Just four months after Booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel acknowledged that job cuts were “probable,” the online travel agency announced in August that it would be slashing 25% of its global workforce. Booking.com employs a total of 17,500 employees in offices around the world, which means reducing its workforce by one quarter would affect between 4,000 and 5,000 employees. The impact of the proposed job cuts on the 5,500 Booking.com employees who work at the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam remains unclear. If you have lost your job as a result of COVID-19, or if your employer has warned you that you may be at risk for redundancy due to a company reorganization or restructuring, do not hesitate to speak to an attorney about your legal options. You may be entitled to receive a transition payment from your employer upon dismissal, which a knowledgeable attorney can help you claim.
Booking.com Announces Mass Layoffs
A significantly reduced demand for travel in the midst of the coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on hotel and accommodations companies like Booking.com. Earlier this year, the online travel agency was heavily criticized for asking the Dutch government for support to maintain jobs in the Netherlands and prevent redundancies during COVID-19, despite having made a profit of $4.9 billion in 2019. In May, Booking.com said that it would not apply for a second round of aid from the government, indicating that, while the relief would “support the short-term financial health” of the company, it was looking for “long-term solutions” to the problems stemming from the global pandemic. Unfortunately, the only long-term solution the company could come up with was to lay off thousands of its employees. Booking.com announced last month that it would be letting go 25% of its staff in offices around the world.
In announcing the proposed company reorganization and subsequent layoffs, Booking.com said that it was working to “develop more clarity on the timing, the number of affected employees, financial impact and other aspects of the contemplated cost reduction actions,” but admitted that it would likely “finalise its plans and make relevant announcements to employees, on a country-by-country basis” beginning this month. The company said in a statement, “While we have done much to save as many jobs as possible, we believe we must restructure our organisation to match our expectation of the future of travel. So unfortunately, as a result of the crisis, we, like so many other travel companies, need to take the extremely difficult step to reduce our global workforce.”
Proposed Redundancies Threaten Thousands of Dutch Workers
It is true that other companies in the Netherlands that rely heavily on travelers for business have proposed similar plans to reduce their workforces by a significant percentage, citing financial problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the global travel industry. For instance, KLM, the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands, announced in July that the airline would be cutting up to 6,000 jobs over the next several years in response to COVID-19. In May, Uber announced an initial round of coronavirus-related layoffs affecting 3,700 employees (14% of its workforce at the time), and less than two weeks later, the company revealed that it would be cutting another 3,000 jobs, leaving Uber with a total of about 20,000 employees. The Dutch national train company Nederlandse Spoorwegen has also announced impending financial cuts that will put more than 2,000 jobs at risk in the coming five years.
What are Collective Redundancies?
The devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis on businesses in the Netherlands and the sweeping job cuts implemented as a means of survival means thousands of Dutch employees could be at risk for dismissal. Any time a Dutch employer lays off 20 or more employees during a period of three months or less, it is known as a collective redundancy, or a collective dismissal. Collective redundancies are generally reserved for situations in which a company is undergoing a significant reorganization for economic reasons, which is the case now during COVID-19. There are strict laws governing collective redundancies in the Netherlands, and it is important to know your rights if you lose your job as part of a collective redundancy. One of the most important rights to be aware of is the right to transition pay.
If your employer terminates your employment contract or if your temporary contract expires and the contract is not renewed at your employer’s initiative, you may be entitled to transition pay to help you get through the transition period until you can find a new job. In the Netherlands, the amount of transition pay you can claim is equal to one-third of your gross monthly salary for each year you worked for the employer before you were dismissed, regardless of your total duration of service. Prior to 2020, Dutch employees were only eligible for transition compensation after having worked at the same company for a minimum of two years. However, as of this year, employees qualify for transition pay from their first day of work.
Claiming Your Transition Pay After Redundancy
Employees in the Netherlands enjoy significant protections under the law and Dutch employers are generally prohibited from dismissing employees without good cause. Unfortunately, as companies throughout the Netherlands continue to struggle with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures put in place to slow the spread of the virus, collective redundancies are becoming more and more common, and thousands of Dutch employees could find themselves out of work in the coming months and years as a result of mass layoffs. If you lost your job in the Netherlands or if you were laid off as part of a collective redundancy, it is in your best interest to consult a knowledgeable employment law attorney to discuss whether you are entitled to transition pay. Our attorneys know how devastating it can be to be laid off through no fault of your own and we can help you claim the transition compensation you deserve from your employer. https://www.transitionpay.com – https://www.transitionpay.nl – https://www.transitionpay.pl