Employment Contracts in The Netherlands

1. Minimum Requirements

An employment contract under Dutch law may be concluded orally or in writing and the employer will need to inform the employee in writing with respect to certain terms.

2. Fixed-term/Open-ended Contracts

An employment contract can be agreed upon for a fixed period of time (fixed-term contract) or for an unspecified period of time (open-ended contract/permanent). If the identity of the employment has not changed (for example, with respect to the work to be performed, salary and secondary employment conditions), a fixed-term employment contract that follows an open-ended employment contract will become an open-ended employment contract by operation of law.

A fixed-term employment contract will automatically convert into an open-ended employment contract if:

  • a chain of temporary employment contracts covers 24 months or more; or
  • a chain of three fixed-term employment contracts is continued.

3. Trial Period

A probationary period must be laid down in writing. In case of an open-ended employment contract, an employment contract for an indefinite period of time or an employment contract fixed for a period of two or more years, the maximum probationary period is two months. In employment contracts for a fixed-term of more than 6 months, but less than two years, the maximum probationary period is one month. As from 1 January 2015, it is no longer possible to agree on a probationary period in an employment contract that has a term of six months or less. The probationary period for both the employer and the employee should be equal.

4. Notice Period

Dutch law provides for the following statutory notice periods for an employer:

  • fewer than five years of service: one month;
  • more than five years but fewer than ten years of service: two months;
  • ten or more years of service but fewer than 15 years of service: three months;
  • 15 or more years of service: four months.

The employee must take into account a notice period of one month.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Netherlands, please contact Christiaan Oberman, Partner at Palthe Oberman ( at
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