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What are the requirements relating to advertising positions?

There is no general statutory framework governing recruitment and selection. However, employers should always guard against discrimination. Discrimination (direct and indirect) in access to employment is prohibited on the grounds of:

  • sex;
  • race;
  • age;
  • disability or chronic illness;
  • marital or civil status;
  • sexual orientation;
  • religion or beliefs;
  • political orientation; and
  • nationality.

The prohibition against discrimination covers all stages of the recruitment and selection process, including:

  • the wording of job advertisements and job descriptions;
  • selection criteria;
  • the conduct of interviews, including questions and comments made during interviews; and
  • the final selection decision.

Notwithstanding the lack of laws on recruitment, some general recruitment guidelines are in place (eg, candidates must be treated equally and information supplied by candidates must be treated confidentially and with care). Job advertisements may specify only requirements that are necessary to carry out the work involved. Only gender-neutral words may be used in advertisements. If age limits are specified, the grounds for these must be clearly stated.

Background checks

What can employers do with regard to background checks and inquiries in relation to the following:

(a) Criminal records?

Employers can ask the potential employee for a certificate of conduct. This is a document in which the state secretary for security and justice declares that the applicant has committed no criminal offences that are relevant to the performance of his or her duties. However, this is allowed only for certain functions and positions.

Reference is made to the Dutch Association for Personnel Management and Organisational Development (NVP) Recruitment Code, which contains the basic rules that (in the NVP’s opinion) should be observed by recruiting companies and job applicants during recruitment and selection process. These rules also relate to the wording of recruitment campaigns and psychological and medical assessments, among other things.

(b) Medical history?

The rules on this are governed by the Medical Examinations Act. The employer can ask the potential employee for a medical record. However, this is allowed only under certain conditions. The nature, content and scope of the examination must be limited to the purpose for which it is performed. 

(c) Drug screening?

This is possible only for very specific positions (eg, a position with the police).

(d) Credit checks?

This is possible only for very specific positions (eg, a high-level financial position).

(e) Immigration status?

If the potential employee is an immigrant, he or she must submit his or her relevant immigration information (eg, a residence and work permit).

(f) Social media?

This is not regulated as such, although it is advisable to use social media in moderation in terms of background checks, given the limited value of social media postings. 

(g) Other?


Wages and working time


Is there a national minimum wage and, if so, what is it?

The statutory minimum wage is reviewed twice a year, on January 1 and July 1. The current gross minimum wage rate for full-time workers aged 23 and above is €1,537.20 a month (the equivalent of €354.75 a week and €70.95 a day, based on an eight-hour working day).

Are there restrictions on working hours?

Working hours are codified in the Working Hours Act. Weekly working time (including overtime) may not exceed 48 hours on average over a 16-week reference period and 55 hours on average over a four-week reference period. Different arrangements are possible by collective agreement (or an agreement with the company works council, if no collective agreement applies), but are subject to absolute limits of 60 hours a week and 12 hours a day. There are specific restrictions on night shifts as well.

Hours and overtime

What are the requirements for meal and rest breaks?

An employee can work only up to five-and-a-half hours before he or she is entitled to a break of at least 30 minutes (it can also be split into two breaks of 15 minutes). An employee who works more than 10 hours is entitled to a 45-minute break. As with the working hours, there is a possibility to make different arrangements in a collective agreement. 

How should overtime be calculated?

There is no specific Dutch act on overtime. The rules on overtime are mostly included in collective or individual agreements.

What exemptions are there from overtime?


Is there a minimum paid holiday entitlement?

All employees have a statutory paid annual leave entitlement of four times their weekly working days or hours (eg, 20 days for a five-day week). Many collective agreements provide for five weeks or more of annual leave.

What are the rules applicable to final pay and deductions from wages?

Employers must deduct from employees’ wages statutory wage tax, national insurance and employee insurance contributions, along with deductions requested by the employee (eg, contributions to occupational pension schemes).

Stricter conditions will apply to the range of permitted deductions when the second part of the Artificial Constructions Act comes into force on January 1 2017. For example, deductions from the statutory minimum wage will be subject to a maximum amount or percentage and it is expected that deductions for housing costs will be possible only in respect of communal apartments or certified private landlords.

Record keeping

What payroll and payment records must be maintained?

The employer must provide the employee with a payslip for every payment made to him or her, including tax-exempt reimbursements. Further, the employer must give an annual statement at the end of each year which states the total wage the employee has earned, as well as the total amount of social security and tax that the employer has withheld.

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