Resignation and Dutch law

Are you considering resignation? On this page we'll explain how to resign under Dutch law. We provide tips to prevent losing legal rights, keep your unemployment benefits and negotiate about your severance payment.

Resignation under Dutch law
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Why would you resign yourself?

You don't like your job anymore, you can't get along with certain colleagues, you experience physical complaints or you are just fed up with your employer. All of these situations could be reasons to resign yourself. Since employees are well protected under Dutch labor law, it is quite easy to submit your resignation and terminate your employment contract.

It is however important to take some things into account. A strong legal position allows negotiation of dismissal conditions like a severance payment. In addition, you must ensure that you remain entitled to a subsequent unemployment benefit.

Reasons for resignation

I have found a new job;
I want additional compensation;
I can't get along with my boss or a colleague;
I feel undervalued in my current role;
My company is restructuring;
I want to go back to school;
My values don't align with the company culture;
I want to change career paths;
I have to leave due to family or personal reasons;
I will be dismissed / laid off / let go.

How to resign professionally

In Hollywood movies you resign in the following way: you shout that you're quitting, grab some stuff from your desk, slam the door and never come back. In practice, it's clever to terminate your employment contract in a slightly different manner.

It takes preparation, tact and professionalism to resign from your job on good terms. If you're using the correct etiquette when resigning, that can strengthen your reputation as a trustworthy and considerate professional. Doing so, it helps you to position you strongly for your next career move. Find out how to resign gracefully in these 9 steps.

Resignation is always awkward. It's important to maintain a positive relationship with former colleagues though. And a positive reference from your old boss could prove to be very valuable for a future employer.

Resigning gracefully in 9 steps

1. Get free legal advice from a labour lawyer

Start by seeking free legal advice from a labour lawyer. That isn't meant to end up in a legal wrangling, but to make sure you're taking the right steps. There is a good change you're better off by negotiating about dismissal by mutual consent. By resigning yourself, you waive your right to unemployment or sickness benefits. And you're not entitled to a transition compensation.

2. Honour your notice period

Check your employment contract or employee manual to figure out how long your notice period is. It is probably at least one month. It's not just a professional courtesy to honour your notice period, as your termination benefits may depend on it. Resist any pressure from a new employer to start as soon as possible. You have made a commitment to your current employer and need to see out your contract, or at least it's notice period.

3. Check contractual boundaries

There is a good chance, your next employer is a competitor. You have to make sure you're not breaking contract by accepting a new position. It's not uncommon to have a non-competition clause or a relationship clause. If you negotiate about dismissal by mutual consent, it's possible to weaken or even waive those clauses.

4. Make a firm and final decision

Make sure your decision to resign is firm and final before actually announcing your resignation. When applicable, get your new job offer in writing first, check your notice period and rehearse your resignation beforehand. Be clear about your reason(s) to be able to resign with confidence, without being drawn into a counter-offer.

5. Resign face-to-face

Always resign in person, giving as much notice as possible. Never quit a job over email, because it can be seen as very disrespectful. Choose a quiet and convenient time for a face-to-face notice with your manager. You can inform your colleagues afterwards. During your resignation meeting, briefly explain your reasons in a professional manner and express the willingness to finish current projects in the remaining time. Make sure to thank your boss for the experience and the opportunity you’ve had at your current job.

6. Submit a resignation letter

Submit a professional resignation letter after your face-to-face meeting. Refer to the date and time of this conversation, the role you're resigning from and your termination date. If relevant, it's possible to re-state your reason(s) for resignation, to highlight the things you've learned and write how much you enjoyed working there. End your resignation letter on a positive note by thanking your employer for the opportunities or expressing best wishes for the company's future.

7. Put effort into it until your last day

It's easy to have a 'last day at school attitude', but we advice you to maintain the status quo at work. Your final impression can strongly influence the kind of reference you receive in the future. So it's best to get as much done as possible during your notice period. Make sure to train your successor, delegate loose ends to colleagues or write a detailed handover document. Inform your business contacts or clients about your leaving and let them know who to contact from now on. It's probably a good idea to connect with them via LinkedIn, to be able to keep in touch.

8. Keep things positive

We know it's difficult, but try not to burn any bridges by expressing your dissatisfaction to co-workers. Don't bash your employer or current job during an interview with a potential new employer either. And NEVER denigrate your current job on social media. Not even after you've moved on. It can only bite you in the ass afterwards. If colleagues ask you why you're resigning, tell them 'there is a better opportunity' or 'the environment isn't right'. Refrain from saying you hate your former manager or boss. Ensure your reputation with your employer remains positive by leaving with professionalism.

