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Equal treatment and pay

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you employ staff in the Netherlands you may not discriminate. This means you are not allowed to treat employees differently, discriminate or exclude anyone on the grounds of religion, beliefs, political opinions, age, race, gender, disabilities or any other grounds. This rule relates to:

Equal treatment during pregnancy

Pregnant employees or pregnant job applicants should get equal treatment to other employees and applicants. Pregnant employees must also be able to work in a safe and healthy environment. If you cannot (sufficiently) eliminate possible hazards you must offer alternative work. Pregnant employees are entitled to adapted working hours and pregnancy leave (leave schemes). You are not allowed to dismiss an employee because she is or wants to become pregnant, nor refuse a contract renewal.

Equal treatment and recruitment

When recruiting new employees you are not allowed to discourage (groups of) people to apply. You must for instance use neutral language in job adverts, such as he/she instead of just he or just she.You must make sure you treat all job applicants equal. There are some exceptions to this rule, for instance in case:

  • a specific group is under-represented in your company (affirmative action or positive discrimination)
  • a candidate should meet specific requirements to perform the role. For instance a call centre agent who must be fluent in Dutch
  • the work is too dangerous to perform by employees under 18 years of age

You may not ask questions about the personal life or health of an applicant, for instance about their family or if they want to have children. The Dutch-language Recruitment and Selection GuideExternal link (Werving&Selectie Gids) can help you decide which requirements you may or may not impose on candidates.

Filing a complaint about discriminatory treatment

If someone feels to be a victim of unequal treatment or pay, they can request an opinionExternal link (in Dutch) of the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (College voor de Rechten van de Mens, in Dutch).

This article is related to:

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO