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Legally regulated terms of employment and social security for part-time workers in the Netherlands

Legally regulated terms of employment and social security for part-time work in the Netherlands

This article contains a short overview of the legally regulated terms of employment and social security for part-time work in the Netherlands. From this overview it can be derived that the legal position of the part-time worker is similar to that of a full-time employee. 


Persons who do the same kind of work should receive the same (gross) hourly wage regardless of working time. As from January 1 1993 all employees are entitled to a (proportional) salary based on the legal minimum wage regardless of working time. 


A part-time worker is entitled to the same number of days off as full-time workers, in proportion to the hours he or she works. For example, if somebody working full-time gets 20 full free days a year, somebody working half-time gets 20 half free days a year (i.e. 10 full free days). According to the Civil Code the minimum holiday entitlement is four times the average working hours per week, which amounts to 20 days for a full-timer; collective agreements generally grant approximately 25 days a year. 25 days is also the "standard". 

Probationary period 

The maximum is two months for permanent contracts and possibly shorter for fixed-term contracts, but this is regardless of working time. 

Dismissal law 

This is exactly the same for all workers regardless of working time. 

Special leave 

In principle a part-time worker is entitled to special leave in the same cases as full-time workers. Divergence from this principle could be justified if the activities could also be planned in the free time of the part-time worker. If a bank holiday falls in the time that a part-time worker is not 
working, he/she can not claim a free day at some other time. 

Parental leave 

On the basis of the Parental Leave Act persons employed by the same employer for a year or more are entitled to unpaid part-time leave. As a consequence of the 2001 Work and Care Framework Act employees working 20 hours or less are no longer excluded from this possibility 
(employees, part-time workers included, may reduce their weekly working hours up to 50 percent). 


There is no law on working overtime. Most collective agreements contain clauses regarding overtime and overtime pay. In accordance with European jurisprudence, it is not considered unequal treatment if on the basis of these clauses overtime pay is only granted if full-time 
working hours are exceeded. Nevertheless, social partners may have good reasons to grant overtime pay as soon as work is being done above the contractually agreed working hours (whether full-time or part-time). 


Under the General Old Age Pensions Act (Algemene Ouderdomswet - AOW) every person is provided with a monthly pension. On top of that, employees can, as a rule, build up additional pension within the company. There are about a thousand private pension schemes. In the first tier 
of the Dutch pension system entitlements were individualised, unrelated to earnings (covering about 40 percent of average wages) and based on citizenship, which is the system in which part-timers fare best. Hours limits for entry in occupational pension funds guaranteeing earnings-related pensions - the second tier - have been outlawed under the 1990 Pensions and Savings Act. If a wage limit is applied in pension schemes, wages of a part-time employee have to be converted to full-time level. A part-time employee acquires pension rights in proportion to the 
number of his/her working hours. The ‘white spots’, without coverage, are seasonal workers, young people and people working flexible hours 
in low pay occupations. 

Unemployment (Unemployment Insurance Act) 

Part-time employees receive unemployment benefit for the same period of time and under the same conditions as a full-time employee based on 70 percent of their last-earned gross salary. 

Sickness (Article 629 Civil Code) 

Both part-time and full-time employees (either having a permanent or fixed-term contract) receive at least 70 percent of their gross salary in case of illness (but not less than the minimum wage, calculated proportionally for part-timers) paid by the employer for a period of one year. 

Disability (Invalidity Insurance Act) 

Part-time employees receive disability benefits for the same duration of time and under the same conditions as a full-time employee based on 70 percent of their last-earned income (if fully incapacitated) and depending on the age at which the said employee starts receiving this benefit.

Contributions for social security 

The contributions paid for social-security insurance are usually calculated on the basis of a fixed percentage of pay or income. Working time does not play a role. 

Health insurance (ZVW)

All employees are insured under the terms of the Health Insurance Act. There is no difference in the conditions that apply to part-time and full-time employees.

Working conditions 

Employers are legally obliged to apply the same safety regulations and measures at work for both part-time and full-time workers. 

Working hours 

The Working Hours Act (Arbeidstijdenwet) which came into force on 1 January 1996, includes an article regarding the obligation on the part of the employer to take into account the care duties of his/her employees. This means that the employer has to take into consideration the wishes 
regarding working hours and patterns of the individual employees in his/her work-planning within reasonable limits. The importance of this Act has diminished since the WAA came into force in 2000. The WAA makes it possible for the employee to reduce the working hours. 


There are no specific or special measures in the tax system to encourage (or discourage) part time work. 

As the tax system is based on progressive taxation for higher incomes, the net income losses in the case of part-time jobs are smaller than the gross reduction of income. The 1990 tax reform already reduced the basic tax allowance for breadwinners and integrated social security charges, thus lowering disincentives for second earners to take up more hours. The 2001 tax reform removed the remaining shared taxation components.

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