Working hours and rest times

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you run a business in the Netherlands and you employ staff, or if your business has its registered office outside of the Netherlands and you employ workers in the Netherlands, you must comply with statutory regulations regarding working hours and rest times. These 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

Certain employees, professions and working conditions correspond to exceptions and supplements to the general rules for work and break times. There are modified periods of rest, work and break times for 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. The rules for the taxi sector have been made more flexible.

Flexible working

If your employee wants to work fewer or more hours than is agreed to in their employment contract, or they want to adjust their working hours or working location, you must always allow this. However, you can refuse a change in (the numer of) working hours if you can demonstrate that your company would suffer serious consequences as a result. Furthermore, your employee can apply for flexible working only once a year, unless unforeseen circumstances exist to justify a second request. The contract change may be temporary as well.

Modifying working times after parental leave

If your employee has used up all of their parental leave, 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 it ends.

Corona crisis: rules for supplying supermarkets and pharmacies relaxed

The rules for driving and resting times for the provisioning of supermarkets and pharmacies have been relaxed temporarily (in Dutch):

  • The daily driving limit has been increased from 9 to 11 hours.
  • The weekly driving limit has been increased from 56 to 60 hours.
  • The biweekly total driving limit has been increased from 90 to 96 hours.

The increase only applies to professions that have been marked as crucial by the Cabinet. It concerns the transport of these goods, amongst other things:

  • agricultural produce and livestock
  • other foodstuffs (groceries) and cattle feed
  • petroleum and petroleum products
  • medicinal and pharmaceutical products (including medical devices), perfumes and cleaning products
  • waste materials and garbage

An important condition is that the traffic safety of drivers and other road users must not be put at risk, nor the social circumstances of drivers.

This information is provided by

Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO