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June 1, 2023

20 Popular Employee Benefits in the Netherlands [2024 Guide]

The Netherlands offers statutory, supplementary, and fringe employee benefits. Learn about each benefit and how to manage them as an employer.

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

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The Netherlands has an excellent work-life balance — thanks to the many employee benefits offered in the country.

What are these benefits?

Employee benefits in the Netherlands fall under three categories:

  • Mandatory (or statutory) benefits: Minimum wage, health insurance, etc.

  • Supplementary benefits: 13-month salary, child support, etc.

  • Common perks: Flexible leave, gym memberships, etc.

Let’s explore these in detail.

Further Reading

Who’s Eligible for Employee Benefits in the Netherlands?

As per Dutch labour and employment laws, everyone with an employment contract in the Netherlands is entitled to statutory benefits.

But these benefits can vary based on the employment contract, salary, and workweek.

Plus, as an employer, you can also provide extra benefits to employees to make the job package more enticing. 

Further Reading

10 Mandatory Employee Benefits in the Netherlands

Companies in the Netherlands must provide certain statutory benefits, such as:

1. Minimum Wage and Maximum Working Hours

In the Netherlands, the legal minimum wage is updated biannually — in January and July. 

Starting January 1, 2024, the minimum wage in the Netherlands will be based on an hourly rate. This means there will no longer be a fixed monthly, weekly, or daily wage.

The minimum hourly wage for a full-time employee over 21 years of age (as of January 2024) is €13.27.

The maximum number of working hours is 60 hours a week with a limit of 12 hours in a shift. 

But there’s a catch! 

60 hours isn’t the default standard. 

Employees may only work a few 60-hour weeks provided they maintain a maximum term-based average of:

  • 55 hours per week over a 4-week period (for example, three 60-hour weeks and one 40-hour week)

  • OR 48 hours per week over a 16-week period

The result?

Most full-time employees in the Netherlands work between 36-40 hours over 4-5 days. This comprises an average work time of 7-8 hours per day in a single shift, which doesn’t account for breaks. 

According to the Working Hours Act (Arbeidstijdenwet), employees legally need at least 11 hours off between work days. This can be shortened to 8 hours once in 7 days if required.

2. Notice Period and Termination

A minimum notice period must be given whether an employer lets go of staff (on a permanent contract) or an employee terminates their employment.

As per Dutch law, here are the maximum dismissal notice period terms an employer must give an employee (based on their length of employment):

  • <5 years’ service: 1-month notice

  • 5-10 years’ service: 2 months’ notice

  • 10-15 years’ service: 3 months’ notice

  • >15 years’ service: 4 months’ notice

For an employee, the statutory resignation notice period is 1 month. But if it’s set for over a month, the employer’s dismissal notice period must be twice the amount — up to a maximum of 6 months.

And that’s not all…

Employers must have a valid reason for termination, which the employee must corroborate. 

An employer must record the terms of dismissal in a written statement if it’s mutual. They must also provide a transition payment if the employee has been in the position for at least two years. 

However, employees can take 14 days to revoke their agreement to a dismissal, and they can do so without providing a reason. 

In that case, the termination isn’t mutual, and the employer needs approval from the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) to terminate the employment.

Further Reading

  • Find out the exact days in a week when Illness Benefit is Paid in Ireland and who qualifies to receive the amount. 

  • Moving to Ireland for a lucrative job opportunity? Check out the Average Irish Pension amount that you may get in your later years.

3. Paid Time Off

Employees are entitled to annual holiday leaves that amount to at least 4 times their weekly hours (whether they work a part-time or full-time workweek). 

This could mean 20 working days (excluding public holidays) if employees work 40-hour weeks. 

What about unused paid time off (PTO)?

Employees must use leftover PTO days within the first six months of the new year, or they expire. 

Employers can’t pay out unused PTO days in the Netherlands unless the employment contract expires or the employee is dismissed.

Further Reading

4. Sick Leave

Employees are entitled to sick leave (with no fixed limits), provided they inform employers about their absence before the start of the working day. 

What about long-term sick leave?

An employee who’s sick for an extended period (due to burnout, disability, or illness) is entitled to 70% of their income for 2 years. The amount cannot be lower than the minimum wage.

Employees who call in sick due to pregnancy or organ donation are entitled to 100% of their salary. 

5. Health Insurance (Zorgverzekering)

Basic health insurance, which covers standard care from general practitioners, chemists, and hospitals, is mandatory for all employees.

Per the Health Care Insurance Act (Zvw), employers must contribute a part of the basic insurance amount — at least 6.57% of the employee’s gross yearly wage.  

But that doesn’t have to limit your healthcare contributions!

If you want your employees to be healthy and productive, you can offer them healthcare coverage beyond basic health insurance.

And that’s where Kota can help!  

