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Employment law overview the Netherlands
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Employment law overview the Netherlands


Dutch employment law is elaborate and relatively complex. It is divided into individual and collective law and is closely related to social security law. The following text will report the latest developments in Dutch employment law.

Key Points

  • Employment law is not consolidated into a single code.
  • Employees have a strong legal position.
  • Preventive dismissal assessment.
  • Relatively long period of salary payment during illness.
  • New Dutch employment law as from 1 January 2020: the Balanced Labour Market Act.

Dutch employment law is not consolidated into asingle code. The employment relationship under Dutch law is governed by the compulsory statutory regulations laid down in (for example) the Dutch Civil Code. The relationship can furthermore be governed by (among other things) the conditions laid down in a Collective Labour Agreement (if applicable), internal regulations (if applicable) and the individual employment contract. Judicial precedent is an important part of the legal framework because many employment matters are influenced by case law.

New Developments

The most recent development in Dutch employment law is the introduction of the WAB, as from 1 January 2020. The Balanced Labour Market Act is the latest addition to the Work and Security Act (introduced in 2015).

Extra birth leave has been introduced as of 1 January 2019. Partners will now have five days of birth leave at full pay after the birth of their child (based on full-time employment). Partners can take this leave immediately after the birth of their child, but they can also spread it over the first four weeks after the birth.

As of 1 July 2020, partners can take additional birth leave for up to 5 weeks. First, the partner must take the 5 days of birth leave (based on full-time employment). During this leave, the employee is entitled to 70% of his or her salary (increased up to the maximum daily wages). The additional birth leave must be taken within 6 months of the child’s birth (on or after 1 July 2020).

Another development is that the state pension age will be increased. As of 1 January 2019, the state pension entitlement age has been increased to 66 years and four months. The state pension age will remain 66 years and four months in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, the state pension age will increase by three months and will be 67 years in 2024. As from 2025, the state pension age will be linked to life expectancy.

The calculation of the transition payment has also changed as of 1 January 2020. Under the WAB, the entitlement to a transition payment is established immediately upon commencement of employment, rather than after 24 months of employment. The maximum transition payment is EUR 83.000 gross or a maximum of one annual gross salary, if it exceeds EUR 83.000. See section VIII. part 3. for further changes to the transition payment as introduced in the Balanced Labour Market Act.

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