Termination of employment

Employment contracts may end in various ways.

Termination of employment by operation of law

If you have a fixed-term employment contract, a definite date or duration will have been agreed beforehand or a duration can be determined objectively. This applies, for example, if you are replacing a sick employee. Once the agreed period of time has elapsed, the employment contract will expire by operation of law. By operation of law means that no action is required by the University. The employment contract will end automatically.

If your employment ends by operation of law, you will be entitled to transitional severance pay.

An open-ended employment contract may also end by operation of law. This will be the case if you reach the statutory retirement age or in the event of death. In that situation, however, you will not be entitled to transitional severance pay. 

Termination of employment by mutual consent

If you have a (fixed-term or open-ended) employment contract, in certain cases you can agree with the University to terminate it. This is known as termination by mutual consent. With this form of termination, you will generally retain the right to unemployment benefit. However, if you resign on your own initiative or have provided grounds for a summary dismissal, you will be viewed by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) as culpable for your own unemployment and you will lose your entitlement to unemployment benefit.

A termination by mutual consent must always be recorded in a written settlement agreement. You can change your mind regarding the above in writing without providing any reasons up to two weeks after the conclusion of the settlement agreement. The University is required to add a clause to the settlement agreement regarding this reflection period. If the University fails to do so, the reflection period will be extended to three weeks.

In the case of termination of employment by mutual consent, you will not be entitled to transitional severance pay.

Termination of employment with the Employee Insurance Agency’s approval

The University must seek the Employee Insurance Agency’s approval if the University wishes to terminate the employment contract due to:

  • financial reasons
  • long-term occupational disability due to illness or otherwise

The proceedings involving the Employee Insurance Agency are conducted in writing. The University requests the Employee Insurance Agency’s approval. You are then provided with the opportunity to dispute the request in writing. Finally, the Employee Insurance Agency decides whether or not to approve the request. It is important that the university also demonstrates that you cannot reasonably be reassigned to an alternative suitable position, with or without training.

Termination of employment without the Employee Insurance Agency’s approval

Both the University and you can terminate the employment contract by giving notice. 
Both the University and you will then be bound by the following period of notice based on the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO Nederlandse Universiteiten):

  • 3 months if you have been continuously employed for 12 months or longer and
  • 2 months in all other cases, except if you have been employed for less than 6 months, in which case the period of notice is one month.

Furthermore, the Employee Insurance Agency’s approval is not required in the following situations:

  • in case of termination during the probationary period
  • upon reaching retirement age 
  • in case of summary dismissal 

Termination of employment by dissolution by the sub-district court (kantonrechter)

Both you and the University may request that the sub-district court dissolves your (fixed-term or open-ended) employment contract. In practice, it is usually the University that requests dissolution. Dissolution of the employment contract at the University’s request may be possible in the event of the following:

  • frequent absenteeism
  • poor performance
  • refusal to work (whether or not due to conscientious objections)
  • a breakdown of the working relationship
  • other circumstances (demonstrating reasonable grounds)
  • within 2 months of the Employee Insurance Agency refusing to grant approval (due to financial reasons or long-term occupational disability)

In proceedings involving the sub-district court, it is likewise important that the University demonstrates that you cannot reasonably be reassigned to an alternative suitable position. If the employment contract is dissolved at the request of the University, you will usually be entitled to transitional severance pay. 

The law does not provide any statutory grounds for dissolution by the employee. However, the employee may request that the sub-district court dissolves the employment contract due to circumstances that do not conform to the employment contract. In the case of dissolution at the request of the employee, the employee is not entitled to transitional severance pay.

Prohibition of termination

The employment contract cannot be terminated if it is subject to a prohibition of termination. In some situations, the prohibition of termination applies and the University cannot dismiss you. For more information on this, visit the Employee Insurance Agency’s (UWV) website (in Dutch).