For various reasons, changes to your organisation may be required. After an acquisition, reorganisation may be warranted in specific circumstances. But unfortunately, the reasons may also follow from disappointing business results, cost increases or shortage of work.

A reorganisation can lead to a reduction in the number of jobs and therefore labour costs. You can apply for a dismissal permit at the UWV on the grounds of business economic circumstances. It is also possible to agree with the employee on termination of the employment contract through a settlement agreement.
Before the reorganisation can be carried out, it is important to go through the process in the right way. The labour law specialists at Marxman Advocaten are available to guide you through this process. So that you can take the necessary steps in the right order, and as efficiently as possible.

Timeframe and timely GAP analysis

A reorganisation takes time and it requires thorough preparation. A good way to start is to work out the process and associated timeline. This will give you insight and direction. On the basis of your output-driven KPIs, you can establish realistic scenarios for your company which will give you insight into the strategic choices to be made in your workforce planning. What are your turnover and costs now and what do you expect them to be in three, six and twelve months’ time? Look beyond the economic downturn, if possible. Is there a possibility that you can offer staff a suitable contract so that when recovery sets in, you do not have to look for staff in a tight labour market?

Also, start timely with documenting the necessary paperwork, such as financial reports, the order in which the affected employees are to be laid off, and staff lists. In addition, stakeholders should also be consulted in good time, such as the works council, staff meeting and/or trade unions.

Keep in mind that an application for dismissal at the UWV takes time, and do not forget to take the notice periods into account. Several months can easily pass between the decision to cut wage costs and the actual dismissal. Together with the transition payment due, these are costs that must be factored in. A jigsaw puzzle that the Labour & Organisation Department will be happy to help you solve.

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UWV application for dismissal

After the strategic preparations and consultation with involved parties, you can submit an application for dismissal to the UWV. Depending on the reason for dismissal, the right documents need to be provided. For instance, a worsened financial situation requires different supporting documentation than a technological change. You will find a lot of information on the UWV website, but if you wish, we will be happy to help you collect the right documents and/or make the application.

If the dismissal is for economic reasons, it must be substantiated why there is a need for job cuts. In the case of a worsened financial situation, such justification can be based on, among other things, providing insight into:

  • Balance sheet and profit and loss account, with notes, covering the past three years;
  • Results and liquidity development for the next 26 weeks based on unchanged and changed policies;
  • Total amount of savings;
  • Other cost-saving measures taken;
  • Cost savings on labour costs.

If a decrease in work is (also) involved – which often goes hand in hand with financial matters – the cause of the decrease in work should also be explained. An overview of the trends in the volume of work over at least the last 18 months and the workforce composition over this period must also be provided.

Order of dismissals

If you can prove that there is a need for the termination of positions, you are not at liberty to choose which employees are to be laid off. You must first part company with employees on flexible contracts and on fixed-term contracts ending within 26 weeks. After that, the employees on permanent contracts follow, with the order of dismissal being determined on the basis of the age distribution principle.
The premise of the age distribution principle is that the age structure within the organisation remains the same, to the extent possible. Downsizing must take place within age categories, within a category of interchangeable jobs and within a company location. Depending on the number of employees per role, grouped by age category, the person with the shortest period of employment in the defined age group will be the first to be considered for dismissal.
The age distribution principle does not have to be applied in the case of unique positions or when the entire job category will become redundant. In addition, the concept of interchangeable roles is debatable, so there is some elbowroom for the entrepreneur here.

NOW and reorganisation

If 20 or more employees are laid off in a UWV work area, notification must be made to the unions under the Collective Redundancy Notification Act (Wet Melding Collectief Ontslag). Also, under NOW 2.0, the total NOW subsidy amount will be reduced by 5% unless agreement has been reached with the unions on the redundancy request or mediation has been requested from a committee to be set up by the Labour Foundation.


When applying for NOW 2.0, it is mandatory to encourage employees to undergo further training or retraining. If your staff has less work now, now is the time to do so. The government makes 50 million euros available for the retraining of employees through the crisis support scheme NL leert door (‘NL keeps learning’). From July, these employees can follow free online training and professional development advice to adapt to the new economic situation. Making use of this support scheme in good time and engaging in a dialogue with employees about their future in the organisation may be another way to ensure the necessary departure of employees. An employer who has submitted an application for dismissal due to economic reasons to the UWV must justify in its application why the NOW scheme cannot provide a solution.