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Are employers required to give notice of termination?

Employers must respect the applicable statutory notice periods of one, two or three months, depending on the employee’s years of service. The employer and employee may agree, in writing, on shorter or longer notice periods. However, the employer and employee cannot agree on a notice period of less than one month.

What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?

Except for certain periods during which the employee may not be terminated, and as long as the applicable notice period is respected, no specific procedures must be adhered to in relation to redundancy procedures. 

Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?

If the prerequisites for a mass layoff are fulfilled, specific rules apply. If a mass layoff is intended, the employer must consult with the employees' representative (or the employees if no representative exists). Further, the employer must inform the local employment authorities about the contemplated mass layoff and subsequently inform them of the outcome of the consultation, as well as providing further details on the mass dismissal.

During the consultation, the employees must be given a chance to suggest how to prevent the mass layoff. In addition, the employees must be informed of the following during the consultation:

  • the reasons for the mass layoff;
  • the number of employees concerned;
  • the number of persons usually employed; and
  • the period within which the employer will give notice of termination.

What protections do employees have on dismissal?

Employers are generally free to terminate employees while respecting the applicable notice period. However, employees are protected to a certain extent, with regard to both the subject matter of dismissal and when the notice of termination is given.

Terminations made during certain inopportune times (eg, during leave for illness or accident, pregnancy or military service) are null and void. Terminations based on certain defined criteria (eg, based on the employee's race or religion or the fact the employee rightfully exercised his or her rights) may qualify as an abusive termination and will remain effective (ie, no re-engagement), but the employee can seek indemnity payment from his or her employer of up to six months’ salary. 

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