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Government information for entrepreneurs

Employment contract

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO | Statistics Netherlands organisation, CBS

An employment contract (arbeidscontract) is an agreement between an employee and an employer, containing working arrangements. In the Netherlands, you can enter into an employment contract for a fixed term (a temporary contract) or for an indefinite period (a permanent contract). It can be agreed in writing or verbally. In the employment contract, you indicate whether a Collective Labour Agreement (CAO) applies.

How often can someone receive a fixed-term contract

If temporary contracts are continually extended, immediately or within 6 months, permanent employment will follow after 2 years or starting with the 4th consecutive contract (chain provision). If included in their CAO, you may give seasonal workers in, for instance, the food and beverage or agricultural sector a new temporary contract after only 3 months.

Written statement of employment details

As an employer, you must give your employees a contract in writing that contains the details of their employment. If you intend to provide the information electronically, your employee must give his or her express consent for you to do so. You can include the data in your employment contract, but you may also provide the data separately.

The information must include at least:

Equal treatment and pay

You have to treat and pay your employees equally. Working conditions must be the same for all your employees. Discrimination based on religion, beliefs, political opinions, race, gender, age, disabilities or any other grounds is unlawful.

Proposed changes for employment contracts

A new law is due to come into force on 1 January 2020 to regulate flexible work, dismissal and the financing of unemployment benefit. Through the Balance Employment Market Act (Wet arbeidsmarkt in balans, WAB), the government wants to make it more attractive for employers to offer a fixed contract rather than a flexible one. At the same time flex workers must be given more stability in their job and income. The new law will effect:

  • Dismissals and transitional payments
  • Temporary employees and chain provision
  • Payroll staff and stand-by workers
The new law envisages:
  • More opportunities to offer trial periods
  • Cumulative grounds for dismissal is to be added to the list of reasonable grounds for dismissal
  • Fixed and flexible contracts are to be brought in line with one another with regard to transition payments
  • Lower unemployment insurance contributions (WW) for employers who offer employees fixed contracts rather than flexible ones.

At the same time, some rules with regard to flexible labour will be relaxed:

  • More opportunities for workers to return to temporary seasonal work which can only be done for 9 months of the year
  • Extension of the period in which consecutive temporary contracts can be turned into permanent 2 or 3-year contracts

Find out more about preparing for the Balance Employment Market Act.

Statistics: employment contract

Number of jobs by employment contract.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Statistics Netherlands organisation, CBS