Contracts may be terminated in different ways. Click here to find out more about the different circumstances in which employment may be terminated.
Termination of employment by operation of law
When it comes to fixed term contracts, the exact time at which the contract is due to expire is agreed in advance. Either a definite date or a duration is agreed upon (e.g., two years) or there is an objectively definable period of time (e.g., as a replacement for a sick employee). Once the agreed-upon time period expires, the contract will expire by operation of law. By operation of law means that no action is required by the university; the contract will expire automatically.
An open-ended contract may also expire by operation of law. This will be the case if the staff member reaches the statutory retirement age or if the staff member passes away. If a contract expires by operation of law, the staff member will be entitled to transitional severance pay.
Period of notice
The university will notify the staff member in writing that the contract is due to expire at least one month before the termination date. This is referred to as the period of notice. If the university does not notify the staff member on time, the staff member will be owed compensation that is equivalent to one month’s salary.
If the university has notified the staff member, but was too late in doing so, it will owe proportional compensation (pro rata payout). A period of notice shall not apply here.
Termination of employment contract with mutual consent
Both fixed term and open-ended contracts may expire when the university and the staff member come to an amicable mutual agreement to terminate the contract. This is referred to as termination by mutual consent.
This form of termination poses little risk for the staff member. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) views the staff member as culpable for their own unemployment, unless they take the initiative to make employment arrangements or have provided grounds for instant dismissal.
A termination by mutual consent must always be recorded in a written settlement. The staff member may change their mind about the settlement without providing any reason up to two weeks after the conclusion of the settlement. The university is required to add a clause to the settlement regarding this reflection period. If the university fails to do this, the reflection period shall be extended to three weeks. In the case of termination of employment by mutual consent, the employee will not be entitled to transitional severance pay.
Termination of employment by consent
The employment contract may be terminated with the staff member’s consent. This will happen when the university and the staff member both agree that the contract should be terminated. When the staff member gives their consent, there will be no need for the Employee Insurance Agency or the sub-district court judge to conduct dismissal proceedings. When employment is terminated by consent, the staff member will normally be entitled to transitional severance pay.
Termination of employment without consent
Both the university and staff member may terminate an open-ended contract. A temporary contract may also be terminated, though, in such a case, the possibility of an early termination will need to have been agreed. The employment contract may be terminated by the employer without the staff member’s consent. This will be possible if there are reasonable grounds for termination and the redeployment of the staff member in another suitable position within a reasonable period (with or without training) is neither possible nor reasonable. Termination by the employer will be possible during the probationary period or in the case of instant dismissal.
Termination during the probationary period or termination due to just cause (instant dismissal) may take place without notice and without the approval of the Employee Insurance Agency. Just cause exists if the staff member is guilty of gross misconduct and the university can no longer be expected to continue the contract. This would constitute grounds for the staff member’s instant dismissal. These situations include those in which the staff member is guilty of theft, has repeatedly failed to meet the demands of their job, or has seriously threatened their supervisor or colleagues. Instant dismissal will have serious consequences, financial and otherwise, for the staff member. The staff member is culpably unemployed and will not be entitled to unemployment benefits.
In addition to this, the university may only terminate the contract (without the consent of the staff member) in the case of long-term disability or reorganisation. For this purpose, permission from the Employee Insurance Agency is always required. For all other grounds for dismissal (e.g., unsatisfactory performance or an impaired working relationship), termination proceedings through the sub-district court will be required.
The university will need to submit a sufficiently reasoned and substantiated written request in order to obtain permission for the termination from the Employee Insurance Agency. The staff member will then be given the opportunity to submit their written opinion on the termination proceedings. The Employee Insurance Agency will subsequently decide whether the university’s request to terminate the contract will be granted or denied.
In the case of contract termination due to long-term disability or economic reasons, a period of notice must be given. The period of notice for both the university and the staff member will be three months if the staff member has been continuously employed for at least 12 months at the start of the period of notice. If the staff member has been continuously employed for less than 12 months, the period notice will be two months.
