Dutch working environment
Working hours in the Netherlands
According to Dutch law, you should not work more than eight hours per day or 40 hours per week.
Depending on the industry, a maximum of nine hours per day and 45 hours per week could be the case, but no one is allowed to work more than 2.080 hours a year. Consequently, the average working week in the Netherlands is approximately 40 hours.
There is also the option of a "four-day week" meaning you work 10 hours per day. However, a specific agreement with the employer should be made in advance. Organisational culture and employment policies are also important factors to consider.
Finally, no matter what, all employees should be given a 30-minute break after they complete 4,5 hours of work.
Labour contracts in the Netherlands
In general, there are three labour options that differ on the employment period and dismissal procedures. As always, specific arrangements with the employer can be made.
› Temporary labour contracts
This type of contract has pre-specified start and end dates. In other words, there is no dismissal procedure at the end of the contract.
As of July 1, 2015, employees who have worked for the same employer for two years on temporary contracts are entitled to a permanent contract if the work agreement continues. The previous period was three years.
› Permanent labour contracts
In this case, there is no end date. The contract can be terminated by either the employer or the employee only under pre-determined conditions.
› Contracts with a recruitment agency
The recruitment agency is your legal employer even though you work for a specific organisation. Note that there is no arrangement for your protection against dismissal.
Gross salary & net income in the Netherlands
With a 2.500 euros contract per month you will take home around 1.770 euros. Salaries are sky-high but so are taxes. When you sign a job contract, you negotiate a gross salary (i.e. before tax subtraction) but what you are really interested in is the net income (i.e. what goes directly to your bank account). You can download the income calculator here.
Salaries, holidays and bonuses are offered as a package in the Netherlands. Yet, what you should ask for and expect depends on your academic background and work experience. As an example:
› For an entry-level position with a Master's degree, the monthly salary varies between 2.300-2.500 euros gross.
› Every May there is a bonus equivalent to 8% of annual earnings.
› The number of vacation days is usually 24 per year. However, it is common for companies to offer more days off as an additional incentive.
› Some employers offer the possibility to "buy" extra days off.
› The nation's minimum wage can be changed every six months to adjust to inflation.
Minimum wage in the Netherlands
As of July 1, 2015, the minimum wage (gross) for a full-time employee aged 23 or older is 1.507,80 euros per month, or 69,59 euros per day. This is equal to 8,70 euros per hour based on a 40 hour working week.