In principle, employer and employee are free to agree to the wages to which an employee shall be entitled. However, the Act on Minimum Wages and Minimum Holiday Allowances contains certain minimum wages and minimum holiday allowances, which are normally adjusted each year. A collective labour agreement, if applicable, may also contain salary scales that are binding on individual employees.
Maximum Working Week
In general, an employee is only allowed to work a maximum of 12 hours per day, for a maximum of 60 hours per week. Over a period of 4 weeks the maximum number of working hours is 55 per week. Over a period of 16 weeks the maximum number of working hours is 48 hours per week.
There is no specific Dutch legislation on compensation for working overtime. Whether overtime will have to be compensated, should follow from what was agreed in the employment contract, employee handbook or – if applicable – Collective Labour Agreement. If neither of those state that overtime will be compensated, it is still possible that the employer is obliged to do so. It can be ruled that an employee should be compensated for working overtime by the employer, because this is what may be expected from a “good employer” in the same circumstances.
Employer’s Obligation to Provide a Healthy and Safe Workplace
Employers are obliged to make a Risk Inventory and Evaluation, which mentions all the risks in the working environment, and the preventive measures that are taken, or will be taken, to minimise those risks. Employers are also obliged to enter into a service agreement with a certified occupational health and safety service agency.
In principle, employees should first discuss any complaints with their employer. Employers are advised to have a proper complaint procedure in place. In case the company has a works council, employees may also report health and safety related matters to the works council. In addition, employees have the right to address health and safety related matters with the company’s occupational health and safety service agency. Employers have the obligation to inform their employees about that possibility. In the last instance, employees may report violations of health and safety regulations with the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate.