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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Reform of dismissal law

Country of implementation
The Netherlands
General short description of the innovation
This reform aims to increase flexibility and mobility on the labour market, especially of older workers. Removal of the obligation for workers to protest formally against dismissal; abolishing last in-first out to achieve representative age distribution; obligatory test for the possibility of re-placement of sick employees using retraining. Combined with changes in ue-benefits (ww). Political discussion an social dialogue on further reform of dismissal law has continued since 2006, new reforms are currently in the making.
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
since 2006
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Budgets: not applicable
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: all employees on a contract, around 6 million workers in 2012
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
Consecutive governments have tried to reform dismissal law which is seen by national and international observers as an obstacle for economic development. The Netherlands have relatively high protection for insiders on a permanent contract and lower protection for flexible and temporary workers. This reform consisted of simplifying dismissal procedures and replacement of the ?last in first out? principle which affected young, new workers. In the new system dismissals following re-organisation have to achieve a representation of age groups which is similar to the composition of the workforce before the re-organisation. Effectively, this means older workers can be dismissed more easily in case of re-organisation.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
long-term perspective to make the labour market more flexible
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • flexicurity
Type of innovation
  • new/changed output and/or outcome
New outputs
  • regulations of the labour market
Intended target group
Working age population
  • employment situation (active in typical work)
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state (regulation)
  • employees (organised or individual)
  • employers (organised or individual)
Clarification of the role of various actors
Reforms of dismissal law are a continuous topic of social dialogue in the Netherlands.
Intended output
  • regulation of the labour market (new regulations with respect to dismissal)
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
No data or evaluation have been found on the impact of this reform. The outcomes mentioned are intended/expected outcomes. However, the nature of the reform implicates less job protection and more flexibility/mobility for workers. New reforms along the same line are currently in the making, based on the social agreement in 2012. These new reforms aim to offer better protection for flexible workers and less protection for workers on a (indefinite) contract. This should stimulate employers to hire more workers on permanent contract and to invest in them. These new reforms intend to introduce a ?transition budget? instead of compensation pay, as temporary income protection during unemployment.
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