A Comprehensive Understanding of Dutch Labor Contract

Date:2020-12-02 22:28

Many readers told us that Dutch labor contracts are very confusing.


It is highly important to have a comprehensive understanding of Dutch labor contract. What are the major items contained in Dutch Labor Contract? Today we are sorting this out together, you are suggested to take notes of the following contents:

Viewing and Signing Labor Contract

Generally speaking, once you get a job offer, you will be offered an employment contract(arbeidsovereenkomst)from your employer with general introductions of employment agreements.

It is not mandatory to sign the labor contract immediately when you get it. Instead, the majority of companies give permits to offer holders for viewing and gaining a thorough understanding of the contract for one or two days.

It is necessary to communicate with your employer if you have questions or dissatisfactions with the contract before signing it. You can also resort to professional legal consultancy if special confusions or concerns remain.

Signing a labor contract means the start a paid job (loondienst)now !

Main Contents in Dutch Labor Contract

Keep in mind that it is of great importance to carefully view all conditions in the contract.

Here is a note list of the most frequently seen items in Dutch labor contract: 

  • Positions and Job Descriptions

  • Starting / Finishing Working Time

  • Working Hours

According to Dutch law, the maximum working hour is 9 hours, totaling 45 hours per week. The average weekly working hour is 40 hours. There usually are 5 working days with at least 1 day off (mostly Sunday) per week. 

  • Probation period(proeftijd): 

A contract with contract period less than 6 months does not require probation period; 

A 6-24 months temporary contract has a maximum 1 month probation period; 

A contract with a valid period of more than 2 years has probation period that can reach to 2 months.

  • Want to work for extra hours? Do I need to work for extra hours? How to calculate extra working hours? Is there allowance provided for working extra hours?

  • Flexible Working Preferences

  • Holidays: Click here for more information: 


  • Income

  • Bonus and Year-End Double Pay

  • Pension Plan

  • Social Insurance

  • Car/Mobile phone offered by company:It needs to be indicated specifically if your company offers you car or pays your call bill.

  • Coverage of Extra Expenses: (eg. transportation)

  • Non-disclosure and Confidentiality

  • Terminations Terms

  • Non-Competition Terms:(concurrentiebeding)

Main Types in Dutch Labor Contract

Three main types of Dutch labor contracts:

  • Temporary Labor Contract

  • Permanent Labor Contract

  • Labor Contract signed with the Third-Party Agency 

The biggest difference between temporary labor contract and permanent labor contract lies in different requirements for valid employment period. In short, there is no limit to a specific contract period in permanent contract, namely no termination date.

The biggest difference between temporary labor contract and permanent labor contract lies in different requirements for valid employment period. In short, there is no limit to a specific contract period in permanent contract, namely no termination date.

Temporary Labor Contract(Tijdelijk Contract)

Temporary contract refers to an employment contract with a fixed termination date and being valid within certain period of time, for instance, 6 months or 1 year. No dismissal procedure is required on the termination of a temporary contract. Once the termination date specified in contract arrives, the employment ends automatically. Many Dutch employers will continue to offer the second temporary contract on the expiration of the first contract, yet some will not. 

From July 1, 2015, employees are entitled to gain a permanent labor contract if they had at least 2 consecutive years’ temporary contracts with their employers. In addition, signing more than 3 temporary labor contracts in a row with the same employer is not permitted. The next labor contract (followed the 3 consecutive temporary contracts) has to be a permanent one. 

Permanent Labor Contract(Vast Contract)

There is no specific valid period of a vast contract, namely no termination date. Vast contract can only be terminated either when employee resigns (eg. finding another job in the Netherlands or in a foreign country) or when employer has sufficient reasons (abiding by law) to require to end the contract. 

Employees have right to terminate employment contract without forwarding to dismissal procedure, noteworthy however, resignation request has to be notified to company at least 1 month in advance, abiding by legislation and concerted period. 

Employer is supposed to apply for a dismissal permit for terminating the contract. 

Contract Signed with Employment Service Agency(Uitzendcontract)

The third-party labor contract is more rare type. Employee signs labor contract with an employment service agency, which acts as an employer and income provider. Being “employed” by a third-party agency means employee signs contract with A, who assigns employee to work for B while A is the one who employs as well as pays you. A kind reminder here, rights of protection against dismissal is limited in this type of contract.

Contract Terms Need Extra Attention in Dismissal Procedure

A labor contract secures our jobs to some extent. Meanwhile, there are still some concerns remaining on what we should pay extra attention to if we are fired, if we want to resign or the contract ends etc. 

As mentioned before, temporary contracts end on concerted date or in probation period without any dismissal procedure. While a permanent contract protects employees by asking for sufficient supporting reasons from employers if they want to fire the employees.

Here is a list of reasons that employees may be dismissed:

  • company goes bankrupt or under internal restructuring;

  • Employer does not consider employee as a good match for this job due to poor performance. In this situation, employees have right to ask employers for more time to improve themselves. However, companies are able to fire employees who keep receiving negative feedback in performance evaluations.

  • Employee who had conflicts of unfixable relations with employer;

  • Employee can not present convincing reasons for their behavior of refusing to work or excessive drinking;

  • Employee has records of falsifying certificates, confidentiality breach, threatening and endangering others;

  • Both employer and employee agree on resignation.

Employers are required to apply for dismissal permit (vraagt een ontslagvergunning) in UWV Werkbedrijf. 

More information about Dutch labor contract will be expected in our official account.

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