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Falling student numbers cost teacher permanent contract

If an employer foresees problems with the formation, a secondary school may employ teachers for more than two years without a permanent contract. The participation council must agree to this.

Henk has been working as an English teacher at a secondary school since 1 August 2019. In both the 2019/2020 school year and the 2020/2021 school year, Henk has to deal with two temporary employment contracts in connection with the replacement of a sick colleague.


He has now learned that his manager is very satisfied and that his employment contract will be extended. Again a temporary employment contract is offered. This time, however, it is not a replacement for a temporarily absent colleague. It concerns filling a temporary vacancy in the English department. After reading the collective labor agreement, Henk has his doubts about the employer's proposal and submits it to a legal employee of the employer for verification. AOb. Henk wants to know whether he is not now entitled to an employment contract for an indefinite period.

After reading the collective labor agreement, Henk has doubts and submits it to a legal employee of the AOb


It has been agreed in the collective labor agreement that the total duration of successive fixed-term employment contracts, such as for the replacement of a temporarily absent employee or to fill a temporary vacancy, is two years at the most. If the employment contract is continued afterwards, this is in principle only possible for an indefinite period of time.

The collective labor agreement states that the total duration of successive fixed-term employment contracts is a maximum of two years

However, an important exception has been made to this main rule in the collective labor agreement. If the employer foresees formative problems on the basis of the multi-year formation policy, the total duration of successive employment contracts can be extended to a maximum of three years with the consent of the participation council (MR or PM).

On the advice of the legal assistant, Henk contacted the participation council. The chairman of the participation council confirmed that the school is dealing with declining student numbers and foresees formative problems as a result. The participation council has therefore approved the employer's request for approval, which makes it possible to offer employees temporary employment contracts in certain situations for three years instead of two years.


Now that the participation council has agreed to the exception to the main rule, the employer is free in this case to offer Henk a new temporary employment contract for a maximum of twelve months after two school years. Please note that if no additional agreements had been made with the employee participation council at this employer, Henk would probably have been entitled to an employment contract for an indefinite period of time if his employment contract had been extended.

The above will only apply to special secondary education until 1 August. After that, the agreements in public and special secondary education are the same.

Do you sometimes doubt what is in the collective agreement? Or do you have questions about it? AObMembers can always contact the association. Become a member! 

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