Netherlands flag Netherlands: Operating a Business in the Netherlands

Work conditions in the Netherlands

The Active Population in Figures

Labour Force 9,228,6649,374,0129,387,604

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Total activity rate 79.79%80.31%80.94%
Men activity rate 84.24%84.78%85.18%
Women activity rate 75.24%75.75%76.61%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labour Force) 2015
Human health and social work activities 15.5%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 14.8%
Manufacturing 9.4%
Professional, scientific and technical activities 7.0%
Education 6.7%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 5.8%
Administrative and support service activities 5.2%
Construction 4.8%
Transportation and storage 4.3%
Accommodation and food service activities 4.2%
Financial and insurance activities 3.2%
Information and communication 3.1%
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 2.1%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 2.0%
Real estate activities 0.8%
Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation activities 0.4%
Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply 0.3%
Mining and quarrying 0.2%

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Working Conditions

Legal Weekly Duration
Depends on the industry, but usually no more than 9.5 hours per day
Retirement Age
65 years
Working Contracts
Regulated by legal clauses and to a lesser degree by collective agreements and individual negotiations. The terms of employment contracts cannot be changed, the conditions for hiring and the grounds for dismissal are rather rigid.
Labour Laws
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the labour regulations that apply to local entreprises.

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Cost of Labour

Minimum Wage
Gross minimum wage as of 1 January 2020 : EUR 1.653,60 per month (source:, latest available data).
Average Wage
According to the Dutch Central Plan Bureau (CPB), the median gross salary for 2020 in the Netherlands is €36,500.
Social Contributions
Social Security Contributions Paid By Employers:

The Dutch social security system consists of the National Insurance, the Employee Insurance. In total, the employer's share of national insurance contributions amounts approximately 18.19 or 23.19% of employee's gross wages. The schemes are the following:

  • Unemployment Insurance Act: 2.94% or 7.94% (depending on the duration of the contract)
  • Disability Act: 8.55% the maximum will be EUR 4,893.24.
  • Health Insurance Act: 6.7% maximum EUR 3,834.54.

Social Security Contributions Paid By Employees:

The Dutch social security system consists of the National Insurance, the Employee Insurance. In total, the employee's share of insurance contributions amounts approximately 27.65% of employee's gross wages. The schemes are the following:

  • National Survivor Benefits Act: 0.1 percent, maximum EUR 34.71
  • General Old Age Pensions Act: 17.9 percent, maximum EUR 6,213.45
  • Long-term Care Act: 9.65 percent, maximum EUR 3,349.71
  • General Child Benefit Act

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Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
The main trade unions are the FNV (Dutch trade union center) and the CNV (Christian trade union center).
De Unie
List of all Dutch trade unions
Unionisation Rate
Labour Regulation Bodies
Ministry for Social Affairs & Employment
Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW)

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Latest Update: June 2022

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