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Penalties for underpaying staff

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency

If you fail to pay the proper minimum wage or holiday allowance rate, or if you provide your employees with payslips that contain incorrect data, your employee may apply to a court of law. They also may lodge a complaint with the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate (SZW Inspectorate). Employees are entitled to claim any arrears up to 5 years.

SZW Inspectorate competences

The SZW Inspectorate may decide to:

  • check if you pay the proper rates
  • check your accounts when suspecting underpayment

Consequences of underpayment

When failing to comply with the Minimum wage and holiday allowance Act (WML), the SZW Inspectorate may decide to impose fines and other sanctionsExternal link, such as fines for:

  • not being able to prove the sum total of paid wages and holiday allowances as well as the total number of hours worked
  • not paying the proper minimum wage rate, paying in cash or failing to provide your employee with a correct payslip
  • not paying the proper holiday allowance

They may impose a non-compliance penalty if you fail to pay what you owe within 4 weeks after the payment became due.

Repeat offenders

If an employer violates the minimum wage rules 2 or 3 times within a 5 year period, the fine will be 2 or 3 times higher as well. You may also have to suspend (part of) your activities. Please note: depending on the seriousness of the offence, a 10 year period may apply.

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Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)

+31 (0)88 602 44 44

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency