Looking for a job in the Netherlands? In this article we will briefly elaborate on the main benefits that are arranged in the Dutch labour law agreements so you know what to look out for when considering a job offer and signing an employment contract.
Employee benefits under Dutch Labour Law
In the Netherlands the relationship between employees and employers is arranged under labour law. In addition, most work sectors also have a Collective Labour Agreement (CAO, Collectieve Arbeidsovereenkomst) which is applicable to employment contracts. The CAO contains the labour agreements between employers and various trade unions who represent the employees.
Work contracts – this can be a permanent contract which is ongoing and does not have an end date. A temporary contract is more common for starters and often runs for 12 months and may be rolled over. After 3 years of temporary contracts the employer must offer a permanent role. If working through an agency you may be contracted directly with the agency rather than the employer.
Check the length of the probation period (typically the first 1-2 months) where both parties can terminate the agreement. Note, temporary contracts under 6 months do not require such a trail period.
Finally check the notice period where both sides can end the contract – this is normally 1 month.
The work contract will state your working hours. Full-time positions in the Netherlands run 32 to 40 hours per week in general.
Holiday and public holidays – every employee is entitled to around a minimum of 4 weeks of paid holiday days a year. Every year there are 7 public holidays which are New Year, Easter, Kingsday (April 27th), Ascension Day, Pentecostal Day, Christmas and Boxing Day. Some companies also close on Good Friday and Liberation Day (May 5th). Note that many holidays cluster around the springtime and there are no public holidays during the summer.
Salary – your gross salary will have been negotiated and is stated in the work contract. For more see Salaries in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Holiday pay – all employees receive a yearly holiday pay of 8% of gross annual salary. This is usually paid out in May or June. If you leave the company earlier then the accumulated holiday pay should be paid out to you in the month your contract is terminated.
Health insurance – everyone living in the Netherlands is obliged to participate in the health insurance scheme (zorgverzekering). When you are employed your employer will pay for part of the insurance. The other part, the so called nominal fee, is to be paid by the employee. As a rough estimation you can expect to pay around €110-130 a month, depending on the additional insurance packages you choose. Many employers have an agreement in place with an insurance company to provide a good value policy for staff members.
Maternity leave – all pregnant women are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. The law states that you should inform your employer about your pregnancy at the latest 3 months before the due date.
Pension scheme – most employers have included a collective pension scheme in their CAO. The employee contributes a monthly amount deducted from their salary and the employer may also make a contribution. If your contract finishes with the employer, there generally are ways to transfer the built-up funds to another pension fund.
Calamity leave – if you are unable to work due to unforeseen circumstances, you can make use of calamity leave. The length of this leave can vary but should be in fair relationship to the matter. In principle the employer should continue paying you, unless other (CAO) agreements have been made.
Additional leave – you are also entitled to leave days for: moving house, weddings, funerals, GP visits and more. Always check with your employer or review the CAO applicable to you.
Part-time work – if you have been employed for at least 1 year with a company consisting of more than 10 employees, you are entitled to hand in a request to work on a part-time basis. By law your employer is expected to obey your request, unless there are serious business related reasons why your request cannot be granted.
Travel costs – it is common for Dutch employers to offer transport costs for getting to work. This is normally paid as €0,19 per kilometer, but only if you have to travel more than 10km.
A note on Unemployment
If unfortunately you become unemployed and this was not your own fault, then you may be eligible for unemployment benefits WW (werkeloosheidsuitkering). The amount of the benefits is roughly 70% of your previous salary. All WW benefits are processed by the governmental institution called UWV.
The criteria for being entitled to unemployment benefits are as follows:
– Before becoming unemployed, you have worked in 26 of the 36 preceding weeks – in which case you are then entitled to the basic benefits package lasting 3 months.
– Whether your benefits will be extended after these 3 months depends on how many years you have worked.
You may get a redundancy payment as part of the severance package. This will again depend on how long you have been employed. Note, redundancy payments are considered income and you will have to pay tax on the sum.
If you have a permanent contract be aware of signing a non-competition clause which for a period of time can prohibit an employee from working for a competitor.
This article was originally published in 2010. Last updated 15 March 2022. Note: employment law is subject to change, the above article should be used as a guideline only.