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Again, I would like to discuss some of the proposed changes to Dutch employment law from the “Bill Work and Security” (Wetsvoorstel werk en zekerheid). It regards major changes, which require organisations to anticipate in this respect.

Current provisions on succession of fixed-term employment contracts (ketenregeling)

Under current legislation, the number of successive fixed-term employmeng agreements is subject to a maximum of three. Also the duration of the series of fixed-term employment agreements is three years at most. When an employer offers a fourth consecutive fixed-term employment agreement, or when the maximum period of three years is exceeded, the contract is automatically converted to a permanent contract. This chain of fixed-term employment agreements can be broken if there is an interruption of three months. These rules may be derogated from unlimitedly in a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CAO). And this in fact happens on a large scale, often to the detriment of the employee. These rules are known as the ‘ketenregeling’.

New ketenregeling

Under the new legislation, the number of fixed-term employment agreements that may be agreed upon will still be three. However, the maximum period of this ‘chain’ will be reduced from three to two years. The chain will only be broken if an employee has not been employed for six months. A remarkable change in the ketenregeling is that only in a CAO, the law may be derogated from in case of positions where this is required because of the intrinsic nature of the business.


The new ketenregeling will also have an impact on the possibility to deploy on-call workers. Companies with a ‘flexible layer’ must adapt their organisation in good time.

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