On-call employees

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

An on-call employee (oproepkracht) only works when you, the employer, call them up. You have agreed this with your employee. There are different types of on-call contracts with different rules.

What is an on-call contract?

It can be hard to determine if someone works on an on-call contract, for example a zero-hours or a min-max contract. To clarify if an employee has an on-call contract, the following conditions apply:

  • the employee is not paid for hours that are not worked.
  • the number of working hours in the period of a week, month or year at most is not fixed. This means they may work 20 hours one month and 30 the next.
  • the employee's right to wages is therefore spread unevenly over that period.
  • you must pay wages straight away. Your on-call employee does not have a fixed monthly salary.

Is your employee's contract an on-call contract? Then you must report this in their wage slip. For on-call employees you pay a higher unemployment (WW) premium (in Dutch).

Reference days in on-call contract

You need to register reference days for your employees with an on-call contract. These are days or hours on which your employee can be required to work.

4 days' notice for on-call work

You must give notice for on-call work at least 4 days in advance. You have to give notice in writing or electronically (by email or WhatsApp). You must have clear agreements about being able to reach your on-call employee. If you call up an on-call employee less than 4 days before the work, the employee is not obliged to take the work. If you cancel on-call work or change the hours within 4 days of the job, you must pay for the hours reserved for the call up.

Please note: the notice for on-call work can be set at a minimum of 1 day in the employee's collective labour agreement (CAO).

Fixed number of hours offered after on-call contract of 1 year

You can employ someone on an on-call contract for a maximum of 1 year. After 1 year you must offer them a fixed number of hours (per week, per month, or per year) if you continue to employ them. The employee can accept this or choose to continue working on an on-call contract. The offer for a new contract must be at least on the same terms as the on-call contract was. For more information read the WAB factsheet: on-call measures - employers' information (in Dutch).

Minimum wage for commission contract or other agreements for payment

If you pay your employees on the basis of a commission contract or assignment agreement, you do not have an employment contract with that person. They work for you only for the assignment or project. They must earn at least the minimum wage. This agreement can be an commission contract or any other agreement for payment, such as a contracting agreement.

Contract with a fixed number of hours per week

If your on-call employee works at least 3 consecutive months, the average number of hours in that period is considered to be the guaranteed hours per month. This can result in a regular work pattern, with which your employee may demand an average number of working hours per week (in Dutch) or a higher number of guaranteed hours. If, in your opinion, this is an unreasonable demand, because the high number of working hours is due to a peak period, you must be able to prove this with written agreements or preceding working time tables. If you cannot reach agreement on this, the matter can be taken to court.

Continued pay during sickness

On-call employees are sometimes entitled to continued pay during sickness. Otherwise, they are entitled to social security benefits (in Dutch). This depends on their type of contract.

Continued pay during slow periods

On-call employees are entitled to continued pay when their employer temporarily cannot offer work. How much and for how long depends on their type of contact. As an employer you can temporarily exclude the right to continued pay when you cannot provide your on-call employees with work. You can do this for a maximum of 6 months, unless their collective labour agreement(CAO) allows otherwise.


On-call employees also have the right to vacation days and holiday allowance. They build up leave hours on the number of hours they have worked. This is 4 times the number of weekly working hours per year. If, for instance, an employee works 25 hours a week on average, they have a right to 4x25 hours of leave per year. You must pay these hours. The holiday allowance is at least 8% of their gross annual salary.

Seasonal work

Seasonal work is work that can only be performed for a maximum of 9 months per year due to its seasonal nature. The employee may not be kept on in the same job after the season has ended. You can agree with your employees that no minimum or maximum hours are set in the collective labour agreement (CAO). You also do not have to offer a set number of hours if a seasonal worker is employed for longer than 12 months.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO