Get fired on probation? Totally possible! Do you really understand the probation and notice period of working in the Netherlands?

Date:2020-10-20 20:23
Recently we received such a letter this week:

Just found a job, A was fired by his employer less than a month after he (or she) entered the Dutch workplace. Now A is full of anger. A is a fresh graduate. After graduation, A successfully applied for a Marketing Assistant position in a small and medium-sized company in the Netherlands. According to the agreement with HR at the time of the interview, the employee will be confirmed after one month’s probation. The agreement also indicates the salary, benefits and other issues. But here’s what A didn’t expect: Just a few days before the end of the probation period, A was unexpectedly interviewed by the HR and got informed that he (or she) was fired. A is wronged very much, feel oneself seem to be cheated: Getting fired on the verge of becoming a fulltime employee. However, the point is A got no notice beforehand completely and everything comes too suddenly.

After the compliment, A proposed these questions:
Can one be fired at will during the period of probation in the Netherlands? Should the employer inform the employee who is intended to be dismissed in advance? What are the conditions for the termination of the contract?

We believe it’s not just A, many students also have a lack of information about the probationary period. To solve the confusion and let people know more about the workplace situation in the Netherlands. We will report today about some things you need to know during the probation period and the notice period of termination of the contract in the Dutch work contract.

Work is a two-way choice, and when you enter a company, the HR will determine the time, salary, becoming a regular member and the related regulations after being a regular member. What is a probation period? The probation period is a stage of each other’s introduction to the employer and the employee, which is both the period of the company to observe the job applicant’s ability to work, and also the period for the job applicant to get used to the company's environment, culture and position. So, the probation period is always very important. Hence, what do we need to know about the probationary period?

1 Probationary period (proeftijd)

As the period for the employer and employee to get familiar with each other, the probationary period is not mandatory. If the company has a probationary period, it must be recorded in writing, which means it should be included in the labour contract and the matters needing attention regarding the probation period should also be stated in the contract. Employees and employers can cancel and terminate the contract in the probationary period without the “notice period”, which means that staff can be fired at any time and the clerk can terminate the work the contract at any time. However, if there is no probationary period, you must strictly follow the process of “notice period” and the employer is not allowed to extend the probation period of the contract.

Cancel and terminate the contract during the probationary period 

During the probation period, the following conditions shall apply to the termination of the labour contract at any time: 
  • Without the need for the approval of the UWV or district court. 
  • Without the need of notice period. 
  • There is no ban on contract cancellation. For example, employers cannot fire employees because of their beliefs. By law, discrimination is always prohibited, including during trials. 
  • If an employee is ill, the employer is not allowed to extend the probation period. But employers can fire employees if they fall ill on probation.

The length of the probation period 

The duration of the probation period depends on the type of employment contract. The details are as follows:


- the longest probationary period for permanent and temporary contracts exceeding 2 years is 2 months;
- if the temporary work contract is longer than 6 months but not more than 2 years, the longest probation period is 1 month;
- temporary contracts with no specific end date have a probationary period of up to 1 month;
- there is no probationary period for a temporary contract of less than 6 months.

Based on the above regulations, that is to say, when your probation period ends, you can sign a formal contract with your HR, or directly ask HR to terminate the work contract and quit at any time. In this way, the probationary the period in Dutch workplace is very flexible, so it seems that there is nothing wrong with A’s former company to suddenly dismiss employees before little A's probationary period ends. However, as a formal employee, there is a“notice period” for dismissal, and then we will continue to report the provisions on the notice period when the contract is terminated.

2 Notice period (Opzegtermijn)

If an employer wants to terminate a contract by firing an employee during a non-probationary period, the “notice period” regulations must be followed.

The notice period for the provisional contract

The temporary contract will automatically expire on the date of termination. The employer and the employer are not allowed to terminate the temporary contract in advance unless some agreement has been reached in the contract. Employers must give employees the notice of whether to extend their temporary contracts in advance at least for one month. If the employer didn't do that, they could get punishment. It should be noted that temporary contracts of less than 6 months are not applicable to this provision.

The notice period of a permanent contract

Permanent contracts are terminated by the termination of an employee or employer. The notice period is the period that an employee (or employer) must observe before terminating the employment contract. In addition, termination should be done in writing, such as sending a letter to the employee’s home. How long in advance is it necessary for an employer to inform an employee that he or she is being fired? It all depends on how long the employee has been employed, as shown in this table:


We will wordy again a few words: If the working time is shorter than 5 years, at least one month in the advance notice; If it is 5-10 years, at least two months in advance and so on. Employers go to the UWV to apply for dismissal permission, a period known as “procedural time”. Note: when an employer declares bankruptcy, there is no notice period. After all, employers don’t realize they will experience bankruptcy months in advance. If an employee wants to terminate a permanent contract, the notice period is usually one month. Longer notice periods can be allowed in contracts or collective labour agreements. The law requires that the notice period has to follow the following two restrictions: The employee’s notice period shall not exceed six months. The employer's notice period must be twice as long as the extended notice period. In any case, your employer will always notify you of your dismissal sooner than you actually do.

In order to better clarify the calculation of the notice period, we will give two examples: As an employee, if you want to cancel the contract on June 15, then it is on May 15th for you to apply for the cancellation of the contract, because the length of the notice period is one month. Also, according to the regulation, the contract must end before the end of each month, so the end time of the employee’s employment the contract is July 1. Suppose the employer informs the employee on May 15 that he or she wants to fire the employee from June 1. According to the statutory notice period (one month), then an employer can only terminate the employment on July 1.Then the employee must pay the employee the salary for the month of June.

We sincerely remind all friends, do not think that getting an offer is the perfect ending. The content of the work the contract is so extensive that every detail needs to be clearly understood to ensure that nothing is wrong. If little A had a clear understanding of the probation period, notice period and other policy contents about the work in The Netherlands before entering the company, he or she could avoid the shock brought by being dismissed, so that he or she could pick himself or herself up and move on. To sum up, no matter the employee or the employer wants to terminate the temporary/permanent contract, the related regulations of the probation period and advance notice period must be taken into account.


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