What Information to Include in Official Reference Letter under Dutch Employment Law?

A reference letter stands as a testament to one’s character, competence, and accomplishments. This document serves as a bridge between the past and the future, encapsulating a person’s professional journey, achievements, and unique qualities.

It not only provides valuable insights but also serves as a powerful endorsement that can influence hiring decisions and career advancements.

Is the Reference Letter Mandatory in the Netherlands?

After the end of the employment contract, upon request of the employee, the employer in the Netherlands is obliged to provide the employee with a reference letter.

The letter of recommendation is a written statement by the employer in which they declare the period during which you worked for them, and include more information. During job interviews, some employers may ask the candidate for a letter of recommendation from the previous employer.

Information to Include in the Reference Letter

The reference letter is a formal and concise document and must contain by Dutch employment law:

a  The nature of the work performed and the working hours per day or per week.
b. The start date and the end date of the employment contract.
c. A statement of how the employee has complied with his obligations.
d. A statement of how the employment contract was terminated.
e. If the employer has cancelled the employment contract, the reason for this.

The information referred to in the parts c, d and e, will only be stated in the reference letter on the request of the employee.

If the employee has terminated the employment contract and owes the employer compensation in that regard, the employer is entitled to also state this in the letter.

The employer, who refuses to issue the requested reference letter, is liable towards the employee as well as towards third parties for the damage caused thereby.

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