Minimum Working Conditions
Promoting health, safety and wellness in the workplace is the responsibility of both the employer and his employees. The employer has to establish a working conditions policy within the company.
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. The Working Hours Decree provides exceptions and additional measures for certain industries (inter alia, the care sector).
There is no specific Dutch legislation on compensation for working overtime. Whether overtime will have to be compensated should follow from what was agreed to in the employment contract, supplemented by the employee handbook or established in a collective labour agreement (if applicable). Even supposing that these prescribed sources are altogether silent on this issue, the Courts in a labour dispute, are likely to decide that the employer should compensate an employee for working overtime, 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
The employer is required to use the services of a working-conditions service, an institution that assists the employer in the overview and evaluation of the risks, assists sick employees, advises the employer on reintegration of sick employees, and more.
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.