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Work hours and conditions

Work hours

The average working week is 36-40 hours, but part-time employment is very common. Part-time employment is very common with 15 % of men and more than half of women in the labour force work part-time for 32 hours per week or less. Many Dutch organizations have schemes allowing you to work flexible hours, from home or from another location. In general, work-life balance is rated high to very high. In many companies, your lunch break is not part of your official working hours and is unpaid. If that is so, you are expected to be present between 8.5 and 9 hours during an 8 hour work day, depending on your breaks. The maximum number of hours you are allowed to work is 12 per day, or 60 per week in case of shift work; however, during a period of 16 weeks, you must not work more than 48 hours per week on average.

Employee rights and working conditions

Legally, the minimum annual leave is four times the number of working days per week. If your full time job is 40 hours per week, you have at least 20 vacation days a year (4×5). Sometimes, agreements between a specific sector or employer and a labor union make it possible to receive more days. For example, Dutch civil servants have an average 33 per year and teachers as many as 60! Sick leave, leave of absence and retirement are mostly well taken care of. All employee rights and primary and secondary working conditions are specified in your employment contract and must correspond to certain minimum levels.

Collective labor agreements (CAO)

Most companies and organizations participate in a collective labor agreement (CAO). This is a written agreement between one or more employers and one or more trade unions about the labor conditions for all employees, such as wages, payment of extra work, working hours, probation period, pension, education and childcare. The agreements in a CAO are often better than those prescribed by law but they may never contradict the law. If there is no CAO, you have to make an individual agreement with your employer about the labor conditions, preferably in writing. The legal rules are the basis for this agreement. 

For assistance, check out our IWCN Service Partner:  Pallas Attorneys at Law!