Human Resources and Labour Law in the Netherlands
Qualified and motivated staff is an important, long-term success factor for any company. Foreign companies in the Netherlands encounter workers who are highly qualified, committed and flexible. Although Dutch labour law obliges the employer to comply with certain requirements for the protection of the employee, on the other hand conflicts are dealt with quickly and pragmatically.
The polder model
Dutch workers are rarely unionised and trade unions tend to be cautious compared to other countries. The field of labour law and human resources is characterised by the Dutch polder model: Employers, employees and the state try to find solutions together and by consensus. The polder model dates to the Middle Ages, when nobles, peasants and citizens had to work together, regardless of their rank and background, to secure the polders. Even cities that were in the same polder, but were actually at war with each other, had to agree on this issue. This characterises the Dutch culture of consensus in the field of labour law to this day.
Concrete and mandatory benefits for employees
A peculiarity of Dutch employment contracts is that they often include bonus programmes. The design of these programmes is important because the right formulation can provide tax benefits for both the employer and the employee.
In addition, discriminating against workers and applicants based on factors such as race, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion or religious beliefs, disability, and part or full-time status is prohibited.
In companies with more than 50 employees, the employer must set up a works council. In addition, the employer is required to pay certain premiums, such as social security and pension.
Immigration of foreign workers
In recent years, the Netherlands has created more generous admission procedures for highly skilled workers in multinationals that meet certain criteria. In principle, workers from the European Economic Area (EEA) are not subject to any restrictions on immigration. Workers who are not from the EEA need a work permit and, if they are in the Netherlands for more than 90 days, they need a residence permit (a visa).
Posted workers who work in the Netherlands can be paid a tax-free allowance under the 30 per cent scheme. This provision allows the employee to receive a tax-free refund for 30 per cent of active employment income. This refund serves to cover all extra-territorial costs.
It is generally recommended that employers set up a comprehensive employment contract that is used for each employee and addresses issues such as confidentiality and competitive post-employment activities.
The competent team at Global Connect Admin will gladly advise you comprehensively if you want to hire personnel as part of setting up a business in the Netherlands. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.