Permanent employment in the Netherlands

The working culture in the Netherlands is relaxed. Strict employment laws and regulations are in place to support and protect the employees.
This legislation makes it very difficult for an employer to sack, dismiss or make redundant an employee without reasonable cause. This makes for a more secure work environment for the employee. Certain laws and protocols apply when taking on new staff and employers have adopted these in order to protect themselves and their staff. The following guidelines may help:

Initial contract:

  • Permanent employees are hired initially on a limited time contract basis
    (usually 12 months but it can be for a maximum of 3 years).

  • Thereafter giving the option to become a permanent employee of the company. During the contract period you are, to all intents and purposes,
    a permanent employee. The initial period has given both employee and employer time to settle in and establish a desire to carry on the employment situation.

  • Or you may be given a permanent full-time contract immediately.

Probation and notice periods:

  • A one month probation period is the usual, however companies can ask for a two month period.

  • Within the probation period either party can give notice with immediate effect (usually put in writing).

  • Once the probation period has passed, the contract of employment runs its course with a notice period of 1 or 2 months. Where more than one month's notice is required, the employer must always give double the notice period to that of the employee.

Working hours and holidays:

  • Normal working hours are 40 per week

  • Some employers offer extra time off in the form of ATV days. Where you are contracted to work for 37.5 hours but actually work 40 hours per week, the extra hours accumulate as the ATV days, usually 12- 13, dependant on the employer's agreement with his workers council (CAO). This will be detailed in your contract, if it applies.

  • Holiday entitlement is between 20 and 26 days per year plus public holidays of which there are 7 per year.