Oversight: the ways in which an employment contract may end

There are several ways an employment contract can end according to Dutch law. This blog will provide an oversight of the possibilities. Further information can be found by following the provided links.

By operation of law

A contract of definite term ends by operation of law after the agreed upon end-date or the fulfilment of the agreed upon circumstances. This means that neither party has to do anything for the contract to come to an end.  It is however mandatory for the employer to notify his employee 1 month before the ending in writing whether a next contract will follow and if yes, under which employment conditions. If no such notification takes place, the contract will still end on the agreed up on date, however, the employer owes the employee compensation for the lack or tardiness of the notification.


Dutch law requires that an employer has (1) a reasonable ground for termination and (2) tried, but failed, to reinstate the employee in another fitting position. On the other hand, an employee can always terminate the employment agreement. Both parties should take into account their respective notice periods when terminating.

Mutual agreement: settlement agreement

An employment agreement may also end by mutual agreement. It is usual for parties to agree upon the terms of the termination in a settlement agreement.

Summary dismissal

Either party can terminate the employment agreement immediately in case of an urgent reason. The other party should be notified of this urgent reason as quickly as possible and in writing. The Dutch court is very strict in accepting summary dismissal.

Termination during a probationary period

During a probationary period both parties can terminate the employment contract with immediate effect without a reason.

Death of the employee

The employment contract ends when the employee dies. The death of the employer does in principle not lead to the ending of the contract.