In some instances, altering the end date of a temporary employment contract while that contract is in effect might be the same as entering into a new contract. As a result, the respective employee may (unintentionally) be given a permanent contract. This situation emerged in a recent case handled by the Court of The Hague.
In a row
The case in question concerned an employee whose temporary employment contract was extended twice. The second contract extension initially pertained to a period between February 15, 2018 and August 15, 2018. However, on July 2, 2018 the employer decided to alter the given end date to August 14, 2020. The ruling by the Court of The Hague was in line with a previous verdict by the Court of Justice of the European Union, which had ruled that an alteration in the end date of a temporary contract can be equated to entering into a new contract. Under Dutch law, an employee may only be given a maximum of three temporary contracts in a row. After this, (s)he must be given a permanent contract. Since in the case handled by the Court of The Hague the temporary contract had already been extended twice, this meant the employee in question had already had the maximum of three temporary contracts in a row. The court thus ruled that by altering the end date and thereby extending the contract a third time (i.e. the fourth contract of the respective employee), the employer had unintentionally entered into a permanent contract with the employee.
Court of The Hague, June 30, 2021; ECLI (abridged): 7032