Employing staff in the Netherlands

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO

If you have a business in the Netherlands and want to employ permanent or temporary staff, you can use this checklist to find out which obligations you must fulfil.

This checklist also includes a number of obligations relevant to employing staff from outside the Netherlands. If the information you are looking for is not on this page, please consult the other checklists in this section.

Temporary or permanent staff?

Most of the regulations concerning hiring staff apply to both permanent and temporary staff. But there are some differences. If you plan on hiring temporary staff through an agency or secondment supplier, take into account the following:

  • Check whether the agency or secondment supplier is listed in the Dutch Business Register: as a hirer, you risk a fine for working with suppliers that are not registered properly. You can check their registration using the KVK (Dutch-language) Waadi check (Workers Allocation By Intermediaries Act, Waadi).
  • Make sure the intermediary has arranged a work permit for your temporary workers from outside the EEA/Switzerland.
  • Avoid liability for taxes owed by your intermediary; the Netherlands Tax Administration may hold you liable for the payroll tax and turnover tax owed by your intermediary. One way of preventing liability for payroll tax and turnover tax is to ask the organisation that hires employees out to you to set up a blocked account (G account).
  • If the temporary worker you hire is foreign, they may still be covered by social insurance in their own country. In that case, you do not have to pay social security contributions for this worker. To be certain on this point, you can ask your intermediary to submit an A1/certificate of coverage.

1. Comply with laws and regulations when recruiting staff

When looking for employees, you should follow rules for equal treatment of candidates. For example, make sure the job description is neutral so that everyone feels welcome to apply. During an interview, you should not ask questions about health or private life. Or about someone's family or desire to have children. Finding good candidates starts with good job ads and the right approach.

2. Verify and register the identity of your employees

Have you found a suitable candidate? Then check who the applicant is and whether they can come and work for you. This also applies if you want to hire foreign staff or trainees. You have to verify the identity of all workers on the basis of an original identity document when they join your company. You must keep a copy of the identity documents in your records.

Note, for example:

  • the passport photo
  • characteristics such as age and height
  • signature
  • nationality
  • whether the document is valid
  • authenticity features (such as watermark and document number)

3. Screen your future employees

When you employ workers who will hold integrity-sensitive positions, you may want to screen future employees. This is not only possible when employing regular staff, but also for interim personnel, self-employed professionals, temporary staff, interns and volunteers.

4. Update your records

Process all mandatory data in your records before your employee starts. Such as:

  • payroll tax records
  • a copy of the employee's proof of identity
  • the payroll statement

Download an example of a payslip (in Dutch). If you make your own payslip, it should contain the same data as the example.

5. Register as an employer with the Tax Administration

If you are employing personnel for the first time, you must register as an employer with the Tax Administration. You will then receive the necessary forms to meet your payroll tax obligations.

Are you taking on new employees at a later date? Or are employees leaving? If so, always inform KVK of employee changes (in Dutch).

Learn more about employing your first staff.

6. Enter into a contract of employment

In an employment contract, you specify the employee’s salary, indicate whether a Collective Labour Agreement applies, outline working hours and rest times, and indicate whether you arrange an employee pension scheme. There are several types of employment contracts. For instance, a temporary or a permanent one. You can hire on-call workers with a zero-hours or min-max contract.

Put agreements on paper

By law, you must put some things in writing 1 month after your employee has started. Some agreements are only valid if they are confirmed in writing.

7. Pay at least the Dutch minimum wage and holiday allowance

Everyone working in the Netherlands is entitled to the Dutch minimum wage and a holiday allowance. This also applies to temporary workers, flex workers and foreign personnel. For younger workers aged 15 to 20, the minimum youth wage applies. There is no minimum youth wage for employees aged 13 and 14. You agree together on how high the wage is.

Hiring costs

Besides salary, you will face various costs when hiring staff. Such as holiday pay, payroll taxes and extra (secondary) benefits. Read which personnel costs you need to think about.

8. Provide healthy and safe working conditions

Your employee must be able to work safely and healthily. This is stated in the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet). According to this, you must draw up a health and safety policy. And you must conclude a basic contract with a health and safety service provider. The contract specifies the tasks for which you must be supported by a health and safety service provider or company doctor.

9. Draw up a risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E)

Once you employ personnel, you are obliged to draw up a risk inventory and evaluation (RI&E) in which you state the risks faced by personnel and the measures you have in place to address these risks.

10. Deduct social insurance premiums

You must deduct social insurance premiums for employees who work permanently in the Netherlands. You pay employee and national insurance contributions to the Tax Administration. You can choose to become a self-insurer for employee insurance. You will then pay less in employee insurance contributions. If your employee becomes ill or unfit for work, you will pay the benefit instead of UWV.

11. Verify if your employee has taken out health care insurance

Your employee should have taken out a standard Dutch healthcare insurance policy. If they are not properly insured, the Dutch National Health Care Institute will take out health insurance for them. You then have to deduct the healthcare premium from their salary, and this must be paid back to the institute.

12. Arrange a pension for your employees

You are obliged to offer your employee a pension scheme if there is a specific pension fund for your sector. Is there no sector pension fund? Then you choose whether to offer your employees a pension scheme. Learn more in the step-by-step plan on how to arrange a pension for your employees.

Steps to consider when hiring staff from abroad

Try to find personnel in the EEA first

You are obliged to recruit personnel initially in the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland. Only if you prove that you cannot find suitable personnel here will you be permitted to recruit from other countries.

Apply for a work permit (if needed) or a combined permit for residence and work

If you employ someone who is not from the EEA or Switzerland for less than 3 months, you must apply usually for a work permit from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). If you employ someone for 3 months or longer you must usually apply for a combined permit for residence and work: the Single Permit.

Organise suitable accommodation when employing foreign staff

You are obliged to find suitable accommodation for employees who need a work permit. You must observe the relevant rules applicable in your municipality.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO