• Insights

Selection rules in relation to dismissals in the Netherlands

Written by
Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten, leading law firm in the Netherlands specialised in HR and employment law.
In this article, we take a look at selection order for dismissals

In the event of an individual or collective dismissal based on economic grounds, the employer cannot randomly select employees for redundancy (unless there is only one person with the role). The selection must be done by applying the ‘principle of reflection’. Pursuant to this principle, all employees with interchangeable jobs will be divided into age groups.

Interchangeable job roles are those that are equivalent with respect to duties, required knowledge, competence and experience. They must also be similar with respect to the level of the position and salary. It is important that the job roles be compared, not the employees themselves.

The division is into five age groups: 15 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 plus.  The principle of reflection then uses a formula that selects in which age category an employee (or a percentage of employees) is to be made redundant. If two or more dismissals fall in the same group, the ‘last in first out’ (LIFO) principle applies. This system ensures that before and after the dismissals, the age balance in the workforce will remain the same. In some circumstances this method will not give a definite outcome, for example if there are two or more age groups within which employees qualify for dismissal. In that case, the employees from these age groups will be taken together for applying LIFO. If two or more employees within one age group have exactly the same length of employment, only then is the employer given discretion to decide the selection order.


Hylda Wiarda
Hylda Wiarda
Partner - Netherlands
Bronsgeest Deur Advocaten