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The Netherlands is located in western Europe, on the North Sea, with Germany to its east and Belgium to its west. Amsterdam, the capital, has been a major commercial center for centuries. The city of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe. The Netherlands joined the EU in 1958 as a founding member and has used the euro as its currency since the Euro's introduction in 2002. Its economy is well integrated with the rest of the world and the country is one of the largest exporters in the world. Its leading exports include food and agricultural products, natural gas, chemicals, and steel and metallurgical products. The Netherlands is also known as an excellent place to do business, with high-quality infrastructure, clean and transparent government, and a well-educated workforce.

Employment contracts in the Netherlands may be oral or written. They may either be indefinite or for a fixed term, which may not be longer than three years. The major provisions of an employment contract are:

  • the term of the contract if it is for a fixed term,

  • the workplace,

  • salary details,

  • working hours and overtime,

  • termination notice period,

  • the employee’s duties, and

  • whether a collective labor agreement applies.

A standard workweek in the Netherlands is 36 to 40 hours over five days. An employee may not work more than nine hours in one day. A shift may not be longer than 12 hours and an employee’s total hours may not exceed 60 per week. Employees cannot work the maximum number of hours for an extended time: an employee cannot work more than an average of 55 hours per week over a four-week period, or 48 hours per week for 16 weeks.

Employees are entitled to two years of paid sick leave in the Netherlands. The employer pays at least 70% of the employee’s salary during sick leave.

Female employees receive 16 weeks of maternity leave in the Netherlands. They may begin the leave between four and six weeks before the expected delivery date and, if they begin the leave less than six weeks before the birth, up to two weeks of the unused time may be added to the leave taken after the birth. The partner of a pregnant employee receives one week of paternity/partner leave which must be taken within the first four weeks of the birth. Partners also are eligible for five weeks of additional leave to be taken during the six months after the birth. During these five weeks, the partner is entitled to a government payment of up to 70% of their daily wage or 70% of a maximum allowed daily wage, whichever is lower.

Employees in the Netherlands are entitled to a monthly minimum wage. Bonuses are common and employees receive a vacation allowance that must be a minimum of 8% of the employee’s annual gross wages.

The minimum amount of annual paid leave in the Netherlands is four times the number of working days each week, which is 20 days per year for most workers. Many workers are covered by collective bargaining agreements that provide for more vacation days.

In the Netherlands, the public holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day

  • Good Friday

  • Easter Sunday

  • Easter Monday

  • King’s Day

  • Liberation Day

  • Ascension Day

  • Whit Sunday

  • Whit Monday

  • Christmas Day

  • Boxing Day

The Netherlands provides universal healthcare through a combination of public and private systems. Much of the healthcare system is funded through taxes, but all citizens and legal residents must purchase health insurance from private insurers.

When an employer terminates an employment contract in the Netherlands that is not for a fixed term, the employer must provide written notice in advance. The notice period depends on the length of time the employee has worked for the employer and ranges from one month to four months. Employees who are terminated must receive severance pay. The severance payment (officially known as a “transition payment”) is one-third of one month’s wages for each year of employment, with the amount for the last year pro-rated, up to a maximum amount set each year.

  • Local Laws & Regulations

    We understand that local laws and regulations change and sourcing an accurate reference guide is not easy. Our data is researched and verified by our team of local international Employment Attorneys, HR and Benefit Professionals and Tax Accountants through our Atlas team and consultants, to ensure information up-to-date and accurate.

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