Kota can help you offer employees basic health insurance mandated by the government and even provide additional healthcare packages to your team.

What's more?

Kota lets you offer employees the best healthcare insurance in the Netherlands without any broker or admin hassle. You can easily manage and scale your benefits — all in one place!

6. Holiday Allowance (Vakantiegeld)

Every employee is entitled to a holiday allowance, giving them extra cash to enjoy holidays.   

The minimum holiday allowance is 8% of an employee’s gross yearly wage (or 8% of their gross wage since the last holiday allowance payment). 

7. Maternity, Paternity, and Parental Leave

All employees are entitled to these benefits:

  • Maternity leave: 6 weeks of paid pregnancy leave (before childbirth) and at least 10 weeks of maternity leave (after childbirth).

  • Paternity leave: Partners of pregnant employees can get 5 days of paid paternity leave in the first 4 weeks after the child's birth. They can later take up to 5 weeks (over the first 6 months post the baby’s birth) of additional paternity leave at 70% of their daily wage.

  • Parental leave: Parents of children under 8 are entitled to 26 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child. However, employers must pay 50% of the daily wage for the first nine weeks if it’s taken in the child’s first year after birth. 

Employers can apply for an allowance from the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, UWV) to cover the daily wage of employees on paid parental, paternity, or maternity leave.

8. Occupational Pension Funds

Individuals in the following occupations groups are entitled to an occupational pension fund:

  • Pharmacists

  • Veterinarians

  • Physiotherapists

  • Medical specialists

  • General practitioners

  • Pilots

  • Rowers (in the Rotterdam Port Area)

  • Midwives

  • Vlettermen (harbor workmen)

9. Social Security Contributions

The Dutch social welfare system ensures all employees get social insurance. 

Employer contributions and a portion withheld from an employee’s salary (treated as income tax or payroll tax) fund social welfare. 

The total social security contributions amount to 27.65% of an employee’s yearly wage. 

These contributions go toward:

  • National Old Age Pension or State Pension (AOW): A national insurance or pension scheme for when you hit retirement age.

  • Long-Term Care or Chronic Care Act (Wlz): A long-term care scheme for mental or physical limitations.

  • National Survivor Benefits Act (Anw): A basic income for surviving dependents or unemployed windowed spouses.

10. Other Employee Insurance

Employees are entitled to certain insurance schemes and benefits based on the country’s legislation, including:

  • Unemployment Insurance Act (WW): Stipulates the entitlement to unemployment benefit.

  • Work and Income Act (WIA): Provides a benefit to disabled employees who cannot work or face a loss of income greater than 35% of their annual salary due to a disability. 

  • Sickness Benefits Act (ZW): Offers a social security sick pay benefit to employees who cannot work and aren’t entitled to a salary.

Employers must pay the premiums for these employee insurance schemes.

6 Supplementary Employee Benefits Dutch Companies Offer

Below are additional benefits you could offer in an employee contract:

  • Travel expenses: Many Dutch companies reimburse travel expenses at an allowance rate of €0.23 (from January 2024) per kilometer. Other travel benefits include a mileage allowance, company car, and car allowance.

  • 13th-month salary: Some sectors offer a 13th-month salary bonus (a year-end bonus set at a month’s gross wage) in their Collective Labour Agreement (CAO).

  • Child support (Kinderbijslag): Several employers offer child benefits to support the cost of childcare services.

  • Work-from-home stipend: Some Dutch companies offer a stipend to help remote employees cover costs for internet, IT equipment (a company phone), etc.  

  • Accident insurance: Many companies offer Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance. It’s a one-time benefit paid for an employee's death or permanent injury from an accident.

  • Additional health insurance: Some companies may cover employee contributions for standard health insurance and even offer plans with more comprehensive benefits. Use Kota and get started right away! 

4 Common Employee Perks in the Netherlands

As an employer, you could offer these fringe benefits to boost employee satisfaction:

  • Overtime pay isn’t common in the Netherlands. Instead, many employers offer a clause for overtime to be taken as leave at a later date (also called time in lieu).

  • Flexible leave to accommodate extra vacation days, care-related leave arrangements, or unpaid leave. 

  • Employer-sponsored training to upskill employees.

  • Gym membership discounts to support employees’ health.

Negotiating Supplementary Employee Benefits and Perks

While employers must provide statutory employee benefits, you can negotiate secondary benefits and perks with employees.

You could:

  • Analyse what your competitors offer.

  • Discuss benefits that compensate for unmet salary expectations. 

  • Be transparent about your offerings’ limit. 

You could also ask for their input on additional benefits you don’t currently offer in the Netherlands.

Bottom line: Discuss expectations for benefits and perks from the get-go. This will give your future employees enough time to review and discuss the benefits you offer, and gives you time to consider whether you can meet their expectations. 

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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