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If you want to employ someone in the Netherlands, you can agree on including a trial period in their employment contract. During this period both parties can then terminate the contract without having to give a proper reason. However, if the employment contract is only for 6 months or less, a trial period provision is not valid. The same applies to contracts that are extended without any changes.
Dismissal without grounds
As an employer, you may dismiss employees during their trial period without grounds, even if the employee is ill. Nevertheless, you must observe prohibitions on terminating a contract. The employee is also allowed to resign without grounds. If you or your employee asks for the grounds for the dismissal or resignation, then there is an obligation to provide written grounds.
Written trial period
A trial period is only valid when it is agreed in writing as part of the employment contract, unless trial periods are part of the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) for your sector.
Trial period void
In some cases trial periods are null and void:
- In contracts for 6 months or less.
- When a contract is extended without any changes to the type of work or responsibilities of the employee.
- When temporary employment changes into permanent employment, again without any changes.
- When the trial period is not agreed to in writing
Duration trial period
The duration of a trial period depends on the duration of the employment contract. However, it may never exceed a 2 month period. The same period applies to both employer and employee.
Maximum of 1 month
- temporary employment contracts of more than 6 months, but less than 2 years.
- temporary employment contracts without end date.
Maximum of 2 months
- Permanent employment contracts .
- Temporary employment contracts of more than 2 years.
Proposed changes to trial periods
A new law is due to come into force on 1 January 2020 to regulate flexible work, dismissal and the financing of unemployment benefit. Through the Balance Employment Market Act (Wet arbeidsmarkt in balans, WAB), the government wants to make it more attractive for employers to offer a fixed contract rather than a flexible one. At the same time flex workers must be given more stability in their job and income. The new law will effect:
- Dismissals and transitional payments
- Temporary employees and chain provision
- Payroll staff and stand-by workers