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If you want to dismiss staff or your employee wants to resign, in both situations a notice period applies. There are rules for the minimum notice that can be given and for conflicts that may arise.
When to give notice?
You must always give notice when a permanent employment contract is concerned. In some cases you must even give notice in the case of a fixed-term contract. The latter applies if the contract provides for termination by both parties.
When not to give notice?
You won't have to give notice:
- during an employee's trial period
- when it concerns instant dismissal
- when it concerns immediate resignation
Statutory notice period
The length of the notice period (Dutch) for an employer depends on the duration of the employment contract, with a maximum of 4 months.
Changes to notice period employer
You may agree to a change in the notice period. However, if you wish to provide for a shorter notice period in a contract of employment, you may only do so if the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for your sector allows this. In case you do not provide for separate terms in the contract of employment with regard to the notice period, while there is no CAO in force, the normal statutory notice period applies. Please note: your notice period is always at least 1 month.
Notice period employee
The statutory notice period for an employee is 1 month. However, they may have agreed upon a longer or shorter notice period, which is then an explicit part of the contract of employment. If your employee's notice period is more than 1 month, your notice period has to be at least twice as long. The maximum notice period for employees is 6 months.
How does it work?
A notice period usually runs from the start of the day after you dismissed your employee or they handed their notice in. At the end of the notice period the contract of employment ends. Obviously various dismissal procedures may apply. Both you and your employee may decide that the dismissal or resignation comes into effect immediately. If so, this must be included in a written statement. Be aware that an agreement like this may have negative consequences for your (former) employee's unemployment benefit.
Notice period older employees
For older employees in some cases the statutory notice period may be extended. This applies to employees that were hired before 1999, were 45 years of age at the time and whose contractual notice period exceeds the current statutory notice period.
Failure by the employer to give the correct notice period may result in having to pay compensation to your employee or the other way round. Compensation will amount to what your employee would have earned had the regular notice period been applied. It is up to a court of law to mitigate this amount or not. However, compensation consists of always at least the earnings of the statutory notice period, with a 3 months minimum. Finally, a court of law may also grant complete compensation.