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Dutch Jobs: Employee Contracts

By Maartje van Amelsfort, Via Career Coaching


After a job selection procedure the company has decided to make an offer to you - fantastic!

The job offer will usually be discussed with you either in person or by telephone. Since the offer contains a lot of information I advise you to ask for a copy of the offer on paper.

This way you can take it home with you and read it through carefully before making a decision or before getting back to your prospective employer with a counter offer.

There are several ways the employer can take you on. Below are highlighted the main employment contracts available in Netherlands: the fixed term employment contract, the permanent contract and working through an agency on a temporary basis.

Fixed term contract (in Dutch: contract voor bepaalde tijd)
An employer can decide to take you on for a temporary period of time, for instance in the case you are replacing someone on maternity leave or when you are working on a contract with a beginning and end date. The temporary contract usually includes a probation period of 1 month (in case the contract is for a period of 2 years or less). During this probation period the contract can be terminated by either party without having to give a clear reason.

Important: the employer can only give you a maximum of 3 temporary contracts and this period can not exceed 36 months. After this time, the employer is obliged to give you a permanent contract. If you have not been informed when your temporary contract runs out but the employer expects you to continue working, then your contract has automatically been extended under similar conditions as the previous one. This is called 'silent extension' (stilzwijgend verlengen).

dutch job contracts

Permanent contract (contract voor onbepaalde tijd)
A permanent contract is an employment contract for an indefinite period of time. This contract can include a probation period for a maximum of 2 months, unless you have already worked for this employer before.

Temporary agency worker (werken als uitzendkracht)
If you have found employment through a recruitment agency then your employer may decide to first take you on as a temporary worker, allowing more flexibility for all parties. In this type of contract there are 3 parties involved: the employee, the hiring company and the recruitment agency.

Recruitment agencies have their own collective labour agreement for temporary workers. Generally temp workers are placed in a phases A, B or C. Each phase includes a certain set of rights and flexibility - from a short-term temporary contract (A), longer-term temporary contract (B) to permanent contract (C). Your recruitment agency will be able to inform you about all the ins and outs of working on a temporary basis.

Employee Benefits in Netherlands

[Editor Note: employment law is subject to change, the above article should be used as a guideline only]