On-call employees

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

An on-call employee (oproepkracht) only works when you, as an 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 may be hard to determine if someone works on an on-call contract, for instance a zero-hours or a min-max contract. To clarify whether an employee has an on-call contract, the following conditions apply: to a zero-hours or a min-max contract:
  • 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. The employee's right to wages is spread unevenly over that period. This means they may work 20 hours one month and 30 the next. You must pay wages straight away. Your on-call employee does not have a fixed monthly salary.

If you have an on-call contract with an employee, you must report this in their wage slip. You pay a higher unemployment (WW) premium (in Dutch) for on-call employees.

4 days' notice for on-call work

Notice for on-call work must be given at least 4 days in advance. Notice has to be given 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 working agreement (CAO).

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

You may only employ someone on an on-call contract for 1 year at the most. After that 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 choose to continue to work on an on-call contract. You cannot force them to accept a contract with fixed hours.

If, after 12 months, you offer an on-call employee a contract with fixed-hours, or if their contract continues, you must offer them a fixed number of hours based on the average number of hours worked. This contract can be a new temporary contract, but with a fixed number of hours per week, month or year.

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, then you do not have an employment contract with that person. They work for you on the basis of an 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 may 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 with your employee, 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. You as an employer can temporarily exclude the right to continued pay when you cannot provide your on-call emplyees with work. You can do this for a maximum of 6 months, unless their collective labour agreement allows otherwise.

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 working agreement (CAO). You are also not obliged to offer a set number of hours if a seasonal worker is employed for longer than 12 months.

Changes in labour and social security law

From 1 January 2020 changes in labour and social security law took place. Read our Balance Employment Market Act checklist.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO