Leave Policy in the Netherlands

Leave Policy in the Netherlands

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The Dutch government has some of the best procedures to help employees maintain a strong work and life balance. Leave policy in the Netherlands includes strict regulations that outline the details of various types of leaves. They include maternity and paternity leaves, sick leave, carer’s leave, and any other leaves for extraordinary events. As an employer in the Netherlands, it would be wise to comprehend the rights entitled to employees that protect their health and the health of their families.

Annual leave in the Netherlands

Employees in the Netherlands are entitled to a minimum of 20 days of annual leave, with most employees entitled to 25 days. Under the leave policy in the Netherlands, these statutory vacation days are in addition to public holidays. The days can be taken together or split into installments. Employees should let their employer know the days they would go on leave ahead of time. The employer can reject the request for vacation if there are compelling reasons for doing so.

Statutory annual leave typically expires six months into the following year. Employees may also accrue holiday entitlements on top of the minimum statutory annual leave. These non-statutory holidays (bovenwettelijke vakantiedagen) usually expire in five years.

During their annual leave, employees are entitled to their regular wages. In addition, employers typically also pay employees a holiday allowance that’s 8% of the employee’s annual gross salary. Employers may not replace the minimum statutory leave for that year with payment unless the contract is ending. However, employers may make payments in place of granting non-statutory holidays or any other holidays accrued from previous years.

When paying your international team in the Netherlands, it’s essential to understand and abide by all local labor laws to ensure you don’t end up in situations of noncompliance. Partner with an employer of record (EOR) like Skuad to easily manage your local compliance today.

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Public holidays in the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, there are seven public holidays each year. Employers are not obligated to give their employees leave on public holidays. However, these holidays are typically written in collective agreements or employment contracts. Sometimes, employees may substitute a Christian holiday with an alternative religious holiday.

2023 calendar of public holidays in the Netherlands

Date Week Day Holiday
January 1 Sunday New Year’s Day
April 7 Friday Good Friday
April 9 Sunday Easter Sunday
April 10 Monday Easter Monday
April 27 Thursday King’s Birthday
May 5 Friday Liberation Day*
May 18 Thursday Ascension Day
May 28 Sunday Whit Sunday
May 29 Monday Whit Monday
December 25 Monday Christmas Day
December 26 Tuesday Second Day of Christmas

*public sector holiday

Sick leave in the Netherlands

Employees are entitled to two years of paid sick leave. Employers must pay employees at least 70% of their regular wages during this time. If 70% of the employee’s regular salary is less than the minimum wage for the first year, the employer must supplement it to equal the minimum wage. Employers do not need to do that for the second year. In cases where employees are sick due to pregnancy or organ donation, employers must pay the employee 100% of their regular wages.

Employers do not have to continue paying their employee whose contract ends while they’re sick. The employee may apply for sickness benefits (Ziektewetuitkering) then. If an employee is entitled to an old age pension, the employer must pay them 70% of their normal wages for the first 13 weeks.

Employers may not dismiss employees for taking sick leave. When the employee returns to work, employers must try to find them a similar position to their last role in the company or somewhere else.

Employers must also make efforts to help their employees return to work. Employees must cooperate with their employer to go back to work. After an employee has been on sick leave for two years, employers may discontinue payment or dismiss the employee for insufficient cooperation.

Employees who no longer receive paid sick leave may apply for invalidity benefit under the Work and Income Act.

Work-related injury in the Netherlands

Days that must be taken off for work-related injuries are considered the same as regular sick leave. Injured employees receive at least 70% of their income from their employer or the Employee Insurance Agency for the first two years while they’re injured. If the payment is less than the minimum wage, then the payment will be supplemented based on the Supplementary Benefits Act to reach the minimum wage.

Maternity leave in the Netherlands

All female employees are entitled to 16 weeks of paid time off for maternity leave. In the case of multiple births, employees are entitled to 20 weeks. Employees may start their maternity leave as early as six weeks before the due date and no later than four weeks before the due date. In the case of multiple births, employees may start maternity leave ten weeks before and no later than eight weeks before the due date.

