Can an employment contract be terminated during the trial period?

During the first two weeks of the trial period, the employment contract cannot be terminated, except in the case of serious misconduct by the employee or the employer. The penalty for non-compliance with this legal prohibition is compensation in lieu of notice awarded by the court.

After two weeks the contract can be terminated by registered letter or by signing the duplicate termination letter.

Is a notice period required when a trial contract is terminated?

Yes, both the employee and the employer have to give notice if they want to terminate the trial contract. The only exception is in the case of gross misconduct, which means that the contract can be terminated immediately.

The period of notice, which is the same for both the employee and the employer, depends on the length of the trial period. The rule is as follows:

  • if the trial period is stated in weeks (e.g. three or four weeks), the notice period corresponds to as many days as there are trial weeks (in this case three or four days);
  • if the trial period is stated in months, there are four days’ notice to be observed per month of trial, but with a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of one month’s notice.

So, for example, with a six-month trial period the notice period is 24 days.

Duration of the trial period

Notice period requirements

2 weeks Termination not possible, except for serious misconduct
3 weeks 3 days
4 weeks 4 days
1 month 15 days
2 months 15 days
3 months 15 days
4 months 16 days
5 months 20 days
6 months 24 days
7 months 28 days
8 months 1 month
9 months 1 month
10 months 1 month
11 months 1 month
12 months 1 month

When does the notice period start and end?

The notice period starts the day when the registered letter is sent or delivered by hand. This notice period is calculated in calendar days and not in working days.


The notice period must end at the latest on the last day of the trial period. It may not under any circumstances extend beyond the end of the trial period, otherwise the contract may be reclassified as a permanent contract.

Does the employer have to justify the termination of a contract during the trial period?

No, during the trial period the employer has a discretionary right to terminate the contract without having to provide justification by giving the employee the reasons for the decision.

Justification is only required where an employer alleges gross misconduct against an employee and terminates the trial contract with immediate effect.