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Independent legal support for Booking.com employees affected by the reorganization

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Welcome to the blended.law supportdesk for Booking.com employees

Are you a Booking.com employee and have you received or do you expect to receive a termination proposal? If so, please feel free to request legal advice from one of the employment law specialists affiliated with us. This way you will avoid unnecessary bickering and appear well prepared at the negotiating table. And, the first legal quick scan is free of charge!

No, we have not suddenly turned into a philanthropic institution. So why did we set up a helpdesk for Booking.com employees? Well, because we feel connected to the travel platform. You can see it this way: what Booking does for hotels and b&b’s, blended.law does for attorneys and lawyers. On our online platform, attorneys, notaries and lawyers offer a range of services at fixed prices.

After the fierce reports about the layoffs at Booking, we wondered what we could do. Of course, we can’t tell you when the tourism industry will recover, but if you are unexpectedly fired, we know exactly how the law works, how the procedures should proceed and what you are entitled to. That’s why we got on the phone last week. In our network we found a dozen employment law specialists willing to join us.

This is how it works. After you’ve registered on our site, we’ll ask you to briefly tell us your story. In the chat or with a videocall we make a quick scan of your personal situation in 15 minutes. Will your contract be renewed or not? When do you need to be notified? When can you expect a termination proposal? You will get insight in the points you need to be aware of when your contract is terminated. Request the free quick scan below. This quickscan does not oblige you to anything. Do you want to leave it at that? That’s fine.

If you do need more legal expertise and for example want to have your contract reviewed by an employment law specialist, please select the product ‘Advice on termination proposal for Booking.com employees‘ below. We’ll put you in direct contact with one of the employment law specialists of your choice.

That specialist will then advise you on your termination proposal for a fixed price. In your settlement agreement, the employer often makes a budget available to the employee for such a legal check. In that case, this advice may not cost you anything at all in the end.

Free quickscan? Legal advice!

Frequently Asked Questions about reorganizations

1. What is a reorganization?

A company in financial difficulties can take several steps. One of these is to reduce the largest cost item, the workforce, such as the staff reorganization announced by Booking.com. In that case, the reorganization takes place on the basis of economic reasons. The company literally rearranges the layout of the personnel functions. For example, merging departments and deleting certain tasks and positions.

Due to the corona crisis, many companies in Amsterdam and the Netherlands are unfortunately forced to reorganize, such as Booking.com, KLM and BNR.

2. What is a termination proposal?

A termination proposal is a proposal that an employer makes to the employee describing all the agreements about the dismissal, for example, a proposal that Booking.com or KLM sends to the employees to terminate their employment contracts. With a signed termination agreement, the employment contract is terminated.

After the employee receives the proposal from the employer, it is important that the employee reads the proposal carefully and has it checked by a legal specialist to see if it is correct. The termination agreement is proof of the agreements that the employee makes with the employer about the dismissal. It is therefore important that the content of the agreement is legally correct.

If the termination proposal is not correct or does not meet expectations, the employee (together with the legal specialist) can make a counterproposal. This way, a good termination agreement is concluded that both the employee and the employer want to sign.

Received a termination proposal?

3. What is a settlement agreement?

The terms ’termination agreement’ and ‘settlement agreement’ are used interchangeably. In principle, the settlement agreement is the official term of a termination agreement.

As an employee of Booking.com or KLM, there is a high probability that you will receive a termination/settlement agreement. Would you like to know more about this? Then keep on reading!

Get a free quickscan!

4. I have received a termination proposal. What to do now?

It is important that you know and understand as soon as possible what is in the proposal and what your employer is proposing to you regarding your dismissal. Is the proposal correct, does it contain inaccuracies or are important parts missing? This way you will quickly know what your possibilities are and what you can do. Then you can decide whether you want to agree with the proposal, refuse it or make a counterproposal.

Never just sign a settlement agreement. Always get advice or assistance from a legal specialist, who is aware of the pitfalls of such proposals and knows what your rights are. Specialists can negotiate on your behalf.

If you are an employee of Booking or KLM and you have received a termination proposal, click here and get advice on your proposal by a specialist of blended.law.

Get a free quickscan? Direct Legal advice!

5. Do I have to accept a settlement agreement?

No, you do not have to sign the termination agreement. It is best to seek good legal advice from an employment law specialist and, based on your personal circumstances, make the choice whether or not to sign. By signing a termination agreement you agree to the termination of your employment contract which can be favorable or unfavorable for you depending on your situation.

However, it is important to know that if you do not accept the termination agreement, the employer can still go to the UWV or to court to request permission to have the employment contract terminated anyway.

This can be a long (and tedious) process that costs a lot of time and money with the chance that your employment contract will still be dissolved because the employer has complied with all the legal rules in the proposal.

