In context

Proposed labour reforms pass first parliamentary hurdle

February 14, 2019
In context

The Second Chamber of the Dutch parliament recently voted in favour of the “Labour market in balance” bill, which will further reform Dutch employment law. The bill introduces a new “cumulative” ground for dismissal, allowing employers to pursue termination of an employment agreement based on a combination of grounds. For dismissals based on cumulative grounds, the statutory transition payment can be increased by up to 50%. Since the introduction of the Work and Security Act (WWZ) in 2015, courts have rejected up to 70% of termination requests, depending on the ground for dismissal. The new cumulative ground may well become the new escape route for employers who cannot make a case based on other statutory grounds for dismissal.

Left-wing parties in parliament voted against the bill, as they believe that the easing of the dismissal rules will erode the position of employees. To meet some of the opposition’s wishes, the bill was amended to improve the position of “payrolling employees”, who will become entitled to the same pension arrangements as regular employees benefit from.


The bill reintroduces the rules on chains of temporary employment agreements which existed before the WWZ’s introduction in 2015. This means that if the bill becomes law, the maximum period of a “chain” will go back to being three years, instead of the current two years. However, the interval between two temporary agreements that can “break” the chain will remain six months, instead of the pre-WWZ period of three months. This gives employers a longer period to decide whether there is enough work left to offer employees a permanent contract. The widely criticised proposal to expand the trial period in permanent contracts from two to five months has been removed from the bill.

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