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I received an employment contract for a definite term of six months.

One of the articles in this agreement states (literally):

The Agreement can be terminated prematurely by each of the Parties with due observance of the statutory notice period.

According to the Dutch law, there is only a statutory notice period defined for indefinite term contracts. To terminate a definite term contract, the law requires mutual written agreement of both parties (besides cantonal court, urgent dismissal or after consent of the employee insurance agency).

The contract itself does not determine any notice period, neither does the law, so what (if anything) does this article effectively mean? Would it automatically fall back to the law applicable to indefinite term contracts?

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The Agreement can be terminated prematurely by each of the Parties with due observance of the statutory notice period.

equates to:

The Agreement can be terminated prematurely by each of the Parties with due observance of [nothing].

which means:

The Agreement can be terminated prematurely by each of the Parties

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  • Great, but since it does not explicitly negate the lawful conditions, the article could just as well be left out I guess (no additional value)? Or could it in any sense be useful, apart from giving the employee a false illusion that the contract can be prematurely terminated? – Louis Somers Oct 22 '15 at 8:10
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    It could be useful if it is a cut and paste clause they shove in all their agreements some of which do have a statutory notice period. It also protects them if the government creates one subsequent to your contract. Of course, you can't contract outside the law anyway ... – Dale M Oct 22 '15 at 9:02
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Is this a translation? "either" rather than "each" would make more sense. What is the wording of the law on notice?

In a fixed term contract, there is already notice due to the term. For instance, if you sign a six-month contract, then you have notice six months before the end of the contract that the contract will end in six months. It is logical to treat the law referring to only indefinite term contracts as being due to this fact, making notice superfluous.

If either party can terminate the contract at any point, then it's not a fixed term contract; the only function the six month figure fulfills is providing a default length. If the law could be circumvented by allowing either party to terminate the contract, but calling it a "fixed-term contract", the law would be pointless.

The reasonable interpretation of this contract is that if either party wishes to terminate it before six month, they may do so as long as they give notice required for indefinite term contracts.

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