9. Secure positive recommendations

Ask for a letter of recommendation before you go, even if you've already landed a new job. Try to obtain digital recommendations through LinkedIn from your manager, clients, suppliers or peers and make sure they are displayed on your profile page. It's probably best to do this in the final week of your employment. If you're still fresh in their minds, it's more likely they'll respond favourably to your request.

Resigning can be difficult to do, but it's common these days (and some believe prudent) to change jobs every five years in order to keep things fresh and alive. Knowing how to resign professionally, is a valuable career skill. If you leave for the right reasons and think positively, you're able to leave on good terms for sure.

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.

Is your (intended) dismissal justified?
Can your severance pay increase?
Unemployment benefits secured?
What are the correct legal steps?
We'll get started within 4 hours.
This basic check is free of charge.
Check my settlement

Resignation and unemployment benefits

If you resign yourself, you are generally not entitled to unemployment benefits. This applies to both temporary and permanent contracts, even if you resign during your probationary period. As always, there are some exceptions.

Moving partner

If you resign because your partner is moving, you might still be entitled to unemployment benefits. To qualify for this, your commute (after moving) must be longer than 3 hours and you have to continue working as long as possible until you move.

Your partner is promoted or is faced with a reorganization;
Your partner's commute has become too long due to a company move;
Your partner was unemployed, but the new job required a move.

Health reasons

If you become ill due to problems at work, you can claim unemployment benefits. You must have done everything you can to resolve the problem with your employer. Doesn't that solve anything? A UWV doctor will then assess your dismissal and you will be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

your dismissal is attributable to your psychological condition;
it would be harmful to your health to remain employed.

How can you retain your unemployment rights?

Have you found yourself in a disturbed working relationship? Resignation is often precarious, without the prospect of a new job. It could lead to an impasse if both you and your employer want to terminate the employment, but no one dares to take the first step. You are probably afraid of losing your unemployment rights and your employer dreads a high severance payment. How to proceed?

There is no need to allow this situation to continue any longer. You can easily resolve it through a settlement agreement that grants the wishes of both parties. If you state that the initiative for dismissal lies with your employer, your unemployment rights are guaranteed. You will likely have to compensate your employer in regards to your severance payment. Call us for a free consultation.

Resignation and transition payment

The basic rule for qualifying for a transition payment (a statutory severance payment) is that you cannot be blameworthy. If you resign or are summarily dismissed, that is usually the case. Of course there are exceptions again.

❌ No transition payment

The law is very simple when it comes to the right to a transition payment in the event of culpable dismissal: there is none. In other words: if you resign yourself (your initiative) or if the dismissal is due to you, you are not entitled to a transition or severance payment. With our help and a proper settlement agreement you could still succeed.

✅ Transition payment

You are entitled to a transition payment if you resign due to seriously culpable actions or omissions by your employer. It does not matter whether your contract expired by operation of law, if you canceled it yourself or you had it terminated by the subdistrict court judge. You may even be eligible for fair compensation.

Questions about resignation

Most of the employees that want to resign are looking for answers to the questions below.

Can I resign when I'm ill?

You can resign yourself if you are ill. A cancellation ban doesn't apply here. It is important to know that you are not entitled to sickness benefit or unemployment benefits if you resign yourself. In addition, your employer is entitled to hold you to your notice period and your reintegration obligations during the remaining notice period.

Can I resign earlier than my notice period allows?

You may have found a new employer who would like you to start working as soon as possible. You can only officially start after your applicable notice period has expired. If you do not comply with this, you are responsible for any damaged caused to your employer. The amount of these damages can quickly add up. However, you are free to make arrangements in consultation with your employer to leave earlier than your notice period officially allows.

Can I ask my employer for a settlement agreement?

If you want to quit your job but also want to retain your right to unemployment benefits, a settlement agreement can offer a solution. Your employer is not obliged to cooperate with this, but many employers are inclined to do so. In some cases, a transition payment is possible as well.

Free legal advice about resignation

We are happy to inform you about your legal rights in case you are considering resignation. You can call us free of charge. If you fill out the form below, we will call you back at an appropriate time.

Call +3120-4689114 (free)

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