Education & Careers

Working in The Netherlands

Employment contract

You can work for a Dutch employer with whom you have entered into an (temporary) employment contract. The employment contract includes conditions of the work you will be doing, your salary, the number of working hours, holiday allowance, and the number of leave days you are entitled to. Also other conditions can be agreed upon such as: expense allowances for moving and commuting, pension provisions, etc.


If you work for a Dutch employer in the Netherlands, you will in most cases be subject to Dutch taxation and Dutch social security regulations for employees such as unemployment, illness, and disability (provided you meet the requirements for these social insurances). It is not necessary to have a signed employment contract to be employed.


Nevertheless, we advise you to insist on an employment contract in writing (preferably in a language you can understand). Your employer needs to check your identity document (passport, personal identity card, or residence permit) and keep a copy in his/her administration. A driving license is not a valid identity document for this purpose because it does not indicate your nationality and provides no information about your residence status.


The employer must also check if your residence status allows you to work and if a work permit is required. You can also be working through a Dutch temporary employment agency and work for one or several companies. In that case, you will have an employment contract with the agent who is seconding you to the client where you will actually work.


Employment conditions

In the Netherlands, many companies and branches have a so-called Collectieve Arbeidsovereenkomst, CAO (Collective Labour Agreement). This is a written agreement covering working conditions and benefits. A CAO contains supplementary rules for all employees on wages, working hours, supplementary pension, payment during illness, etc. A CAO is concluded by one or more employers, one or more employers' organisations, and one or more employees' organisations (mainly trade unions). A CAO operates at company or industry sector level and the provisions (number of holidays, for example) are often more generous than statutory requirements. It should state in your contract whether a CAO is applicable; you don't have to be a member of a union to benefit.

Seconded employees

Maybe you are working in the Netherlands because your employer in your home country has seconded you to the Netherlands. If so, the terms and conditions must comply with the legal rules in your home country but because you work in the Netherlands, also some Dutch rules will apply to your employment. For example, if you work in the Netherlands, you must be paid at least the Dutch minimum wage and holiday allowance, and you must comply with the working hours regulations and rest times. Your home country’s social security might still be applicable if you have a so-called E101 declaration from the Social Security board in your home country (if you are seconded from an EEA country or treaty country). Check for more information the website of the SVB.



If you are a Zelfstandige Zonder Personeel, ZZP'er (self-employed worker without employees) and you accept an assignment, you can ask the Dutch Tax Administration for a Verklaring Arbeidsrelatie, VAR (independent contractor status). With this statement, your client/employer knows he can regard you as an independent entrepreneur and that he is not held responsible for withholding taxes and social security contributions on your remuneration. As a self-employed worker, you are free to determine your own employment terms. If you are based in your home country, you must be able to prove that you are established as self-employed in your country of origin. This can be done through the Chamber of Commerce register in your country of origin.





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