First published in ACCESS Autumn 2017 magazine
Termination and aging
The stereotype of an expat is someone who works for a few years in a foreign country before returning home or moving on to their next posting.
But as globalisation increases and traditional work situations change, internationals of all stripes are making different choices. For some, that may mean working for longer in one place.
If you chose to continue working in the Netherlands after the age when you’re officially eligible for your pension, the rules governing your employment conditions change, especially if you’re terminated.
Nearly everyone who has lived or worked in the Netherlands is entitled to a state pension, as written in the National Old Age Pensions Act (Algemene ouderdomswet), or AOW. The AOW pension age has increased in recent years. Currently, it is at the age of 65. In 2018, that will increase to 66 and to 71 in 2021. In 2022, making it more complicated, the AOW pension age will be tied to life expectancy. So, if you were born after September 30, 1955, your exact AOW pension age is unknown. You can continue to work after you become eligible for your AOW pension.
In the Netherlands, anyone terminated from a permanent contract or a temporary contract that lasts for 24 months is entitled to a transitional allowance. The purpose of the transitional allowance is to cover the employee’s costs while they are between jobs. However, anyone who has reached the AOW pension age is not entitled to this allowance. The justification has been that those employees are not truly active in the labour market and thus don’t need assistance with their living expenses while they are searching for another job.
However, this is currently under review by the Dutch Supreme Court. According to the European Union’s Equality Framework Directive, discrimination based on age is not permissible unless it is justifiable. A court in the Netherlands has asked the Dutch Supreme Court to review if the exclusion from the transitional allowance meets the criteria set out under this directive.
If you’ve been terminated without a transitional allowance or for any other reason, the specialised lawyers at the Legal Expat Desk may be able to assist you.
Scheveningseweg 52 2517 KW The Hague t +31 (0)70 3615048