Working night shifts
If your employee works at least 1 hour between 00:00 and 06:00, this falls under night work. This does not have to be a continuous shift.
No more than 117 night shifts per year
It is no longer allowed for your employees to work full-time night shifts. Working at night affects the day-night rhythm. Employees can get health problems from night shifts (in Dutch).
Please note: You may not force pregnant colleagues to work night shifts.
You may have employees work a maximum of 117 night shifts per year. Only if it is really necessary are 140 night shifts per year allowed. Your employee must then apply for permission via the Netherlands Labour Authority. They must also meet the conditions for permanent night work (in Dutch). Does the night shift not cover the whole night? In that case, your employee may work a maximum of 38 hours per week between 00:00 and 06:00 for 2 weeks.
Exemption for permanent night work
Your employee can apply for an exemption from the maximum number of shifts for permanent night work. They can do so if the work is only possible at night. If you receive the exemption, your employee may work a maximum of 20 night shifts per 4 weeks. That amounts to 260 per year. Each employee must apply for this exemption themselves.
An exception has been agreed upon in some Collective Labour Agreements (CAO). Employees in these sectors do not need to apply for an individual exemption. An exception also applies to employees who worked permanently at night before 1 January 1996. They have a transitional arrangement (for an indefinite period) and do not need to request permission.
Other rules for night shifts
The Working Hours Act also contains rules for the division of night shifts. And rules for rest periods during or after night shifts. The main ones are:
Division of night shifts
Your employee may:
- work a maximum of 36 night shifts per 16 weeks
- not work more than 7 consecutive night shifts, upon exception 8
There are exceptions, for example those that have been agreed on in the CAO. Read more about the rules for the division of night shifts (in Dutch).
Number of hours per week
Your employee may:
- in case they work fewer than 16 night shifts per 16 weeks, work 48 hours on average
- in case they work more than 16 night shifts per 16 weeks, work a maximum of 40 hours on average
The duration of a night shift
- A night shift may not last longer than 10 hours.
- Sometimes a night shift may last 12 hours. This is allowed a maximum of 5 times every 2 weeks, no more than 22 times a year.
Rest after a night shift
For services with an end time before 02:00, the following applies:
- Your employee may not work for 11 hours following the shift.
- After a 12-hour night shift, your employee may not work for 12 consecutive hours.
- After 3 consecutive night shifts, your employee may not work for at least 46 hours.
For services with an end time after 02:00, the following applies:
- Your employee may not work for 14 hours following the shift.
- In exceptional cases, the rest period may be 8 hours once a week.
The following applies to night shifts of 12 hours or longer:
- Your employee may not work for 12 hours following the shift.
- After 3 consecutive night shifts, regardless of the duration: - Your employee may not work for 46 hours.
There are no legal rules about extra compensation for night work. A mandatory nightshift allowance has been agreed on in some CAOs.