CMS Expert Guide to employment termination law and legislation

Global comparison

1. Dismissal of employees

1.1 Reasons for dismissal

The Employment Relationship Act (‘Zakon o delovnih razmerjih’ or ‘ZDR-1’) distinguishes between ordinary and extraordinary termination of the employment contract. Ordinary termination is termination with notice period, which is only possible due to a business reason, reason of fault, incapacity to work, inability to work due to disability, or the unsuccessful completion of a probationary period, any of which render continuation of the employment under the conditions of the existing employment contract impossible.

A business reason occurs when the performance of certain work is no longer required under the conditions of the current employment contract due to economic, organizational, technological, structural or similar reasons on the employer’s side.

Reasons of incapacity are: non-achievement of expected work results because the worker has failed to carry out the work in due time, professionally and with due quality, or non-fulfilment of the conditions for carrying out work as stipulated under the law and executive regulations issued on the basis of law due to which the worker fails to fulfil or cannot fulfil the contractual or other obligations arising out of the employment relationship.

Extraordinary termination is termination without notice period and is only possible if:

  • it is based on one of the exhaustively provided reasons in ZDR-1; and
  • taking into account all the circumstances and interests of employer and employee, continuation of the employment until the end of the notice period or until the expiry of the employment contract is considered impossible; and
  • it is given within 30 days of establishing the reason for extraordinary termination, and within six months of the occurrence of that reason.

In order to unilaterally terminate an employment agreement for an indefinite period of time, other than termination during the probationary period or an urgent reason for immediate dismissal, the employer requires a statutory dismissal ground to realise a termination. The employer can appeal to the following (limitative) statutory dismissal grounds under Dutch law:

  1. Economic grounds
  2. Long-term illness or disability
  3. Regularly not being able to perform work due to illness or disability
  4. Underperformance
  5. Culpable acts or omissions
  6. Conscientious objection
  7. Disturbed working relationship
  8. Other grounds than those mentioned above
  9. Cumulated dismissal grounds based on more than two dismissal grounds as mentioned under C – H combined

Depending on the statutory dismissal ground, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) or the Court is competent to assess whether the termination is allowed or granted. The employer should request the UWV for permission to terminate the employment agreement in case it appeals to dismissal reasons A or B. The employer should request the Court to terminate the employment agreement in case it appeals to dismissal reasons C to I.

1.2 Form

Termination notice must be given in writing, providing for an explanation of the reasons for termination and pointing out possible legal remedies available the employee and his rights regarding unemployment insurance.

In case of ordinary termination of an employment contract due to reason  of fault, the employer must, before serving the employee with termination notice, give the employee a written warning regarding fulfilment of his obligations and the possibility of termination if he fails to comply. Such a warning can be issued within 60 days of establishing the breach and within six months of the occurrence of the breach. If employee commits another breach of this or any other obligation from the employment, within a year after the warning and if such breach is serious enough, the employer may terminate the employment contract.

In case of ordinary termination given by employer due to reason of fault or incapacity (or in case of extraordinary termination), the employer must notify the employee in writing about the initiated proceeding before serving the employee with a termination notice. The notification must include details of the alleged violations of the employee’s obligations or his / her alleged incompetence and thus provide the employee the opportunity to defend him- / herself within a reasonable period. The notice must be given at least three business days prior to the date of the hearing during which the employee can present his / her defence. The employer is (in some exceptional cases) released from such duty if it would be unreasonable to expect it to provide the employee such an opportunity. The employee can also request that a representative of his trade union and / or his legal representative are / is present at the hearing.

Depending on the kind of termination, different form requirements apply.

Unilateral termination:

  • Employee Insurance Agency: the employer needs to give notice in writing after approval has been given by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) to terminate the employment agreement.
  • Court: if the employer has pursued termination based on legal proceedings, the court will terminate the employment agreement. Meaning that no further notice needs to be given by the employer.
  • Probationary period: there is no formal requirement to give notice during the probationary period in writing. In case the employee asks for the reasons of termination, the employer is however obliged to confirm the reasons in writing. Moreover, it is highly recommend that notice be given in writing in order to create evidence that notice during the probationary period was given in a timely fashion.
  • Summary dismissal: there is no formal requirement to give immediate dismissal in writing. However, when the immediate dismissal is given, the employer needs to directly inform the employee of the urgent cause(s) of immediate dismissal. Therefore, it is common practice – and highly recommended – to give the immediate dismissal in writing in which the urgent cause(s) for immediate dismissal are set out thoroughly. 

Mutual agreement:

  • Settlement agreement: Parties can also agree to terminate the settlement agreement based on mutual consent, which needs to be concluded in writing.

1.3 Notice period

Ordinary termination

The notice period depends on the length of service with the respective employer. As a general rule, the statutory minimum notice periods (unless otherwise determined by a collective bargaining agreement, employer's by-laws or an individual employment contract) are:

  1. in case of unsuccessful completion of a trial period: seven days;
  2. in case of ordinary termination by the employee:
    • 15 days for employees with less than one year of service and
    • 30 days for employees with more than one year of service;
  3. due to ordinary termination by the employer due to business reasons or incapacity:
    • 15 days for employees with less than one year of service;
    • 30 days for employees with more than one year of service; and
    • for employees with two or more years of service, the 30-day notice period increases for two days for each year of employment with the employer but cannot exceed 60 days. For employees with 25 years or more years of service, the notice period is 80 days, unless otherwise provided by a collective bargaining agreement.      

If the employment contract is terminated due to employee fault, okthe statutory notice period is 15 days.

Extraordinary termination: there is no notice period.

Bankruptcy, liquidation proceeding, winding down of the employer or a compulsory settlement.

In a bankruptcy procedure, the bankruptcy administrator may terminate employment contracts of employees who have become redundant due to initiation of the bankruptcy procedure with a 15-day notice period.

In case of winding down of the employer for other reasons, the notice period is 30 days.

In the event of confirmed compulsory settlement, the employer may terminate the employment contracts of those employees who have been characterized as redundant in the redundancy programme with a 30-day notice period. Compulsory settlement (or compulsory composition) is a proceeding for an insolvent debtor which: (i) enables financial reorganisation of the debtor; and (ii) assures partial payment of the creditor’s claim, both aimed at ensuring the further operation of the debtor.

The statutory-notice period for the employee is one month, regardless of the number of years of employment. The statutory-notice period for the employer depends on the length of service as per the termination date. An applicable collective bargaining agreement may stipulate otherwise, but the statutory-notice period to be observed by the employer is equal to:

  • One month if the employment has lasted five years or less;
  • Two months if the employment has lasted between five and ten years;
  • Three months if the employment has lasted between ten and 15 years;
  • Four months if the employment has lasted for 15 years or longer.

The period of notice may, for the employee, be extended contractually up to a maximum of six months. If the employee’s period of notice is extended, however, the period of notice for the employer may not be less than twice that of the employee.

1.4 Involvement of works council

The employer must inform and consult the works council or workers’ representative in relation to the collective dismissal of a large number of employees.

Save for exceptional cases, the employer cannot terminate the employment contract of a member of a works council or a workers’ representative without the prior consent of the works council. The immunity applies for the length of the appointment and a year after the lapse of the mandate.

If the employer intends to dismiss an employee who is not a trade union member, the employer must, at the employee’s request, notify the works council / works representative in writing of its intention to terminate (ordinary or extraordinary termination) the employee’s employment contract. The works council / works representative must give its opinion within six days. Silence is deemed to mean the works council / works representative does not oppose to the termination. It may oppose the termination if it considers there are no substantial reasons for the termination or the termination procedure has not been carried out in accordance with the ZDR-1. The employer is not bound by the opinion of the works council / works representative and can continue with the termination despite a negative opinion.

The works council (if any) must be offered the opportunity to advise on any considered decision to terminate a number of employment agreements, which terminations have a significant impact on the organisation.

1.5 Involvement of a union

If the employer intends to dismiss an employee who is a trade union member, the employer must, at the employee’s request, notify the trade union in writing of its intention to terminate (ordinary or extraordinary termination) the employee’s employment contract. The trade union must give its opinion within six days. Silence is deemed to mean the union does not oppose to the termination. It may oppose the termination if it considers there are no substantial reasons for the termination or the termination procedure has not been carried out in accordance with the ZDR-1. The employer is not bound by the opinion of the trade union and can continue with the termination despite a negative opinion.

An employer cannot terminate an employment contract of an appointed
or elected trade union representative without the prior consent of the trade union. The immunity applies for the length of the appointment and a year after the lapse of the mandate.

The trade union is involved in mass redundancies (see below).

Under Dutch law, an employer is obligated to notify unions and the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and discuss the consequences of any reorganisation with the trade unions, when more than 20 employees are being dismissed within a three-month period.

The employer can also be obligated to involve or inform the unions under other circumstances based on the collective bargaining agreement (if applicable).

1.6 Approval of state authorities necessary

The employer may only dismiss an employee who is pregnant, during breastfeeding (one year after birth) or on parental leave, and for one month thereafter, only with the prior consent of the labour inspectorate, if there are reasons for extraordinary termination of the employment contract, or if proceedings for terminating the employer’s business have been initiated.

Not applicable.

1.7 Collective redundancies

The employer must prepare a redundancy programme if it is established that for business reasons, the work performed by a certain number of workers will become unnecessary in the next 30 days. The numbers of workers who need to be made redundant for this to apply are as follows: 

  1. at least 10 workers where the employer employs more than 20 and fewer than 100 workers; or
  2. at least 10% of workers where the employer employs at least 100 workers but fewer than 300 workers; or
  3. at least 30 workers where the employer employs 300 workers or more.

In determining which workers are to be made redundant, the employer must take the following criteria into consideration: the employee’s qualifications, work experience, performance, length of service, medical health and social status, whether the employee is a parent of three or more minors, or if
the employee is the sole provider for a family with minors. The employer can determine his own criteria instead of those provided by the collective bargaining agreement if the trade union agrees with them.

The employer must inform and consult trade unions, the works council and the National Employment Office (‘Zavod za zaposlovanje Republike Slovenije’) regarding its intention to institute mass redundancies and a redundancy programme for business reasons. The employer cannot terminate employment contracts until 30 days after the National Employment Office has been informed in detail of the mass redundancy. The National Employment Office may increase this period to 60 days.

If more than 20 employees are being dismissed within a three-month period, the employer must notify the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV), the unions and the works council (if any) and discuss the consequences of any reorganisation with the trade unions.

For the purpose of determining whether this threshold of 20 employees in three months has been reached, employment agreement terminated by mutual consent also counts towards the total. 

Generally, if more than 20 employees are involved, the employer offers a social plan, which may be negotiated with trade unions (if applicable) or the works council. Unless a collective bargaining agreement stipulates differently, there is no statutory obligation to offer a social plan although it is very common to do so.

The works council (if any) must be offered the opportunity to advise on any mass redundancy being contemplated. 

1.8 Summary dismissals

Not applicable.

An employer can terminate an employment agreement (definite and indefinite) with immediate effect for an ‘urgent’ cause, such as theft, fraud, or other very serious misconduct. One of the formalities to strictly take into account is that notice must be given very shortly after the employer has become aware of relevant findings and (ideally) after the employee has been confronted with these findings. In case of an urgent cause, there is no requirement for a mutual agreement, or court action or procedure at the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). 

Case law shows that in the event of an urgent cause, the employer can also decide to confront the employee with the findings and then give the employee a conditional immediate dismissal. When the employer opts for this possibility, the employee is offered a settlement agreement that can be accepted within a couple of days. If the employee fails to do so in a timely fashion, then the employment agreement ends based on urgent cause. The benefit of this procedure is that it allows the employer to know usually within a week whether the matter can be closed by means of a final settlement instead of being confronted with lengthy and costly procedures initiated by the employee.

1.9 Consequences if requirements are not met

If the court finds that the employer has failed to comply with statutory requirements, it will declare the employment termination unlawful and reinstate the employee with retroactive effect (ex tunc), recognizing the employee’s period of service and other rights arising from the employment relationship.

Instead of reinstatement, the court may, at employer’s or employee’s proposal:

  1. determine that the termination was invalid and that the employment relationship lasted until the first instance judgment was issued; or
  2. recognise the employee’s period of service and other rights arising out of the employment relationship – the employee is then given the rights arising out of the employment relationship as if the employment contract had not been terminated; or
  3. award appropriate monetary compensation of a maximum of 18 months’ salary, calculated on the basis of the average monthly salary received in the final three months preceding the termination.

The employee may seek legal protection due to unlawfulness of termination within 30 days from the service of the termination notice.

A wrongful dismissal – meaning that the statutory reason cannot be sufficiently substantiated or other requirements have not been met such as the redeployment obligation – can lead to the restoration of the employment contract or to additional compensation (i.e. "fair compensation").

In case of collective redundancies, if trade unions are not consulted and the employer proceeds with the termination of the employment agreements based on a consensual agreement that determines the legal relationship between both parties, these agreements are subject to annulment. This may have far-reaching consequences, since redundancy pay will have to be paid back in the event of annulment and the employment agreement will have remained valid throughout.

1.10 Severance pay

An employee whose employment contract has been terminated for a business reason or reason of incapacity, is entitled to a severance payment. The amount depends on the number of (full) years of service with the employer (including the employment with the employer’s legal predecessors). The basis for calculation is the average monthly salary, which the employee has received or would have received if working in the last three months prior to the end of employment.

Severance pay is calculated as follows:

  • 1/5 of the average monthly salary for each year of employment with the employer if the duration of the employment is between one and ten years; or
  • 1/4 of the average monthly salary for each year of employment with the employer if the duration of the employment is between ten and 20 years; or
  • 1/3 of the average monthly salary for each year of employment with the employer if the duration of the employment exceeds 20 years.

The amount of the severance payment may not exceed ten times of the average monthly salary received in the final three months preceding the termination unless an applicable collective bargaining agreement stipulates otherwise.

In the event of termination of the employment contract for a fixed period concluded for one year or less, generally with few exemptions, the employee is entitled to severance pay in the amount of 1 / 5 of the base (base being the employee’s average monthly salary for full-time in the last three months, or during the working period prior to the termination). If the contract is concluded for a period longer than one year, the severance pay increases proportionally.

The same provisions regarding severance payment as above apply to workers whose employment contract has been terminated in a bankruptcy / liquidation / winding down of the employer or compulsory settlement proceeding. In a compulsory settlement proceeding, however, the employer and worker may stipulate in writing the manner, form or reduction of the severance payment if a greater number of jobs with the employer would be jeopardised by a full payment.

When the employment agreement is terminated via the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) or the court, a mandatory severance payment (i.e. transition payment) is due. The amount of the transition payment depends on the seniority of the employee and is equal to:

  • One-third of the monthly salary for each calendar year.

In 2020, the maximum transition payment is EUR 83,000 gross and for employees who earn more than EUR 83,000 gross a year, the transition payment is maximised at one annual gross salary.

In the situation where an employment agreement is terminated on the basis of the cumulated dismissal ground, the sub-district court can grant, in addition to the transition payment, a severance of up to half of the transition payment.

The employee is entitled to additional (reasonable) compensation if the employer has acted in a seriously culpable way. In that case, the remuneration is not subject to a maximum amount and is determined by the court. Case law shows an increase in the amounts awarded to employees.

If the agreed or statutory notice period is not observed, the termination of the employment agreement is deemed ‘irregular’. An irregular termination does not affect the validity of the termination itself, but it entitles the other party to claim statutory damages or compensation for the damages actually incurred.

1.11 Non-competition clauses

A non-competition clause is only valid if agreed upon in writing in the employment contract. ZDR-1 allows the use of this clause for employment contracts for indefinite term as well as for fixed term employment contracts for managerial workers. The clause can last only up to two years following termination. The clause must provide for a method of calculating the compensation to be given to the employee, otherwise it is invalid. The employee must receive at least one-third of his average monthly salary (calculated over the three months immediately preceding termination) for each month of
the restricted period. If the clause prevents the employee from gaining a comparable salary, the employee is entitled to compensation during the restricted period.

A non-competition clause may be agreed only when the employment contract is terminated by mutual agreement, due to ordinary termination of the contract by the employee, ordinary termination by the employer due to reason of fault, or extraordinary termination of the contract by the employer and if the employee has gained technical, production or business know-how and business connections while carrying out work or in connection to
his / her work. However, the non-competition clause must not prevent the employee from obtaining appropriate employment. 

The parties can mutually agree to waive the enforcement of the clause if they wish to do so.

A non-competition clause may be inserted into the employment contract, but it will only be valid if it was set out in writing with an adult employee. If a non-competition clause is inserted into a definite term employment agreement, the compelling reasons that such a clause is necessary must be specified in writing in the employment agreement.

1.12 Miscellaneous

The employer cannot, without the prior consent of the relevant organization, terminate the employment contracts of works council members or supervisory boards representing workers, workers’ representatives (including those on the council of an institution), or appointed or elected trade union representatives.

Other categories of protected workers include older workers, parents and disabled persons.

The employer may not terminate the employment contract of an older employee, who has reached the age of 58 or of an employee, who has less than five years until qualifying for an old-age pension due to a business reason without his written consent.

This protection does not apply if:

  1. the employee is assured a right to unemployment benefit until he fulfils the minimum conditions for receiving an old-age pension; or
  2. appropriate new employment is offered to the employee; or
  3. in the event the employee has already fulfilled the above conditions for protection against the termination of the employment contract when he concluded the respective contract, unless the contract was concluded according to item (ii); or
  4. proceedings have been initiated for terminating the business of the employer.

The employer is not allowed to terminate the employment contract of mothers during their pregnancy, while breastfeeding of children up to the age of one, or the contracts of parents during their parental leave in the form of full absence from work, and for one month thereafter. This notwithstanding, the written employment contract can be terminated with the prior consent of the labour inspectorate, if there are reasons for extraordinary termination of the employment contract, or if proceedings for terminating the employer’s business have been initiated.

The employer may terminate the employment contract of a disabled person:

  1. due to his incapacity to perform work subject to the conditions set out in the employment contract; or
  2. due to business-related reasons;
  3. but both are subject to the conditions set out in legislation governing pension and disability insurance or work rehabilitation, and the employment of disabled persons.

This does not apply if proceedings have been initiated for terminating the business of the employer.

Dutch employment law prohibits giving notice to certain categories of employees, such as pregnant women, members and former members of a works council and employees who are absent due to illness (at least during the first two years).

In cases where the illness commences after the employer files his application for dismissal to the UWV, the employer will still be allowed to give a notice of dismissal to the employee.

The rules for special protection do not apply to cases of termination of employment by the court. However, the court will assess whether the request for termination involves a prohibition to terminate and will refuse the termination if the reason for termination directly results from a prohibition to terminate.

If a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) applies, the employment conditions will be governed by the CBA. The CBA may also provide for an alternative dismissal route in case of redundancy, but that is uncommon.

2. Dismissal of managing directors

Under Slovenian law, the managing director, that is a legal representative of the company does not need to have an employment agreement with the company, or any other type of agreement, in order to be able to represent the company.

The table below sets out the position under Slovenian law in respect to a ‘managing director’, who has been appointed for the term of office in accordance with the Slovenian Companies Act, with or without a management agreement (civil).

If the ‘managing director’ is in an employment relationship with the company, both corporate and employment aspects must be taken into account. From the employment perspective, the employer and managing director can agree to regulate their employment relationship differently than prescribed by law regarding:

  1. the conditions and limitations of fixed-term employment,
  2. working time,
  3. provision of breaks and rest periods,
  4. the remuneration,
  5. disciplinary responsibility, and
  6. termination of the employment contract.

If the parties do not agree to regulate their relationship differently, the statutory provisions apply (please see the general section above).

2.1 Reasons for dismissal

The managing director of a limited liability company may be recalled at any time by a resolution of a general assembly, irrespective of whether the managing director has been appointed for a fixed or indefinite period. The conditions for the recall of the managing director are to be determined in the contract concluded between the managing director and the company (management agreement). If the company has a supervisory board, then the supervisory board appoints and recalls (dismisses) the managing director.

At joint stock companies, the supervisory board may (prior to the end of a manager’s term of office) recall (dismiss) members of the management board for the following reasons:

  1. if the member is in serious breach of his obligations; or
  2. if the member is not able to manage the operations; or
  3. if the general assembly passes a vote of no confidence in him (unless the vote of no confidence has been passed based on clearly unsubstantiated reasons); or
  4. if other economic and business reasons exist (e.g. significant changes in shareholder structure, reorganisation, etc.)

In the Netherlands, the statutory director who is appointed by the shareholder of a private or public limited company has a special legal status. The statutory director has a dual position: a corporate position and an employment agreement with the company. The statutory director does not enjoy the same dismissal protection as regular employees.

In all circumstances, the employer must ensure that there are one or more reasonable grounds based on which the employment agreement would end. Usually, lack of trust is presented as the main reasonable ground for termination. The possible (limitative) statutory reasonable grounds under Dutch law are as follows:

  1. Economic grounds
  2. Long-term illness or disability
  3. Regularly not being able to perform work due to illness or disability
  4. Underperformance
  5. Culpable acts or omissions
  6. Conscientious objection
  7. Disturbed working relationship
  8. Other grounds than those mentioned above
  9. Cumulated dismissal grounds based on more than two dismissal grounds as mentioned under C – H combined

2.2 Form

In limited liability companies, managing directors are recalled by shareholders’ resolution. In joint-stock companies, members of the management board are recalled by the supervisory board. In a one-tier system, the board of directors recalls the executive directors (if appointed). The manager / managing director must be notified in writing about the recall.

Before being able, exceptions excluded, to terminate the corporate position of the statutory director by means of a shareholders' resolution, certain procedural steps must be taken. These steps are set out in the articles of association of the company. The manner in which the statutory director is invited in writing, the wording of the invitation (which should not only include the reasonable grounds but also explicitly state that the statutory director has the right to render advice about the contemplated decision and be heard) and the timing of the shareholders' meeting are essential to ensure that the corporate termination cannot be legally challenged.

It is also important to ensure that the discussion held during the shareholders' meeting and the resolution are well documented in case the statutory director decides to initiate court proceedings afterwards to claim damages. Once the corporate position has been terminated validly, the employment agreement will end automatically after expiration of the notice period.

2.3 Notice period

No statutory notice period. The notice period depends on the provisions of the management contract or other contract setting out the legal basis for the (contract / letter of) appointment of the manager.

The statutory-notice period for the statutory director is one month, regardless of the number of years of employment. The statutory notice period for the employer depends on the length of service as per the termination date. An applicable collective bargaining agreement may stipulate otherwise, but the statutory notice period to be observed by the employer is equal to:

  • One month if the employment has lasted five years or less;
  • Two months if the employment has lasted between five and ten years;
  • Three months if the employment has lasted between ten and 15 years;
  • Four months if the employment has lasted for 15 years or longer.

The period of notice may, for the statutory director, be extended contractually up  to a maximum of six months. If the statutory director's period of notice is extended, however, the period of notice for the employer may not be less than twice that of the statutory director.

2.4 Involvement of works council

No involvement.

If the company has a works council, then both the dismissal and the hiring of a statutory director (in light of the Works Councils Act, this person is defined as the individual who, alone or jointly with others, exercises the highest direct authority in managing work within an enterprise) are subject to the prior advice of the works council. The involvement of the works council must be initiated at such a stage when the decision is still being contemplated. In practice, the handing over of the invitation to the shareholders meeting, which handles the corporate dismissal, may hold an element of surprise, but the works council is usually involved shortly after the invitation has been handed over.

2.5 Involvement of a union

No involvement.

No involvement.

2.6 Approval of state authorities necessary

The recall resolution must be registered in the court/business register. The registration has a declaratory effect.

Not applicable.

2.7 Collective redundancies

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

2.8 Summary dismissals

Not applicable.

An employer can terminate an employment agreement (definite and indefinite) with immediate effect for an ‘urgent’ cause, such as theft, fraud, or other serious misconduct. One of the formalities to take into account is that notice must be given shortly after the employer has become aware of relevant findings. Due to the fact that the statutory director also holds a corporate position, a shareholders meeting should be convened as soon as possible – in accordance with the articles of association – in which the immediate dismissal is put on the agenda. 

Until the shareholders meeting takes place, parties have the opportunity to negotiate a settlement agreement. The benefit of reaching a settlement agreement is that it allows the employer to know usually within a week whether the matter can be closed by means of a final settlement instead of being confronted with lengthy and costly procedures initiated by the statutory director.

If no settlement agreement is reached, the shareholders' meeting will take place. In this meeting, the statutory director will be given the opportunity to be heard and will be given an advisory vote as a statutory director. In the shareholders' meeting, the decision will be made to terminate the corporate and employment position with immediate effect. 

2.9 Consequences if requirements are not met

The managing director cannot be reinstated (even if the recall was unjustified). However, the managing director has the right to compensation or reimbursement for damages in accordance with the general principles of civil law. There is no statutory compensation. Compensation is based on income, and provisions for its calculation are to be set out in the management contract or other contract setting out the legal basis for the appointment of the manager.

If there is no reasonable ground and/or if redeployment (within the group) is reasonable, but the statutory director has been dismissed anyway, the requirements for dismissal are not met. If these requirements have been violated, the court may grant the statutory director fair compensation.

2.10 Severance pay

The amount of severance pay is not regulated by the Companies Act. According to the Companies Act, however, in joint stock companies the severance pay may be paid out only in case of early termination (and only due to specific reasons), whereby the general assembly may determine the highest amount. Severance pay is set out in the articles of association of the company or in (the managing director’s) contract.

When the statutory director’s employment agreement is terminated, the mandatory transition payment is due. The amount of the transition payment depends on the seniority of the employee and is equal to:

  • One-third of the monthly salary for each calendar year.

In 2020, the maximum transition payment is EUR 83,000 gross and for employees who earn more than EUR 83,000 gross a year, the transition payment is maximised at one annual gross salary.

In case parties have agreed to a contractual severance, one should verify whether the statutory director is entitled to both the contractual severance (i.e. a golden parachute) as the statutory severance.

The statutory director may be entitled to an additional (reasonable) compensation, if the employer has acted in a seriously culpable manner. This could apply if the dismissal is not based on any of the statutory reasonable grounds. In that case, the additional compensation, damages, remuneration is not subjected to a specific maximum amount and will be determined by the court. If the statutory director wishes to challenge the decision of the shareholder, he should initiate court proceedings within three months after termination of his employment.

2.11 Non-competition clauses

The articles of association of the company may provide a non-competition clause. To be valid, the prohibition on competition cannot be longer than two years, unless the member of the management board has been recalled (for the reasons set out above) by the supervisory board, or the managing director has been recalled by the general assembly. In these circumstances, the prohibition cannot be longer than six months.

A non-competition clause may be inserted into the employment contract, but it will only be valid if it was set out in writing with an adult employee. If a non-competition clause is inserted into a definite-term employment agreement, the compelling reasons that such a clause is necessary must be specified in writing in the employment agreement.

2.12 Miscellaneous

Not applicable.

The termination prohibitions that apply to employees also apply in the relationship with the managing director. Dutch employment law prohibits giving notice to certain categories of employees, such as pregnant women, members and former members of a works council (which will probably not be statutory directors), and employees who are absent due to illness (at least during the first two years).

If the statutory director falls ill before actually receiving the invitation to the shareholders' meeting, the employment agreement will not end automatically, but will remain in place. The statutory director will in that case be protected against termination of his employment agreement whereas his corporate position can end.