A proposed dismissal of 20 or more employees within a period of 3 months and within a single district of the Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) constitutes a collective dismissal. The definition of ‘dismissal’ under the Dutch Collective Redundancy (Notification) Act (WMCO) also includes settlement agreements that effect termination by mutual agreement for commercial reasons.
Dutch Collective Redundancy (Notification) Act (WMCO)
Employers must notify the stakeholder trade unions of proposed collective dismissals, including a copy of the notification sent to the UWV. In many cases, the Works Council must also be consulted (right to issue a formal opinion pursuant to Section 25 Dutch Works Councils Act (WOR)). Although redundancy plans are often negotiated, there is no requirement for agreement to be reached on these.
Employers may not terminate employment contracts with individual employees, including by mutual agreement, sooner than one month after a proper report has been filed and after substantive consultations have been held. Filing a proper report with the UWV and the stakeholder trade unions is thus key to preventing delays in a reorganisation.
Collective dismissal procedure
What is the procedure for such collective dismissals? The employer must file a notification with the UWV and the stakeholder trade unions, giving the most accurate information possible regarding:
- the number of employees whose employment contracts the employer intends to terminate, subdivided into professions or job titles, age, and gender, as well as the number of employees it usually employs;
- the date or dates on which the employer intends to terminate the employment contract;
- the criteria that will be established for selecting which employees will be eligible for dismissal;
- the method to be used in calculated any redundancy pay;
- the manner in which the employer intends to terminate the employees’ employment contracts.
When notifying the UWV, the employer must also state:
- whether a works council has been established;
- whether this regards a reorganisation resolution that has been subjected to the works council’s right to issue a formal opinion; and, if so,
- the date on which the works council was or will be consulted about the resolution in question.
Naturally, we can advise you as to whether a proposed reorganisation is actually ‘collective’ and falls within the scope of the WMCO. We would also be pleased to help you formulate a proper notification under the WMCO (including in light of the privacy rights of employees who may be affected). For some companies, there will also be an issue concerning which trade unions must be consulted as stakeholders. Please contact us at +31202351150 or via the contact form to make an appointment. We would be glad to help you navigate the collective dismissal procedure.