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Foreign companies with branch offices in Netherlands face mandatory employment conditions


Foreign employers in the Netherlands often assign employees to third parties, such as a branch office, for a fixed period of time, based on an existing employment agreement. In this case, parties have different options to formalise an employee's temporary transfer to the Netherlands.

But no matter how the transfer is formalized, the Rome I international convention states that employers must comply with statutory and regulatory obligations of Dutch employment law. Therefore, employers must take the following provisions into account:

  • The statutory minimum wage (EUR 1,615 for employees over 22 years based on a full-time 40 hour work week).
  • The Dutch Working Hours Act, which regulates daily and weekly working hours: no more than 12 hours per shift, 60 hours per week and no more than 48 hours per week during a period of 16 continuous weeks.
  • Safe working conditions to prevent damage and accidents. In the Netherlands, even if there is no employment agreement, a third party can be held liable for an accident and be required to pay damages to an employee.
  • The minimum number of holiday days an employee is entitled to each year: four times the number of working days a week, which means that for full-time employment (40 hours per week), an employee is entitled to 20 holiday days a year (i.e. 4 x 5 working days a week).
  • Equal treatment, which prohibits discrimination within an organisation.

Furthermore, in the event that an employer falls under a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which has been declared binding for a given industry, overriding mandatory provisions (provisions the respect for which is regarded as crucial by a country for safeguarding its public interests) may also apply to any employees within the scope of this CBA.

If an employer violates these employment laws, fines will follow. If a CBA is applicable and the employer violates any provisions for overriding mandatory provisions, claims can be assessed. Hence, it is advisable that employers make sure that all conditions are respected when assigning an employee to the Netherlands.


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