If you are an employee of Booking or KLM that received a termination proposal and you want to know if you are going to accept it or not, click here. Request your advice directly from one of the employment law specialists on blended.law.

Get a free quickscan? Direct Legal advice!

6. What if I do change my mind after signing the termination agreement?

Not happy about your resignation or the agreements made afterwards? Then you may change your mind and terminate the termination agreement without giving a reason. You must do this in writing within 2 weeks after the date on which the agreement was concluded.

7. When can you be fired due to a reorganization?

As an employee, you can be dismissed in the event of a reorganization. However, the employer must meet certain conditions. For example, the employer must demonstrate that there is a business economic reason, which usually means that the company is in a poor financial situation. Furthermore, the employer must be able to demonstrate that you are eligible for dismissal on the basis of the afspiegelingsbeginsel (reflection principle – see next question). And finally, your employer must be able to demonstrate that you cannot be (internally) reinstated.

Get a free quickscan?

8. What is the ‘afspiegelingsbeginsel’ and how does it work?

The afspiegelingsbeginsel, roughly translated as the reflection principle, means that an employer, in the event of dismissal during a reorganization based on economic reasons, must reduce the workforce in such a way that the age structure of the workforce before and after the dismissal remains mainly the same.

Employees who are dismissed must be divided across age categories as much as possible in proportion to the existing personnel structure. Within each age category, the last in, first out rule applies (the employee with the shortest employment contract must be dismissed first).

Get a free quickscan? Direct Legal advice!

9. What is final discharge?

A final discharge is often granted between the parties in a settlement agreement. Final discharge means that the employee and the employer can no longer claim anything from each other and are not obliged to anything more than what is stated in the settlement agreement.

10. Can I be fired at any time without any notice?

Many employees, such as those of Booking.com and KLM, will no longer have job security in the coming months. But can your employment contract be terminated out of the blue in the event of a reorganization?

No, this is not allowed. Whether you can be fired depends on your employment contract and the reasons for your dismissal. In short, as an employee you can either agree to your dismissal and receive a transition compensation, or you can agree to the dismissal by mutual consent and enter into a termination agreement with the employer. If you disagree with the dismissal, the employer can apply for a dismissal permit via the UWV or submit a request to terminate your employment contract via the subdistrict court. Please note that the employer must meet many conditions in order to obtain a dismissal permit from the UWV or to be able to terminate the employment contract through the subdistrict court. This is a hard race to win. That is why it is so important to have your termination proposal checked as soon as possible by an employment law specialist. This way you will know very quickly what your chances and possibilities are.

If you, for instance an employee of Booking.com or KLM, receive a termination proposal from your employer, the employer would like you to agree to the dismissal by mutual consent. It is therefore very important for you to know whether the proposal is a good one and whether the employer has complied with all legal requirements. For example, an employer who wants to dismiss more than 20 people must request permission from the UWV. The employer must also comply with the afspiegelingsbeginsel.

Click here if you want to have your termination proposal checked by one of the employment law specialists of blended.law.

Get a free quickscan? Direct Legal advice!

12. What is the position of expats within the organization?

Many companies in the Netherlands employ expatriates, for example Booking. For expats, the consequences of a dismissal during a reorganization are often even more drastic than for other employees, because their work permit and 30% rule depend on their employment contract with, for example, Booking.

If you, as an expat, have received the termination proposal, you basically have two options. You can try to sign a settlement agreement that is as favorable as possible. The other option is to refuse the proposal, as a result of which the employer will have to go to the UWV to apply for a dismissal permit or to the subdistrict court to request the termination of the employment contract. A judge in the Netherlands has ruled that expatriates also fall under the afspiegelingsbeginsel and therefore have a chance to be one of the first to be dismissed. However, an employer must handle this with extra care and take into account the extraordinary circumstances of expatriates.

Free quickscan? Direct legal advice!

13. I have received a termination proposal from Booking.com. What now?

As a Booking.com employee, you can contact our dedicated helpdesk for reorganization and termination proposals. Here you can find all the information you need, and you can directly request advice about your termination proposal from one of the employment law specialists.

14. Am I entitled to the Dutch Unemployment Benefits (WW) after signing a settlement agreement?

Yes, if you meet the conditions for a WW benefit and it is clearly stated in the settlement agreement that the initiative to terminate the employment comes from the employer.

You are entitled to WW benefit if you become unemployed after the dismissal and meet the following conditions:

  • You are insured against unemployment;
  • You lose 5 hours or more of work per week;
  • You are immediately available for paid work;
  • In the last 36 weeks before you became unemployed, you have worked at least 26 weeks;
  • You have not become unemployed because of your own fault.

Free quickscan? Direct legal advice!

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