Youth Employment

Find out about the opportunities and regulations for part-time work for teenagers in the Netherlands...

Unemployment in general is a problem for the Dutch. Since 2002 those seeking work and applying for benefits must register with the Center for Work and Income (Centrum voor Werk en Inkomen - CWI)

The government guarantees a place on a reintegration programme within six months of registering to young people who are newly unemployed or simply unable to find work. For young people this will typically mean some voluntary work, training courses or work experience.

Minimum wage

Holland has a minimum wage and a minimum youth wage for those under 23. The amount paid is adjusted by a fixed percentage depending on age. It is reviewed twice a year according to the average wage trends. For part-time work the rates are adjusted proportionately. Extra remuneration can be given for shift work/irregular hours or for tips.

All employees have the right to receive a payslip so that they can see how their wages have been calculated. Employers can be fined if they do not comply with legislation.

Working hours

The Working Hours Act (WHA) provides a legal framework aimed at promoting the health, safety and well-being of employees. It applies to everyone who works 'Under authority' therefore excluding managers and senior staff. It sets a minimum length for rest periods and breaks. No one should work for more than 10 hours at a time and no more than an average of 45 hours a week.

These rules can vary according to the type of work being performed. Typically an average of 39 hours is worked per week. They apply whether or not there is a contract of employment in place.

Anyone with reason to believe they are being underpaid or asked to work excessive hours should consult the CWI.

Casual work

Youth unemployment in Holland is high so competition for seasonal and casual work is fierce.

What is available is largely agricultural or within the hotel/catering sector. Typical examples of casual work are asparagus picking in Limburg May through June and bulb picking in Noord Holland in July and August.

There are always people looking for reliable baby-sitters and this can be a good source of income for young people. Most neighbourhood magazines and some of the local websites post small ads where students can advertise their babysitting services. Schools will usually supply a letter of recommendation.