Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage is regulated in Netherlands through separate legislation set by the Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment, the Minimum Wages and Minimum Holiday Allowances Act (Wet minimumloon en minimumvakantiebijslag), while the wages of young workers are governed by the Decree concerning Minimum Wages for Youth Workers of 29 June 1983 (Besluit Minimumjeugdloonregeling), as amended up to 1 July 2019. Hence, there is more than one minimum wage.

Worker and Employer are free to determine wages in an employment contract however provisions of Minimum Wages and Minimum Holiday Allowances Act must be taken into account. Workers cannot be paid less than the statutory minimum wage specified for a particular age group. Nearly 80% of the workers are covered under sectoral or enterprise level agreements and are entitled to pay scales provided in these agreements. Legislation provides for different pay scales for workers aged 21 and over and for young workers (aged 15-20). Youth workers between 15 and 20 years old receive a % of the adult minimum wage rate, which is fixed as follows: Workers of 20 years old are entitled to 80%; Workers of 19 years old are entitled to 60%; Workers of 18 years old are entitled to 50%; Workers of 17 years old are entitled to 39,5%; Workers of 16 years old are entitled to 34,5%; Workers of 15 years old are entitled to 30%.

The amount of minimum wage is adjusted every 6 months (on 1 January & 1 July) based on the average development of negotiated wages in the country. Other than level of negotiated wages, social security benefits, economic development and level of employment is considered while fixing the minimum wage. For an overview of the current minimum wage, the Minimum Wage Check can be consulted. Both WageIndicator and the government show gross rates. Wages are calculated on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. The Statutory Minimum Wage includes everything, except for the statutory 8% holiday allowance. 

The above mentioned wage rates apply to the full time workers. The full time work week ranges between 36-40 hours, depending on the sector in which a worker is employed and is usually determined in a sectoral collective agreement. If a worker suspects that they are being paid under the minimum wage, their trade union can help. Sanctions and fines are sometimes being applies, where the amount depends on how much the paid wage differs from the legal minimum wage and holiday allowance.

In the Netherlands there is no ‘official’ definition for the national poverty line. However, the CBS bases the poverty line on the low-income barrier. The minimum wage is 100% of the social assistance norm for a family per month. For a single parent this is 70% of the minimum wage. For a single person this is 50% of the minimum wage.

Sources: Minimum Wages and Minimum Holiday Allowances Act of 27 November 1968; Decree concerning Minimum Wages for Young Workers of 29 June 1983; Decree on the Adjustment of Minimum Wage from 1 Juli 2019

Regular Pay

The term wage means the cash income from employment except premium for overtime, holiday allowance, profit distribution, benefits on special occasions, etc. (section 6(3) of the Minimum Wage Act)

Wages may consist of the following elements: money (cash); goods for personal use (except liquor and drugs/harmful substance) if it is desirable in view of the nature of the enterprise of employer; accommodation/housing including lighting and heating; services and supplies, activities provided by the employer including education, board and lodging; and shares, claims, stocks, vouchers and receivables

The only condition regarding in-kind payments is that the employer cannot assign a higher than the real market value to goods for personal use, accommodation and board & lodging services.

An employee must be paid his/her wages at the pre-determined/agreed time on daily, weekly, four-weekly or monthly basis. The maximum wage payment period is one month. Payment may be made in cash or to a bank account and should be in the Dutch legal tender, unless agreed otherwise. Wages may be paid at the workplace, at the employer's office or at the employee's home. As part of the present Minimum Wage Act the employer is required to pay at least the amount of minimum wage to the worker’s bank account. 

Wages must be paid a week after the wage period but not later than a month. The period can be extended on the basis of a written agreement however the extended period cannot be longer than one month in case the weekly wage (or even less than a week) and three months in case of monthly wage. If wages are delayed from the agreed periods and non-payment is attributable to the employer, employee is entitled to certain increase in wages.

On the occasion of wage payment, an employer must also provide a written or electronic itemised pay slip indicating the amount of wages, their composition, deductions, working hours and amount of statutory wage that person of the worker's age is entitled to.

A contractual provision which gives an employer the right to withhold worker's wages on the pay day is null and void unless the workers has given a written consent allowing certain deductions to make payments such as contributions to occupational pension schemes, repayment of wages paid in advance or overpaid wages, rent for accommodation linked to the job, and compensation or penalties in certain limited circumstances.

It is not allowed for employers to appropriate any tips, received by their workers, towards themselves. Likewise, no agreement of this kind can be included in a worker's contract. It is moreover forbidden to subtract the total amount of tips from the wage a worker has earned. However, the employer is allowed to introduce a tip jar, to allocate the received tips evenly under all of the workers.

sources: §616-633 of Book 7, Title 10 (Employment Contracts) of Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek), Minimum Wage Act (Article 7, §2, Stb. 2015, 233)

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Boek 7, Titel 10: Arbeidsovereenkomsten van het Burgerlijk Wetboek / Book 7, Title 10 (Employment Contracts) of Dutch Civil Code
  • Wet minimumloon en minimumvakantiebijslag van 27 november 1968 / Minimum Wages and Minimum Holiday Allowances Act of 27 November 1968
  • Besluit minimumjeugdloonregeling van 29 juni 1983 / Decree concerning Minimum Wages for Young Workers of 29 June 1983
  • Regeling van de Minister van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid van 13 mei 2014, 2014-0000059768, tot aanpassing van het wettelijk minimumloon per 1 juli 2017 / Decree on the Adjustment of Minimum Wage from 13 May 2014 (Regeling van de Minister van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid van 13 mei 2014, 2014-0000059768, tot aanpassing van het wettelijk minimumloon per 1 juli 2017)

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