Work and Wages

This page was last updated on: 2022-08-16

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. 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%. 

For young employees who work on the basis of an employment contract in connection with a vocational training pathway (bbl), alternative levels, partly laid down in the decree Minimum Wages for Young Workers, apply. The normal minimum youth wage applies for the age of 15 to 17 years. Lower tiers apply to students in the BBL between 18 and 20 years old because there were too few apprenticeships.

The amount of minimum wage is adjusted every 6 months (on 1 January and 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. On top of the Statutory Minimum Wage, the statutory 8% holiday allowance is added.  

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, they can alert the 'Inspectie SZW' (Social Affairs and Employment Inspection. Their trade union can help as well, for example to receive the missing payments. The 'Inspectie SZW' (Social Affairs and Employment Inspection) checks whether employers pay the minimum wage and whether employers pay out the holiday allowance of 8% of the gross wage, which is required by law. If they do not adhere to the minimum wage legislation, a fine can be imposed, varying from € 500 to € 10.000, depending on the length of the employment and the degree of underpayment. When an employer also refuses to pay out their employees holiday allowances, a fine can be imposed varying from € 250 to € 2.000.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.

Nearly 80% of the workers are covered under sectoral or enterprise level agreements and are entitled to pay scales provided in these agreements. 

Non-Standard Workers' Rights on Minimum Wage - Platform Workers

The Statutory Minimum Wage only applies to employees. Not for self-employed people, self-employed workers or freelancers. Platform workers with an oral or written employment contract can claim the minimum wage, even if they have a zero-hour contract.  A few platforms offer their workers employment contracts, sometimes through an employment- or payroll agency. In that case, the minimum wage does apply to these workers.

For platforms which offers their workers an employment contract but do not adhere to the minimum wage legislation, a fine can be imposed on the platform. However, if people are working as an independent contractor, these platforms cannot be fined for underpayment or refusing to pay out holiday allowance.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 July 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. This has been decided upon by the Supreme Court in 2001, in a court case initiated by a trade union.


Non-Standard Workers' Rights on Regular Pay  - Platform Workers

Payment varies by platform. One platform pays an hourly wage, the other offers a specific amount per delivery or job. None of the 11 platforms featured by Loonwijzer ask workers to pay service costs. It often happens that the worker himself has to arrange the necessary equipment or means of transport for the work to be performed. According to the law, a platform that mediates may not ask commission from the workers, only from the clients. (art. 3 paragraph 1 Waadi).

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), Act Allocatie Arbeidskrachten door intermediairs (Waadi) May 14th 1998

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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