As of 1 July 2015, the time required for the dismissal proceedings through the Employee Insurance Agency may be deducted from the period of notice. However, there must be at least one month’s notice left.
The contract may not be terminated if there is a prohibition of termination. The most common prohibitions of termination are those that involve illness, pregnancy and/or maternity leave. Prohibitions of termination do not apply to terminations during the probationary period or instant dismissals.
In cases in which employment has been terminated without consent, the staff member will usually be entitled to transitional severance pay.
The staff member may cancel the employment contract at any time; permission from the Employee Insurance Agency will not be required for this purpose. However, the staff member will need to comply with the period of notice.
Termination of employment contract by dissolution through the sub-district court
Both fixed term and open-ended contracts may also be terminated via court proceedings. Both the university and the staff member may request that the sub-district court judge terminates the contract. However, it is usually the university that will request this type of termination. This will once again be possible if the employer has reasonable grounds and the redeployment of the staff member in another suitable position within a reasonable period (with or without training) is neither possible nor reasonable.
Termination of the employment contract at the employer’s request may be possible:
- In the event of frequent illness, which has had an unacceptable impact on business operations
- In the event of poor performance
- In the event of culpable conduct
- In the event of a refusal to perform the stipulated work due to serious conscientious objections
- In the event of a damaged working relationship
- On the basis of grounds other than those listed above (e.g., detention of the staff member)
- On the basis of a combination of the grounds mentioned under points 1 to 6 that is such that the employer cannot reasonably be expected to continue the employment contract.
- On the basis of economic grounds, but only if these grounds were first brought before the Employee Insurance Agency and they refused to give their consent
- In the event of illness for a period longer than two years, on the condition that the issue was brought before the Employee Insurance Agency and they refused to give their consent.
When the contract is terminated on the basis of a combination of grounds, the sub-district court judge may grant the staff member additional compensation of up to half of the transitional severance pay to which the staff member is entitled upon termination of the employment contract.
The law does not provide any statutory grounds for the staff member’s termination of the contract. However, the staff member may request that the sub-district court judge terminate the contract due to circumstances that do not conform to the contract. In such a case, the judge may grant the staff member reasonable severance payment if the termination of the contract is the result of seriously culpable conduct or employer negligence. If the staff member requests that the contract be terminated, they will not be entitled to transitional severance pay.
The prohibitions of termination will not apply directly to termination proceedings. The sub-district court shall determine whether the request for termination is related to one of the prohibitions of termination. If this is found to be the case, the sub-district court shall only terminate the contract if it is in the interests of the staff member.
A written request will need to be submitted to begin termination proceedings. A petition will also initially need to be submitted (the employer will usually do this). The other party (which is usually the staff member, represented by a lawyer or legal advisor) will then be given the opportunity to present a written defence. This will almost always be followed by a hearing at the sub-district court. The sub-district court judge will ask questions during the hearing and will allow the employer and staff member to further clarify their points of view. After the hearing, the sub-district court judge shall deliver their judgement. The court may choose to terminate the contract on a date that has been determined by the judge. The decision of the sub-district court may be contested and the case may be appealed to the court of appeals and an appeal may be made to the Supreme Court.
In the case of termination by the sub-district court, the judge shall take the period of notice into account. Here too, the time required for the proceedings before the district court will be deducted from the period of notice. There will always need to be at least one month’s notice left.
Leaving a job due to illness
When a staff member leaves their job because of illness, they will be contacted by a Robidus staff member. This is because Robidus (and not the Employee Insurance Agency) organises counselling and reintegration. The reason for this is that Radboud University acts as a self-insurer for the Sickness Benefits Act (ERD ZW) and has subsequently entrusted its implementation to Robidus. You will receive your sickness benefits directly from Radboud University.
Robidus supports employers in the use of regulations, financing and claims management in the field of social security.