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Netherlands – Employment Terms and Conditions

Working Hours in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the standard working hours per week are 40 hours. This is based on a full-time employment contract, which is usually for an indefinite period. Dutch law sets a maximum of 12 hours of work per day, including breaks. Therefore, if an employee works for 8 hours, they are entitled to a 30-minute break, which is usually paid.

Additionally, there is a legal minimum amount of rest that employees must receive between working days, which is 11 consecutive hours. This means that if an employee finishes work at 6 pm, they cannot start work the following day before 5 am.

It is also important to note that employers in the Netherlands are legally required to provide their employees with adequate breaks during their workday. For instance, if an employee works for 5.5 hours, they are entitled to a 15-minute break. Furthermore, Dutch law stipulates that employees are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of paid leave annually.

Employment Rights and Benefits in the Netherlands

Employment rights and benefits in the Netherlands are some of the most comprehensive in the world. Dutch law aims to ensure that employees are treated fairly and are given the necessary support they need in the workplace. Here are some of the key employment rights and benefits you are entitled to in the Netherlands:

Sick leave

If you become ill, you are entitled to a sick leave payment. This payment is usually 70% of your salary and is provided by your employer for a maximum of 2 years.

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Maternity leave

Expectant mothers in the Netherlands are entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave. This leave can begin 4 to 6 weeks before the expected delivery date, but not later than 4 weeks before the due date.

Paternity leave

Fathers in the Netherlands are entitled to 5 days of paid paternity leave within 4 weeks of the child’s birth.

Parental leave

Parents in the Netherlands are entitled to parental leave until their child reaches the age of 8. During this time, they can take unpaid leave for a maximum of 26 times their weekly working hours.

Disability benefits

If you become permanently or partially disabled, you may be entitled to a disability benefit from the Dutch government. This benefit is designed to help cover your living expenses and is calculated based on your disability level and your previous earnings.


Pensions are an important aspect of employment in the Netherlands. As an employee, you are automatically enrolled in a pension scheme through your employer. The pension scheme is usually a defined contribution plan, where both the employer and employee contribute to the pension fund.

There are two types of pensions in the Netherlands: the state pension and occupational pension. The state pension is a basic pension provided by the government to Dutch citizens who have reached retirement age. The occupational pension, on the other hand, is a supplementary pension provided by your employer.

Types of Pensions for Expats in the Netherlands

Expats who work in the Netherlands are entitled to the same pension benefits as Dutch citizens. However, there are a few things that expats need to be aware of regarding pensions in the Netherlands:

Pension accrual

Expats who work in the Netherlands for less than 10 years are not entitled to a full pension. Instead, they are entitled to a pro-rated pension, which is calculated based on the number of years they have worked in the Netherlands.

Pension transfer

If an expat leaves the Netherlands before reaching retirement age, they can transfer their pension to another country. However, this can be a complicated process and may require the help of a financial advisor.

Pension tax

Expats who receive a Dutch pension may be subject to Dutch pension tax. This tax is calculated based on the amount of the pension and the individual’s tax bracket. It is important to note that the tax may also be subject to the tax laws of the country where the expat resides.

Pension plans for self-employed expats

Self-employed expats in the Netherlands are not automatically enrolled in a pension scheme. However, they can choose to join a private pension scheme or a collective pension scheme. Private pension schemes are usually individual plans, while collective pension schemes are group plans that are often set up by industry associations or trade unions.

Retirement Age in the Netherlands

The retirement age in the Netherlands is gradually increasing to 67 years. This means that Dutch citizens and expats who have lived and worked in the Netherlands are eligible for state pension benefits from the age of 67. However, it is possible to retire earlier, but this will affect the amount of state pension that the individual will receive.

Additionally, occupational pensions usually have their own retirement age, which can differ from the state pension age. It is important to note that the retirement age may change in the future, depending on the economic and demographic circumstances in the Netherlands.

In conclusion, the Netherlands has a comprehensive set of employment terms and conditions that are designed to protect the rights of employees and provide them with the necessary support they need in the workplace. From sick leave to parental leave and pensions, Dutch law ensures that employees are treated fairly and provided with adequate benefits. Expats who work in the Netherlands are entitled to the same benefits as Dutch citizens, but there are a few things that they need to be aware of regarding pensions. Understanding the employment terms and conditions in the Netherlands is crucial for anyone working in the country, and it is recommended that individuals seek professional advice to ensure that they are receiving the benefits they are entitled to.

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