Can my employment contract silently get prolonged? What are my rights as an employee? What are the legal consequences of marriage in the Netherlands? Am I protected as an expat by Dutch law?
These are questions which Elena is frequently confronted with. Elena is a partner at Hofzicht Advocaten in The Hague. Elena has an international background and assists clients in Dutch, English, Persian and Spanish.
Elena will write expert blogs in which she lays the focus on legal issues expatriates encounters frequently in the Netherlands. We asked her a few questions, read more below.
What is your advice for internationals in The Netherlands?
“I think some basic knowledge of the Dutch Legal system is essential. In my practice, I often encounter clients who have no idea of the legal protection they enjoy. Dutch Law provides much protection to those who are considered to be the most vulnerable contracting party such as employees, tenants, and consumers.”
Elena also includes – “For instance, when working in the Netherlands, you should know the basic employee rights such as the protection from dismissal; what your rights and duties are during illness or pregnancy; that your right to holiday pay and holiday allowance derives from the Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act and is not dependent on a clause in your employment contract.”
We receive frequent questions about prolonging of employment contracts. Is it possible to silently prolong an employment contract?
“Yes, that is possible even if no new contract is signed. It is important to realize that Dutch Law does not require written employment contracts. Basically, for the conclusion of an employment contract only an offer and its acceptance are required. Written contracts can help proving what was agreed. In the end, the circumstances of the case are decisive. The basic requirements of an employment agreement are that (1) one undertakes to (2) work for another (3) in exchange for remuneration.
There is a distinction between a fixed-term and a permanent employment contract. Employees with a permanent employment contract enjoy dismissal protection while a fixed-term contract expires by operation of law at the agreed end date. It is not uncommon that parties draft a fixed-term employment contract, and after the end date the employee is still being expected to work and gets paid. If this happens, the first contract is deemed to be prolonged under the same conditions, for a maximum of a year.
A fixed-term contract, however, cannot be renewed endlessly. The law provides coercive limitations to that: the so-called “chain ruling” or “Ketenregeling” in Dutch.
In 2015, Dutch employment law was drastically changed. As far as it concerns the chain ruling, one should assess first whether the new law is applicable. Employment relations which started prior to 1 July 2015 between the same parties may be renewed three times for a maximum of 3 years, and a maximum of 3 months may lie between the consecutive contracts before the contract automatically is converted to a permanent one.
Employment contracts starting after 1 July 2015, fall within the working sphere of the new law and the fixed-term contract may be renewed 3 times within a maximum period of two years, with a maximum of 6 months in between for it to be converted to a permanent contract.
Please note that this rule might not apply to all employment contracts, as there is the possibility to deviate from it by collective agreement for some sectors and for agency workers.”
More about Elena Deliran
Elena is specialized in family law and employment law and she often deals with international cases. Elena grew up in many different countries and is fluent in Dutch, English, Persian and Spanish. Her intercultural background and language skills, together with her experience with international legal matters enable her to assist international clients and cases effectively. In her practice, Elena deals with various aspects of family law such as divorce proceedings, spouse and child alimony, custody and visitation rights and child protection matters. Elena also assists clients with employment issues such as suspension and employment termination proceedings, change of employment conditions, evaluation of employees and sickness.
You can contact Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org
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