What’s in it for the on-call employee?

What’s in it for the on-call employee?

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Projob is a recruitment and career coaching agency with a focus on expats. Projob works with local and international companies, professionals and freelancers.

There are many types of temporary contracts available in the Netherlands, including the on-call employee contract. 

What is an on-call employee?

An on-call employee is someone who only comes to work when called upon to do so.

If you work as an on-call employee in the Netherlands, the rules that apply to you are based on the type of employment contract you have. Not every on-call employee has the same contract with the same rules. 

For instance, rules might differ per contract regarding payment when no work is available, guaranteed minimum hours or minimum wages for hours worked.

You can also work as an on-call employee through an agency. Some companies have a flex pool in which flexible workers, or "temps", work in a similar on-call way. Usually, you are selected to work in a flex pool for a specific company.

On-call employee contracts in the Netherlands

The following on-call employee contracts exist in the Netherlands:

Zero-hour contract (nulurencontract)

When you have a zero-hour contract:

 You are required to work when called upon.

You only get paid for the actual hours you have worked.

 They can send you home when it turns out there's no work for you after all. However, they must pay you at least a minimum of three hours’ wages.

Minimum- and maximum-hour contract (min-maxcontract)

The rules for a minimum- and maximum-hour contract are as follows:

You are required to work at least a minimum number of hours, weekly, monthly or annually; the so-called guaranteed hours.

During peak periods, you and your employer may agree upon extra hours, but they will not be counted as guaranteed hours.

If you don’t have fixed hours and your contract has a 15-hour (or fewer) guarantee per week, then each time that you’ve been called upon, you are guaranteed to be paid a wage for a minimum of three hours.

 The employer always pays you the guaranteed hours, even if there’s no work for you. However, for the first six months of your contract, your employer does not have to do this. It is best to check if your employer works under a CLA (Collective Labour Agreement), in which case they have to follow the rules of the applicable CLA.

Fixed-hour contract

A contract with fixed hours is not common for on-call employees, especially if you're just starting out. However, once you’ve started work and you’ve worked for at least three consecutive months, a regular work pattern will emerge.

If it's clear that you work much more than was agreed upon initially (e.g. in a contract with guaranteed hours), the average number of hours in that period can be considered to be the guaranteed or fixed hours per month.

Sometimes the pattern is considered to be an exception, due to peak periods. If your employer can prove that, you are not entitled to get more guaranteed or fixed hours.

Sick pay

Are you, as an on-call employee entitled to receive payment during sickness? Yes, you are! Of course, the length and amount of sick pay may differ per contract.

Els Brouwer is Chief Content & Innovation Officer at Projob. She has been working with expats and international companies for over 10 years.

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Els Brouwer


Els Brouwer

Els has been working for more than twenty years in the recruitment sector and now at Projob, an agency that offers not only recruitment but also careercoaching. She is responsible...

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