the latest. You still have to work in February.
Longer notice period
You may agree upon a longer notice period with your employer. This extended notice period should be included in your contract though. Your notice period may never extend 6 months. Is your notice period longer than 1 month? Then your employer's notice period must be twice as long. Suppose you agree on a notice period of 4 months, then your employer must adhere to a notice period of 8 months.
Shorter notice period
You may agree on a shorter notice period with your employer as well, as long as this is stated in your collective labor agreement (cao). In that case, you don't need to have this clause included in your employment contract to be applicable.
⏲️ Notice period fixed-term contract
Do you have a fixed-term contract? For example, an employment contract for the duration of 12 months? Your contract will then automatically end on the agreed termination date. In this case you don't have a notice period at all.
Notification obligation fixed-term contract
Although you don't have to deal with a notice period when you're on a temporary contract, it's a bit different for your employer. If your fixed-term contract is longer than 6 months, your employer must inform you (in writing) at least 1 month before the end date if it wants to renew your contract. This is called aanzegverplichting in Dutch. There is no exact English translation, but it comes down to a notification obligation.
Compensation without notification
If your employer doesn't inform you in time whether or not your fixed-term employment contract (of 6 months or longer) will be continued, he then owes you a compensation of 1 month's salary. Did your employer comply to the notification obligation, but was he too late? Then he owes a proportionate compensation.
For example: if your employer is one week late, this means compensation of one week's salary. This compensation is not due in case of bankruptcy, deferral or application of the debt restructuring scheme for natural persons.
Resign earlier with fixed-term contract
A fixed-term contact starts and ends on previously agreed dates. You are not allowed to resign earlier, unless you have included an interim termination clause in your employment contract. It that is the case, you can terminate your contract sooner.
⚠️ Notice period exceptions
As you might have expected, there are some exceptions to giving notice. In some occasions a notice period doesn't apply or gets extended.
No notice period
In the occasions below, you and/or your employer don't have to give notice:
Extended notice period
In some cases, the statutory notice period may be extend for older employees:
What is my statutory notice period?
In case you are drafting a settlement agreement, both you and your employer should apply the correct notice period. Here is how it works with the statutory notice period.
The applicable notice period is usually included in your employment contract. If there is no reference to it or if your contract refers to the statutory notice period, the correct amount of notice depends on your length of service. The longer you have been employed, the longer the statutory notice period for your employer gets.
These longer statutory notice periods don't apply for you as an employee. That is always limited to 1 month, regardless of the duration of your service.
Settlement agreement check
Have you just received a settlement agreement or are you willing to resign based on mutual consent? Have our labour lawyers perform a basic check to find out what's missing or should be improved. That doesn't cost you anything.
Questions about the notice period
Most of the employees that are confronted with dismissal (and a notice period) are looking for answers to the questions below.
What is statutory notice period?
In case there is no notice period in your employment contract or it refers to the statutory notice period, the correct amount of notice depends on your length of service. The longer you've been employed, the longer the statutory notice period becomes. The length varies between 1 and 5 months.
What is the difference between notice period and information obligation?
The notice period (opzegtermijn) is the duration between your resignation or dismissal date and the termination date of your employment contract. Depending on your contract type, it applies to you and your employer. The information obligation (aanzegtermijn) is the obligation of your employer to inform you wether it wants to renew your temporary contract. It only applies to fixed-term contract longer than 6 months.
Does my fixed-term contract have a notice period?
No, there is no notice period for fixed-term contracts. The contract ends on a fixed date. In case your contract extends the duration of 6 months, your employer has the information obligation to inform you wether it wants to renew your contract.
Can my employer change my notice period?
It is possible to change the length of the notice period. However, a shorter (than statutory) notice period may only be done if the Collective Labour Agreement (cao) for your sector allows it. If no provision has been made and no cao is applicable, the statutory notice period will apply. The notice period of your employer should be at least twice as long as yours.
What is the maximum notice period?
The maximum notice period for an employee is 6 months. A longer notice period only applies if it is explicitly stated in the contract of employment. If your notice period is more than 1 month, your employer's notice period should at least be twice as long.
Can I get compensation if my employer fails to give the correct notice period?
Yes, you can. It may result in a compensation that amounts to what you should have earned had the regular (correct) notice period been applied.
Is there info about the notice period for employers?
We only provide legal advise for employees. More information from the Dutch government about the notice period for employers or entrepeneurs, can be found here: https://business.gov.nl/regulation/notice-period/.
Does a shorter notice period apply to a dismissal permit?
Your employer may deduct the period in which UWV processed the dismissal application from the notice period. The treatment period starts on the date on which UWV receives a complete dismissal application and ends on the date on which the dismissal permit is issued. The condition for deducting this period is that there is at least 1 month's notice period remaining. This term is also included in the dismissal permit.
Free legal advice about notice period
We are happy to check your notice period or advise you about your (intended) dismissal. You can call us free of charge. If you fill out the form below, we will call you back at an appropriate time.