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Tapping into the Dutch Labor Market: Benefits of Hiring in the Netherlands

November 17, 2023

Among European countries, the Netherlands is a top choice for businesses looking to grow their operations. Thanks to its great location, business-friendly policies, strong economy, and talented workforce, the country offers several benefits for companies wanting to set up shop in Europe.

In this article, we’ll delve into the Dutch labor market landscape, Netherlands’ social services and benefits, and the advantages of hiring talent in the Netherlands.

The Dutch Labor Market Landscape

Businesses expanding in Europe are able to access a skilled pool of professionals across many sectors in the Netherlands.  Dutch workers are known for their high level of education, with many of them finishing higher education degrees. With an average unemployment rate of 3.7%, the Dutch economy remains strong, especially in technology, logistics, and sustainable energy industries.

Attracting High Skilled Talent

Salaries in the Netherlands are competitive within Europe, and there is great emphasis on work-life balance that prioritizes employees' well-being, like offering flexible working hours and remote work options. The country also invests heavily in R&D projects, often in public-private partnerships, hosting several prestigious universities and research institutions — providing many opportunities for continuous learning and career growth.

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Hiring in the Netherlands is facilitated by a clear, comprehensive set of rules and regulations that protect both employers and employees. These laws strike a balance, allowing businesses to operate efficiently while also maintaining workers' rights.

Employment Contracts

Dutch law recognizes different types of employment contracts. The most common are indefinite-term (permanent) contracts, offering a long-term employment relationship, and fixed-term (temporary) contracts, which have a specified end date. Temporary contracts may be used for project-based work or to cover temporary increases in workload.

Minimum Wage and Working Hours

The Netherlands has a statutory minimum wage of EUR 1,995 per month as of July 2023 for employees over the age of 21. The standard workweek is 40 hours at 8 hours per day, and should not exceed 45 hours. Overtime hours are usually regulated by collective labor agreements.

Collective Labor Agreements (CAOs)

Many industries in the Netherlands have collective labor agreements negotiated between employers' associations and labor unions. These agreements can set additional terms and conditions for employment, including salary scales, working hours, and other benefits.

Occupational Health and Safety

Dutch employers are obligated to provide a safe and healthy working environment for their employees. This includes measures to prevent accidents, assess and mitigate workplace risks, and address occupational health concerns.

Social Services and Benefits in the Netherlands

In addition to a robust social security system, the Netherlands offers an array of benefits for employees. Employers typically contribute to health insurance, retirement pensions, and other welfare schemes.

  • Health Insurance: The Dutch health system is one of the best in Europe. Health insurance for employees typically covers essential medical care, hospitalization, and prescription medications. Both employers and employees contribute to health insurance, ensuring high-quality care for all residents.
  • Retirement and Pensions: In the Netherlands, there is a multi-pillar system that combines state pensions, occupational pensions, and individual savings, ensuring that retirees have a comfortable post-work life.
  • Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefits provide financial support to individuals who lose their jobs. Employees contribute to this system through payroll taxes, and if they become unemployed, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • Disability Benefits: In case of illness or disability preventing an employee from working, disability benefits may be provided. These benefits are intended to support individuals who are temporarily or permanently unable to work due to health reasons.
  • Family Benefits: The Netherlands recognizes the importance of work-life balance and family support. Employees may be entitled to parental leave, and various family benefits, such as child allowances, are available to support parents in raising their children.

Dutch Leave Policies

Dutch employment law ensures that employees get ample time off for rest, recreation, and personal needs. This includes annual leave, sick leave, and parental leave.

  • Paid Time Off: Dutch employees are typically entitled to at least 20 paid vacation days per year, not including national holidays (11 days per year).
  • Sick Leave: The maximum duration of sick leave payment is generally two years and employees are entitled to wages paid by the employer at 70% of the regular salary rate while they are sick.
  • Parental Leave: Pregnant employees are entitled to 16 weeks of maternity leave. This period usually begins 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery and extends for 10 weeks after the birth. Fathers can take up to 1 week of paid paternity leave within 4 weeks of the child's birth.

Worker Protections

Like many European countries, the Netherlands has stringent laws against workplace discrimination, covering race, gender, religion, age, and more. These laws ensure a fair, inclusive, and diverse workplace environment.

Dutch Anti-Discrimination Law

The law prohibits discrimination in employment matters, covering areas such as recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, promotions, and dismissals. Employers are required to provide equal opportunities and fair treatment to all employees, regardless of their background or characteristics.

Employee Protections Against Unfair Dismissal

Employees are protected against unfair dismissals. If an employer fails to demonstrate a valid reason for dismissal or doesn't follow proper procedures, the dismissal may be considered unfair. In such cases, employees may be entitled to compensation or reinstatement.

Dismissal Procedures

When terminating employment, it’s important to follow proper procedures. Terminations due to economic reasons or long-term disability must involve the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). If an employee violates communicated company regulations or commits gross negligence, an employer has the legal right to dismiss the employee.

Notice Period

Under Dutch labor laws, employers are required to provide employees with a notice period before terminating their employment. The length of the notice period depends on factors such as the duration of employment and ranges from 1 month to 4 months.

Privacy Rights

Employees have privacy rights regarding their personal data. Employers must handle employee information in compliance with privacy laws including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The regulation outlines principles for the lawful and fair handling of personal data, ensuring individuals have control over their information.

Benefits of Hiring in the Netherlands

Access to the European Market

Strategically located in the heart of Europe, the Netherlands serves as a gateway to the European Union. As an EU member and part of the Eurozone, it offers seamless trade opportunities, a well-developed infrastructure, and a common currency.

Multilingual Workforce

The linguistic diversity of the Dutch workforce creates an inclusive atmosphere that values  different perspectives and backgrounds. With the majority being fluent in English, Dutch, and often another European language, businesses can easily cater to various European markets simultaneously.

Business-Friendly Environment

The Netherlands is renowned for its business-friendly policies and incentives. With a favorable corporate tax climate and significant support for R&D and innovation, it's no surprise that many international businesses choose to set up shop here.

Strong Sectors


The Netherlands is a powerhouse in the technology sector, known for its advanced IT infrastructure and thriving digital market. The Dutch government actively supports technological advancements, making it an ideal environment for tech-driven industries.


The Netherlands is a top player in medical research and healthcare solutions. Known for its advanced medical facilities and research institutions, the country leads in healthcare innovations. The focus on high-quality healthcare services and research makes the Netherlands a key global player in the health sector.


The Netherlands has a large financial hub with major European financial institutions and a growing fintech startup scene. Amsterdam, especially its well-known financial district, has international banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. Many financial services companies choose the Netherlands as a strategic base in Europe.

Navigating the Dutch Employment Landscape with Confidence

Global employment laws can be challenging. Simplify your Dutch business venture with Remofirst's Employer of Record (EOR) services, ensuring smooth payroll, benefits, and employee support for your local team.

Check out our comprehensive Netherlands Country Guide for more insights into hiring, employment contracts, termination procedures, and more.