Employment contract

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

An employment contract (arbeidscontract) is an agreement between an employee and an employer. It contains the agreements between the employer and employee which form the conditions of employment (arbeidsvoorwaarden).

Fixed-term and permanent contracts

You can offer an employee a:

  • fixed-term contract (a temporary contract), or a
  • contract for an indefinite period (a permanent contract)

Contracts can be agreed on in writing or verbally.

When should an employee receive a permanent contract?

You cannot extend temporary contracts indefinitely. An employee must receive a permanent contract after 3 consecutive temporary contracts or after 3 years of temporary contracts. This applies unless other arrangements have been made in the CAO. Find out what consecutive contracts are (in Dutch) and what conditions apply.

Written statement of employment details

As an employer, you must give your employees clear information on the most important employment conditions. The information in the employment contract must include:

  • the name and place of residence of the employer and the employee
  • the location(s) at which the work is carried out. If you have multiple locations, you must state whether the employee has multiple workplaces, or if they may decide their place of work.
  • the employee's job or the nature of the work
  • the usual working hours (per day or per week)
  • the arrangements on working overtime
  • the arrangements on swapping shifts
  • the salary amount (starting salary and the components of the salary), and how and when salary is paid
  • the fixed and variable hours and the salary on working overtime (in case of irregular working times)
  • the days and hours an employee can be required to work (in case of unpredictable working time)
  • date when the employee joined the company
  • term of the contract (if it is for a fixed term)
  • the type of employment contract (such as a temporary employment, payroll agreement, or permanent contract)
  • (if applicable) duration and conditions of the trial period
  • (if applicable) the training entitlement as offered by the employer
  • other forms of paid leave and how you calculate it
  • procedural requirements and the notice period if the employment agreement ends
  • (if applicable) pension
  • (if applicable) when an objective justification exists for a ban on ancillary activities
  • the Collective Labour Agreement (CAO), if applicable for your company


If the Collective Labour Agreement for your company states that your employees are entitled to education, you are required to fund their training. The employee must be allowed to receive training during working hours. You also need to fund your employee’s education (regardless of the CAO) if it:

  • is necessary to be able to do their job (such as a mandatory certificate, or to keep up to date with technological advancements)
  • enables the employee to continue the employment agreement if their position is terminated

You cannot add a refund scheme in the employment contract for education you are required (by law or CAO) to provide.

Ancillary activities

You cannot prohibit your employee from simultaneously working somewhere else (ancillary activities, ‘nevenwerkzaamheden’ in Dutch). You can only do so if an objective justification exists, such as:

  • there is a risk to health and safety
  • you need to protect confidential company information
  • there is a risk to the integrity of government services
  • the employee is in violation of a legal regulation
  • you want to prevent conflicts of interests

Changing the employment agreement

Your employee may put in a request for:

  • working more or less hours
  • a change in working hours
  • a change in workplace
  • a more dependable employment agreement (such as a permanent contract)

Your employee must put in a written request. You have to respond to the request within 1 month. Small employers (with up to 10 employees) are must respond within 3 months. If you fail to respond in time, you must agree to the request and change the employment contract.

Equal treatment and pay

You must 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.

Payroll employees have at least the same legal rights and working conditions as other employees in your company. If you hire employees from a temping agency or payroll company, you must inform them about your working conditions.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO