A probation period is the initial trial run that many employees must complete when they are first hired. An employer generally uses them to observe and evaluate the performance and conduct of new employees. Whilst this stage of employment does not provide the same levels of protection for fully fledged employees, this does not mean they are without any protection.
Under employment law in the Netherlands, a probationary period must be agreed upon and outlined in writing in the employment agreement. This is a strict requirement under Dutch law, where the parties must both expressly agree to it. The only exception is if your work sector is covered under a collective labour agreement.
Some trial periods can be declared void, mainly where:
The length of a probationary period is dependent on the overall duration of the employment agreement set between the parties. As such, it depends on the nature of the agreement, whether it is a fixed or non-fixed term.
It is important to note that under employment law in the Netherlands, employment can be terminated at any time during the probation period, by both the employer or the employee’s resignation. In addition, a party ca proceeds with terminating the agreement without any obligation to give notice.
In the event a Collective Labour Agreement is applicable in the Netherlands, then the rights of the parties during a probationary period can change. Primarily, this concerns the maximum duration of the probation period. Depending on the sector of work; if the Collective Labour Agreement was entered into after the 1st of January, 2015, and is existing for more than 6 months but less than two years, then the maximum duration for a notice period can be increased from one to two months.
As an experienced employment lawyer in the Netherlands, I am able to advise clients on all aspects of employment law in the Netherlands, including issues with probation periods. I would be happy to discuss further details regarding this.