Employees should apply for their maternity leave at least three weeks before the start of their leave. The employee must provide the employer with an official certificate of the baby’s due date. Employers may not refuse an employee’s request for maternity leave. Employees will continue to receive their regular wages while on maternity leave.

Employers must refuse an employee from working within 28 days before the due date. Employers may not ask employees on maternity leave to return to work until 42 days after childbirth. Employees returning to work after taking maternity leave are entitled to their former position. Employers may not dismiss employees for being pregnant or for taking maternity leave.

Paternity leave in the Netherlands

Employees are entitled to two days of paid paternity leave for newborn children. In addition, the father is entitled to three days of unpaid leave in the first four weeks after childbirth. Employees should let their employers know their intention to take paternity leave as soon as possible, preferably two months in advance.

Parental leave in the Netherlands

Employees are entitled to parental leave for a child under eight years old. The amount of time they have off for each child is 26 times the number of hours they work per week. For example, employees who work 40 hours a week will receive 1,040 hours (26 x 40 hours) of paid time off for parental leave.

The Employee Insurance Agency pays the employee on parental leave 70% of their regular wages for the first nine weeks. Employers are not legally required to pay employees on parental leave unless agreed upon in the collective labor agreement or employment contract.

Labor laws in the Netherlands regarding parental leave can be complicated. Whether the employer is responsible for paying their employees in certain situations and how much they should pay differs on a case-by-case basis. Skuad’s team of experts will help you manage HR compliance and keep you informed on any changes in labor laws so you can focus on growing your business.

Adoption leave in the Netherlands

The leave policy in the Netherlands allows employees to take six weeks of paid leave when they adopt one or more children. They may take adoption leave up to four weeks before the official adoption date. Employees are responsible for presenting the official document stating when the child will be placed with them to the employer. Employees should make the request at least three weeks in advance. Employers may not dismiss employees for taking adoption leave.

Employees taking in a foster child are also entitled to the same benefits as those given in adoption leave.

Carer’s leave in the Netherlands

Employees are entitled to carer's leave to provide essential care for family members, relatives, or close friends. The employee must be the only person capable of caring for the sick person at that moment. Employees may take short-term care leave to look after their partner, children or grandchildren, parents or grandparents, and other household members. Additionally, the employee may qualify for short-term care leave if they are the logical caregiver for a friend, neighbor, or acquaintance.

During the short-term care leave, employers pay the employee 70% of their regular salary. If that amount is less than the minimum wage, employers must increase the amount to match the minimum wage.

Employees may request to take long-term care leave if they need to provide care for a more extended period of time. Usually, this means that the sick person is seriously ill. Employees must request long-term care leave two weeks in advance. Employers do not have to pay the employee’s salary during this period.

Emergency leave in the Netherlands

Employees are entitled to a short period of time off to tend to emergencies, such as the death of an immediate family member or second-degree relatives. During emergency leave, employees receive their full pay. Employees must try to inform their employer of their desire to take emergency leave as soon as possible.

Special leave event in the Netherlands

Under the leave policy in the Netherlands, employees may take special leave for extraordinary events such as marriage, funerals, moving houses, or exams. Special leave is not based on any law. Instead, the details of the arrangements are written in collective labor agreements, company benefits, or employment contractors.

Unpaid leave in the Netherlands

Employees may take unpaid leave agreed upon by both the employee and employer. Unpaid leave may be full-time or part-time. The two parties may establish a collective labor agreement to stipulate arrangements for the leave.

Easily navigate leave policy in the Netherlands

When developing a leave policy in the Netherlands, keep in mind that employees are typically entitled to holiday leave on top of the statutory minimum annual leave. It’s essential to know what’s common in practice so that you can provide your employees and contractors with paid leave that’s both compliant with local laws and competitive.

Want to expand your business and grow your global teams? Skuad's EOR platform makes it easy for you to manage and pay remote employees in over 160 countries. With a partner like Skuad, rest assured that you’ll always be legally compliant, whether you’re drafting up contracts or managing payroll for your full-time employees or contractors.

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