GMW Lawyers: A guide to Dutch employment contracts

GMW Lawyers: A guide to Dutch employment contracts


Much of our time is spent at work and for you as an expat, work is often the reason you end up in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, the employment law landscape in this country can seem rather complex.

GMW Lawyers offers legal advice for expats in the Netherlands

Employment contracts

Whether you are starting as an entrepreneur and want to hire employees or you are an employee yourself, the employment relationship often starts with a written employment contract. This contract contains information about salary, working hours, holidays and other conditions of employment.

In this article, Amber Willemsen and Roos van Zaltbommel from GMW Lawyers point out several important elements of the employment contract.

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The salary is one of the elements that is included in an employment contract. The salary agreed upon and stipulated in the employment agreement is a gross amount. The amount that is paid out in your bank account, is the net version (your income after taxes). The net amount is often around 50% lower than the gross amount. For expats, there is a fiscal ruling that provides a tax benefit: the 30% ruling. Please ask your employer if this can be applied to you.

Most employment contracts also include a clause that regulates payment of salary during sick leave. Dutch law stipulates that an employer must pay at least 70% of the salary. Different arrangements can be agreed upon. In most Dutch employment contracts, it is stated that the first year of sick leave is paid 100% of the salary and the second year 70%.

If you have questions about your salary or other employment conditions, the experienced team from GMW Lawyers is here to help. 


The employment contract should also state how many vacation days an employee has. By law, an employee is entitled to at least twenty statutory vacation days per year for full-time employment. Any more vacation days the employee has are non-statutory days. In principle, the statutory vacation days expire six months after the year in which they were accrued. Statutory vacation days expire after five years.

An employer has a duty to inform the employee in a timely manner about the outstanding vacation days and warn that the (statutory) vacation days are about to expire. If the employer has not fulfilled this information obligation, the vacation days do not lapse.

Working from home

Working from home has become more common lately, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Would you like to work from home? Then again, it is important to check your employment contract first. If the contract does not stipulate the rules on working from home, then a request to work from home can be made in compliance with the Dutch Flexible Working Act.

The employer has to respond to the request denying or granting it within one month. A rejection has to be substantiated in writing and the request can only be rejected if the employer has an important reason for it. For example, if problems arise with making schedules. In the absence of a (timely and written) response, the request is deemed granted.

The request has to comply with the following conditions:

  • A request to work from home under the Flexible Working Act can only be submitted if the employee has been employed by the employer for 26 weeks
  • The employer employs more than 10 employees
  • The request to work from home is submitted at least two months before the intended commencement date of working from home.

Did your employer reject your request or do you have questions about working from home? GMW Lawyers are experts in employment law and can give you advice.

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There is a lot involved in entering into an employment contract in the Netherlands. If ambiguities arise when entering into an agreement, during employment or after, it is always advisable to contact an employment law attorney. With seven English speaking employment lawyers at GMW Lawyers, there is always one available and happy to assist you.

Their team handles various employment law issues, for both employers and employees. In addition to the issues mentioned above, they also advise on various cases of dismissal, non-competition clauses and the drafting of conditions of employment and employment contracts, for example.

Do you have any questions about employment law in the Netherlands? Or do you need advice regarding your personal work situation? Please contact GMW lawyers in the Hague!



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