Working in the Netherlands

What to expect when working in the Netherlands...

To be eligible for employment in the Netherlands, applicants must have the following:

  • Valid identification document
  • Health insurance

Note: EU nationals are not required to hold a Dutch residence permit to qualify for employment in the Netherlands although there is still an outdated perception among some employers that a permit is needed. The Immigration Department provides a letter explaining that an EU citizen only needs valid ID to be a legal employee in the Netherlands (PDF in Dutch).

However, like all residents intending to stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, EU nationals must register their address and other details with the local government.

  • For more information on registering with your local authorities, see the Registration page.

Employee entitlements

Key aspects of employment are regulated by Dutch law while secondary benefits are not (unless they are part of a collective agreement, such as with a trade union).

  • Compensation: as an employee in the Netherlands, you are entitled to receive at least the minimum statutory wage. Depending on the employer, wages are paid either weekly, monthly or once every four weeks. Most larger companies pay employees monthly.
  • Holiday Pay: is mandatory in the Netherlands and is equal to 4 times the average number of days worked in a week. This benefit is accrued during the year. An employee who works 5 days per week would be entitled to 20 days of holiday pay at the end of a year.
  • Working Conditions: There are strict rules governing the number of hours an employee can be made to work. In general, a work period should not be longer than 10 hours and a work week should not be longer than 45 hours. A minimum of eleven hours of rest must be given in between work shifts and at least one 36-consecutive hour rest period once per week. For more about working conditions in the Netherlands, visit the website for the Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment
  • Work Safety: Employees are entitled to a safe and healthy work environment. In job environments where there is high potential for injury, the employer must provide protective wear free of charge. In those situations, the employee is obligated to wear these.
  • Equal Treatment: Dutch law prohibits unequal treatment of staff in terms of hiring, employment benefits or dismissal related to the candidate/employee’s religion, personal conviction, political leanings, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, working hours (full-time or part-time), handicap or chronic illness, type of contract (permanent or temporary) or age.
  • Equal Compensation: Dutch law mandates that equal pay must be given for equal work. However, amount of experience and longevity in a position may result in a different rate of pay for employees in the same or similar roles. For more information about employee rights and obligations in the Netherlands, see the booklet published on the website.
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