Three months is three months
If an incoming employee obtains another job during the term of the 30% ruling, the employee can also apply for the 30% ruling for the new employment. The condition is that the period between the previous employment and the realization of the new employment is not longer than three months.
An employee is recruited from India and from 2009 living and working in the Netherlands. Together with his former employer, he requests a decision 30% ruling, which is awarded to him for the period 1 July 2009 to 31 May 2019. On 1 December 2012, he ends his contract with his employer and only on April 23, 2013 he enters into a contract with a new employer where he starts working on May 2, 2013.
Again with the new employer he wants to apply the 30% ruling, but this is denied by the inspector: between the two employments is a period of more than three months. However, the employee argues that he was unavailable for work (or searching for work) between December 1, 2012 and February 22, 2013 because he was dedicated to the search for a home. The District Court does not agree with him: the 30% ruling does not leave room to demonstrate otherwise that one has scarce specific expertise. Also it is not possible to take into consideration a chosen period, in which one was not available for work. Apart from that the search for living space does not prevent that people can also search for work simultaneously. The employee appeals against this Court decision.
The Court of Appeal agrees with the District Court's opinion. The Court of Appeal emphasizes that the three-month period must not be interpreted as such that when less than three months is sought for employment, the 3 months period is not exceeded. The 30% ruling is not granted for the new employment (which means he won't get it again anymore while he is in the Netherlands).
Source: Court of Arnhem-Leeuwarden 17-03-2015
The idea behind the three-months period is that if it takes an employee more than three months to find a new job, his skills and experience don't seem to be scarce anymore and thus the 30% ruling is no longer applicable. Both Courts have ruled that this three-month period is a fixed period. It can't be extended. Nor can it be put on hold because the employee has decided not to search for work due to other reasons (finding a home, study, sabbatical). Not searching doesn't lead to the assumption that there is still scarcity unless proven otherwise. The advice therefor is, is to find a job within this three months even if the employee won't be available for work yet during these three months. The legislation focuses on the date an employemt contract is agreed and not on the actual start date of the employment.