What are your rights during the probation period in the Netherlands?

Starting a new job can be exciting yet challenging. How uncertain is your job during the probation period in the Netherlands?

In this blog, we’ll explore Dutch probation periods, including being dismissed while sick, knowing your rights and benefits, and your responsibilities as an employee.

Whether you’re an expat starting a new job or a Dutch resident navigating probation, join us as we simplify the process for a smooth transition into the Dutch workforce.

Why a probation period?

If you’re in the Netherlands, your employer might have a probation period in your contract to see if you’re the right fit for the job. During this time, they’ll watch how you work and if you are the right fit cultural-wise. It can also be a chance for you to learn and get used to the job. This period makes it easier for you and your employer to end your job if things don’t go as expected. Just remember, there are rules to make sure everyone is treated fairly during this probation time.

How long can a probation last?

In the Netherlands, the maximum length of a probation period in a labor contract depends on the type of contract:

  1. Temporary Contract: If you have a temporary contract, such as a fixed-term contract, the probation period can last for a maximum of one month.
  2. Permanent Contract: For a permanent contract, which is open-ended and has no specified end date, the probation period can last for a maximum of two months.

Just so you know, there can’t be a trial period in short-term contracts that last up to 6 months.

It’s important to note that the specific terms of the probation period, including its duration, should be clearly outlined in your employment contract. Additionally, Dutch labor law stipulates that probation periods must be agreed upon in writing at the start of your employment. Any extensions to the probation period must also be in writing and agreed upon by both you and your employer. An extension is possible under certain circumstances.

What is my employment contract doesn’t specify a probation period?

If your employment contract doesn’t specify a probation period, it is considered a regular contract without a probationary period.

What is the statutory notice period?

In a Dutch job contract, the “statutory notice period” is the time you or your employer need to give before ending your employment. Here’s how it works from your perspective: If you’ve worked there for:

  • Up to 5 years: You must give 1 month’s notice.
  • Between 5 and 10 years: You must give 2 months’ notice.
  • More than 10 years: You must give 3 months’ notice.

If your employer wants to end your contract, they must follow specific notice periods based on your years of service, which can range from 1 to 4 months.

What is the statutory notice period during probation?

During your probation period in Dutch work contracts, here’s what you need to know:

  • In the first month, you or your employer can end the contract without notice.
  • After the first month and up to the probation period’s end (usually a maximum of two months for fixed-term contracts), the notice period is typically one week.

Can my employer extend my notice period?

In the Netherlands, if your employer wants to extend your notice period, you and your employer usually need to agree on it together. There are specific situations where this is possible;

  1. When You’re Changing Your Job Contract: If you’re renewing or changing your job contract, you can talk to your employer about making the notice period longer. You both have to agree to this change.
  2. If You Get a Better Job: Imagine you get a promotion or your job responsibilities change a lot. You might ask to extend your notice period to reflect the importance of your new role. This will depend on both you and your employer being okay with it.
  3. Check Industry Rules: Some industries have rules called “Collective Labor Agreements (CLAs)” or ‘Collectieve Arbeidsovereenkomst’ that say when notice periods can be longer. For example, if you have a high-ranking job or a special role, the CLA might allow for a longer notice period. Look at the rules that apply to your job.
  4. Company Policies: Your workplace might have its own rules about when notice periods can be longer. This could be for crucial projects or important positions. They should tell you about these rules.
  5. Extra Benefits: Sometimes, employers might offer more money or benefits if you agree to a longer notice period. For instance, they could give you extra pay if you lose your job, which might lead to a longer notice period.
  6. Both Sides Agree: Remember, the key to making your notice period longer is that both you and your employer must agree on it. You’ll need to put it in writing and make it part of your job contract or an official contract change. Make sure you fully understand and are okay with the new terms.

Keep in mind that Dutch labor laws have rules about notice periods, so any changes must follow these laws. It’s also crucial to get everything in writing to avoid problems later on. If you’re thinking about making your notice period longer or your employer suggests it, you might want to talk to a legal expert or an employment lawyer to make sure your rights are protected.

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