Dutch employment law


If you are a successful entrepreneur in the Netherlands and you intend to employ staff, there are rules and regulations regarding the Dutch employment law you need to take into account. This article is meant to help you in the process of hiring staff in the Netherlands, considering Dutch rules and regulations regarding employment law.

Register as an employer

After you have registered your business with the Dutch business register, you are automatically registered as an employer with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You’ll need to fill out the necessary forms to meet your payroll tax obligations. Van Eert Accountants & Advisers can help you register and fill out these forms.

Hiring staff outside of the Netherlands

The Foreign Nationals Employment Act, in Dutch; Wet Arbeid Vreemdelingen or WAV,  requires employers to first recruit in the Netherlands and other Western European countries. Only if you prove that you cannot find suitable staff here, you are allowed to recruit from other countries.

Work permits

Dutch employment law requires that when you employ someone who is from outside the EEA or Switzerland, for less than 3 months, you must apply for a work permit from the Employee Insurance Agency in the Netherlands, in Dutch: UWV. If you employ someone for 3 months or longer you must apply for a combined permit for residence and work: the Single Permit. Employees who require a work permit must be between the ages of 18-45 and the maximum length of a work permit is three years. 

Organise suitable accommodation for foreign employees

You are obliged to find suitable accommodation for employees who need a work permit. You should follow the rules that are applicable in your specific municipality.

Verifying and registering the identity of your employees

According to Dutch employment law, you are obliged to verify the identity of all workers on the basis of an original identity document when they join your company. You must keep a copy of the identity documents in your records.

Employment contracts in the Netherlands

The legal rights and obligations for both employers and employees differ depending on the type of contract. There are three types of employments contracts:

  • Temporary labour contract
  • Permanent labour contract
  • Contract with an employment agency

Most companies and organisations in the Netherlands participate in a collective labour agreement, in Dutch: CAO. This is a written agreement between one or more employers about the labour conditions for all employees, such as wages, payment of extra work, working hours etc. You should check if your company falls under a collective labour agreement before you make up a contract.

Any contract should include:

  • Name and address of the employer and employee.
  • Job title and job description.
  • Start/end dates of the contract.
  • Trial period. If the contract is for less than two years, the trial period is generally one month (unless agreed otherwise with the CAO, but the maximum is two months), for a contract of six months or less, a trial period is not allowed.
  • Number of hours of work per week.
  • Salary and other expenses.
  • Notice for termination for both parties.

Payment and working conditions in the Netherlands

Dutch employment law requires that everyone working in the Netherlands is entitled to the statutory minimum wage and holiday allowance. This also applies to temporary workers, flex workers and foreign staff. You must ensure a healthy and safe workplace. The SZW Inspectorate or your sector organization can provide you with information about the rules.

Risk inventory and evaluation

Once you employ personnel, you are obliged by Dutch employment law to draw up a risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E). In this inventory you state the risks faced by staff and the measures you have in place to address these risks.

Deduct social insurance premiums

According to Dutch employment law, you must deduct social insurance premiums for employees who work permanently in the Netherlands. You can choose to become a self-insurer. Van Eert Accountants and Advisers can help you arrange this. Next to that, you should check if your employee took out a standard Dutch healthcare insurance. If they are not properly insured, the Dutch National Health Care Institute will take out health insurance for them. You will have to withhold the monthly premium for this insurance from their regular wages and pay this to the institute.

Van Eert Accountants & Advisers can help you

If you want more information regarding employing staff in the Netherlands, please do not hesitate to contact us. We can inform you thoroughly on different aspects of Dutch employment law and we will be happy to assist you in employing staff in the Netherlands and other business related matters, either legal or financial. 

  • drs. W.A.K.H.F. van der Pol RA  

    'Business is: think before you act, but sometimes it’s just taking the risk.'

    drs. W.A.K.H.F. van der Pol RA