Working hours and rest times

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

Last updated on

Do you run a business in the Netherlands and do you employ staff? Or does your business have its registered office outside of the Netherlands but you employ workers in the Netherlands? Then you must comply with statutory regulations regarding working hours and rest times.

Working hours

The regulations state that your employees may not exceed a specific number of working hours per day and per week. They are also entitled to take regular breaks. These rules apply to everyone, including foreign employees and temporary personnel.

Exceptions and additions

For certain employees, professions and working conditions there are exceptions and supplements to the general rules for working hours, rest and break times. They apply to minors, young adults, pregnant women or women who have recently given birth. This also applies to employees who work night shifts. A number of professions and sectors have supplementary sector-specific rules as well, for instance cinemas and fire brigades.

Flexible working

Does your employee want to work fewer or more hours than is agreed to in their employment contract? Or do they want to adjust their working hours or working location? You must always allow this. However, you can refuse a change in (the number of) working hours if you can demonstrate that your company would suffer serious consequences as a result. Your employee can apply for a change in working hours after he or she has been employed for 6 months and only once a year. Unforeseen circumstances may justify a second request. The change in working may be temporary.

Modifying working times after parental leave

Has your employee used up all of their parental leave? Then they may request a temporary modification of working times for the period following this. This is stated in Article 1.42 of the Working Conditions Decree. Your employee must submit this request 3 months before the end of the parental leave period. You must decide 4 weeks before the leave period ends.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO