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Interns are employees who work (follow an internship) in a company as part of their training. A work placement company is a company that offers internships to students following senior secondary vocational education (MBO) or pre-vocational secondary education (VMBO).
Becoming a work placement company
If you run a company in the Netherlands and you want to offer apprenticeships or internships, your company must be an accredited work placement company. You can request a certificate from the Foundation for Cooperation between Vocational Education, Training and the Labour Market (SBB). Professional education and the business sector work together there. A certificate as a work placement company is valid for 4 years.
Offering internships or work placements
Compensation for supervision
The subsidy scheme for practical learning may provide you with compensation for the costs of supervising interns or students.
Rules applicable to interns
Sometimes the same rules apply to interns as to normal employees (for example, with regard to working conditions). Sometimes other rules apply (for example, with regard to payment and social security). Moreover, interns have an internship agreement instead of a contract of employment. For foreign interns additional rules may apply. As an employer, you do not need to apply for a work permit if the intern comes from an EU/EEA country. It is up to you if you pay your intern an allowance, but intern who need a work permit should be able to show they have enough financial means (in Dutch). Depending on their country of origin, interns may also need a residence permit.
Payment and social security
You can pay your interns a normal wage or an internship fee. If you pay a normal wage, the intern is supposed to be employed like any other employee, which means that the contract is a normal employment contract. However, if you pay an internship fee, it involves a notional employment relationship. This has consequences for social security:
- Real employment: the intern receives a realistic payment, the normal rules for wage levies apply. He is insured under all employee insurance schemes. You must deduct contributions for employee insurance schemes and compensate the deducted income-dependent allowance for contributions pursuant to the Healthcare Insurance Act.
- Notional employment relationship: your intern is not employed in a real employment, but receives an internship fee. He is insured under the Sickness Benefits Act and Invalidity Insurance Young Disabled Persons Act (Wajong) and is subject to the Healthcare Insurance Act. You do not have to deduct any contributions for employee insurance schemes. Interns do not receive sick pay in the event of illness.
If the intern does not receive the internship fee themselves, under certain conditions you are exempted from deducting and paying payroll taxes. This would be the case if you transfer the internship fee directly to the school or institution involved, which then uses the money for general training purposes. The school is responsible for the correct administration and application of the received funds, while you keep proper accounts of your payments and beneficiaries as well.
A social internship is volunteer work for at least 30 hours by secondary education students. This can be part of their school career. As an internship provider you can offer social internships to young people.