The time has come, and you want to leave your current job in the Netherlands to pursue something new. But how should you go about it? Resigning from a job is a responsible step in your career, and you must do it in the most careful and professional way to save your reputation.
When quitting a job in the Netherlands, you must observe the minimum notice period of one month if your employment contract is indefinite. At the same time, resignation isn’t permitted without approval from the employer for temporary contracts. If you decide to leave the job regardless, you must pay compensation.
In this article, we explain what you should do when quitting a job in the Netherlands, the legal side of it, and some typical situations employees might face during this process.
Termination of employment contract in the Netherlands
If you want to quit your job in the Netherlands, you should follow this process:
Step 1: Read the terms of your contract
Before you plan your resignation, you need to carefully check the contract on due dates and potential clauses. There you will find a notice period if something else was agreed upon between you and the employer.
Check if there are any requirements you should meet before resigning. In the end, you don’t want to make any contractual breaches.
Typically, in the employment contract, you will see the following:
- Type of the contract
- Length of the contract
- Employee’s responsibilities within the company
- The legal relationship between the employee and employer
- Employee’s qualifications
- Amount of remuneration
- Notice period
Step 2: Request a meeting with your manager
Talking to your manager is always advised when resigning from a job. You can discuss all details about your termination and ask any questions you have.
Managers are usually familiar with the employment laws; therefore, they will explain everything you need to do before and after resigning.
Step 3: Write a resignation letter and notify the employer
Without an official resignation letter, your termination isn’t valid. Therefore, the next step is to conduct this letter in written form and send it to your employer by registered mail or email.
Step 4: Adhere to the required notice period
Before you pack your belongings, you must continue working for a remaining period, which is called the notice period. In the Netherlands, it’s usually one month. Read more on this below.
Step 5: Finalize any unfinished projects
When quitting your job, you may have some projects or tasks you are currently working on. Ensure you discuss with your manager how and to whom you should transfer the knowledge if needed.
Step 6: Check unused vacation days
You might also haven’t used all your vacation days yet. That means you can include them in a notice period and shorten it this way. Alternatively, you can request monetary compensation for your used holidays.
Step 7: Request for a certificate of employment
Lastly, don’t forget to ask for a reference from your employer. You most likely will need it for your next job.
The certificate of employment usually includes the following details:
- The period you’ve been working with the company
- Your skills and competences
- Activities you were carrying out
- Your position within the company
- The date the certification was issued
- Your personal details, such as name and date of birth
Declining a job offer after signing the contract in the Netherlands
If you have accepted the job offer and signed the contract, you can still quit without any notice period. The way to go about it is to inform your future employer as soon as possible. You might call them or write an email. In some cases, a company can request a resignation letter.
Dutch labor law includes a probation period, where both employer and employee can cancel the contract in the short term and without giving a reason.
If you decline the job offer, it may affect your chances of working with that company in the near future, but no other consequences will follow.
Notice period in the Netherlands
Before you write your resignation letter, you must know what notice period applies to your individual case. The standard (statutory) notice period is one month. However, your contract might state other deadlines; hence, always check it before resigning.
That said, the notice period for an employee can’t be longer than six months and one year for the employer.
General notice period with a permanent contract:
|Employment duration||Employer notice period||Employee notice period|
|0 – 5 years||1 month||1 month|
|5 – 10 years||2 months||1 month|
|10 – 15 years||3 months||1 month|
|more than 15 years||4 months||1 month|
Notice period with a permanent contract
A notice period might be different depending on the type of contract you have. For a permanent ( indefinite) contract, the standard is one month. That means that you must submit your resignation letter one month in advance. The notice period starts on the 1st of the following month.
If you agree to a more extended notice period, your employer must observe a notice period that is double that length. For instance, a three-month notice period for an employee means a 6-month notice period for a company.
Notice period with a temporary contract
What if you have a fixed-term contract with your Dutch employer? Usually, the contract ends on the agreed end date. Consequently, there is no notice period, and you can not resign before the end date.
In some cases, it might be possible, but only if the contract explicitly states that an employee can quit earlier than the end date. If you don’t see this clause in your agreement, you still can resign, but only with the permission of the employer.
If a company doesn’t give you approval, but you want to leave the job, you might need to pay compensation for the remaining time in your contract. That means you will pay the amount equal to the gross salary you could have been earning during this time.
For this, your employer must officially claim compensation.
Notice period in a probationary period
A probationary period is often mandatory for your employment in the Netherlands. The typical probation period is one month. During probation, you are free to terminate the contract without notice and for any reason. Your employer can do the same.
However, some employment agreements might exclude any probation period. In that case, you must observe a one-month notice period if it’s a regular indefinite contract.
Quitting a job in the Netherlands without a notice
Is it possible to resign without observing a notice period? As mentioned, it’s allowed during probation, but in other cases, immediate termination is permissible only in certain situations.
Generally, an employee will owe compensation to the employer if they quit without observing the notice period. By leaving prematurely or terminating the agreement when it’s not allowed, they make themselves liable for damages.
Consequently, you will pay your employer for the remaining days or months you must be working. The amount is equal to your gross pay.
Will you get unemployment benefits if you quit a job?
Another critical factor to consider is whether you will receive unemployment benefits from the state when quitting your job in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, employees who resign from their jobs aren’t eligible for unemployment benefits by law.
However, an employee might receive the benefits if they prove that the employer mistreated them or their rights weren’t observed. You must have worked in the Netherlands for two years to be entitled to unemployment benefits.
Resigning while on sick leave in the Netherlands
You can resign from your job on sick leave if you feel it’s the right decision. However, you must consider possible consequences such as loss of sick benefits and a high probability of not qualifying for unemployment benefits.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, your sickness must be related to the job. The best way to end the employment relationship between you and the employer is to make a settlement agreement. Here, you have a chance to receive unemployment benefits and a transition allowance.
How to write a resignation letter in the Netherlands
A correctly written resignation letter is a must when quitting a job. Without this document, your termination won’t be valid.
Moreover, it must be in written form and include your signature; a verbal notice of termination isn’t sufficient. You should send your letter of resignation by registered mail. At least, it’s a recommended way. You also might send it via email and ask for a response about the confirmation.
The following information must be included in the letter of termination:
- Your and your employer’s address
- Current date and date of the last working day
- Length of the notice period
- Contact person – employer or manager
You don’t need to state a reason for leaving unless it’s a termination without notice. Also, the employer doesn’t have to confirm that he has received the letter, but you can ask for it.
Here is an example of a resignation letter you can use in any Dutch company.
Your name (first and last name)
The name of your employer
The address of your employer
Place and date
Dear [name of employer],
I would like to officially terminate my employment contract as [job title] at [company name] with a notice period of […] days/months. It takes effect on [date]. In that period, I will complete the current affairs with full commitment so that my tasks can be appropriately transferred.
In addition, I would like to inform you about my vacation days. I still have [number] vacation days left and would like to use them before I leave. Hopefully, you have no objection to this.
Thank you for the great cooperation and the many learning opportunities you have offered me. I learned a lot at [name of company], and I will take that with me throughout my career.
Could you confirm that you have received this letter in good order?
I wish you and [company name] every success in the future.
Your name (first and last name)