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Working conditions

Are you planning to do research in the Netherlands based on an employment contract? When you are an employee in the Netherlands, different rules and legislation will make up your social security status. Next to participation in the national social security scheme there are working conditions and collective labour agreements. Read about salary, leave, working hours and your payslip.

Employment contract

When you are invited to work in the Netherlands you will sign an employment contract either with the research institution/university or company that will provide you with the working conditions. These conditions involve your job description, salary, holiday allowance, the number of working hours, as well as the amount of days of leave. 

Employee and social security

On the date that the contract starts, employees participate in the Dutch social security system, both in the national insurance schemes and the employee insurance schemes. Furthermore, employees participate in the company's occupational pension scheme. The contributions to the social security system and the company's pension scheme are partly paid by your employer and partly paid by yourself out of your gross salary. On your payslip you can see what you contribute. Note that anyone participating in the Dutch national insurance schemes has the right and obligation to participate in the Dutch public healthcare insurance.

Collective Labour Agreement

By law each branch in the Netherlands regularly lays down its secondary employment conditions. They are laid down in a Collective Labour Agreement (in Dutch: collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst - CAO).

The CAO-negotiations are done by the social partners (representatives of employers with representatives of employees), within a framework laid down by the government.

Rights of an employee

The best person to tell you about the rights you have as an employee is your HRM-contact person. As the rights you are provided with might differ a lot with what you are used to in your country, feel free to ask about which facilities and rights you have as an employee, even if you do not have a specific question.

Salaries, payslip, working hours, holidays and leave 


Wages in the Netherlands are average compared to the rest of Europe. They are higher than in Spain and Italy, but lower than in England and Germany. Salaries are usually paid monthly at the end of the month. Once or twice a year you will receive an extra payment. Once in May, when the holiday money is paid out and depending on the collective labour agreement, you might receive a so called 13th month in December. 

Payslip and Jaaropgave

The payslip is a document that provides you with details about your salary during that particular month. The Jaaropgave is the official government form you get from your employer at the end of the year. It outlines your earnings and the amount of taxes you paid that year. You should receive it by the end of February. Keep this document somewhere safe as this is very useful when you want to claim your tax refund or apply for benefits.

Working hours

According to Dutch law you are allowed to work a maximum of 9 hours a day and 45 hours a week, and a maximum of 2080 hours a year (which boils down to an average of 40 hours a week). The working week is usually Monday to Friday. There is a legal minimum of one day's rest a week, normally Sunday. Persons whose religion observes a day of rest on another day than Sunday, may request for a day off on Friday (or Saturday). A Normal workday starts between 8:00 and 9:00 and finishes between 17:00 and 18:00, with two 15 minute coffee breaks and a half hour lunch break.


You are entitled to a minimum of 20 days a year for holidays. Employers often allow five extra days. Employees receive normal pay during their holidays plus a bonus of 8% of their annual income, generally paid out in May. Furthermore there are about 12 National Holiday days a year, including Easter, Christmas and New Years Day. When day fall on a weekday, you have the day off whilst receiving normal pay.


Next to your holiday leave you are entitled with a leave in case of necessary care and calamities (i.e. death of family member, funerals, sudden illness or accidents of family members, fire, burglary, etc), pregnancy leave and parental leave.


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