Types of employee leave in the Netherlands

employee enjoying his annual leave at home

The Dutch work culture offers freedoms and benefits to employees, ensuring a healthy work-life balance. This is only one of the many reasons qualified workers decide to move to the Netherlands to reap the benefits of these flexibilities. As a business looking to expand, this may seem complex, so we’ll outline the different leaves you should (and have to) offer your employees below.

Holiday days

20 days of holiday leave. That is the short of it.

Dutch labour law states that an employee is entitled to a minimum of 4 times their weekly working days in paid time off.

In reality, the standard amount of days for a full-time position is closer to 25-30 days. That is if employers want to be competitive with the benefits they offer their employees or future starters.

Sick leave

If someone falls ill, the last thing they should worry about is their job security. Creating a job contract following Dutch labour law entitles an employee to 2 years of paid sick leave. During this time the employee receives 70% of their last earned salary.

Once your employee is back to full health, it is an employer’s responsibility to reintegrate them back into the workplace.

Let's turn your HR challenges into opportunities! 🚀

Whether you want to set up your first people processes, or need to address immediate HR concerns; we offer a comprehensive HR consultancy service to solve your business’s unique obstacles.

ADV/ATV days

ADV days are not obligatory unless stated as such in an industry collective labour agreement. Otherwise, ADV hours/ATV days are optional and can be implemented at the employer’s discretion.

With ADV hours the employee generally works more hours every week than what is stated in their contract.

For example, if a full-time contract states an official 38-hour working week, but an employee works 40 hours per week, the employee will receive a salary based on 38 hours per week and accrue 2 ADV hours per week. These hours can then be used as paid leave hours at another moment. How, and when this leave can be taken is agreed upon with the employer.

Maternity leave, paternity leave and parental leave

The Dutch government prioritizes ensuring expectant mothers get sufficient rest before birth. As such, maternity leave is split into two segments:

  1. Pregnancy leave: This leave must start between 6 and 4 weeks before the due date (for twins, it starts 10 to 8 weeks prior).
  2. Birth leave: Covers the remaining 10 to 12 weeks following the birthday.

We broke down paternity, parental, adoption and foster care leave in its dedicated blog for you to learn.

Let's talk about how we can help you achieve your hiring goals! 🎯

Are you looking to scale up your team with permanent or temporary employees?

Emergency leave

Employees are also entitled to emergency leave for urgent, unexpected personal situations. This leave can last from a few hours to a few days, with the employer continuing to pay the salary.

Public holiday days

The Netherlands has 9 public holidays per year, with one holiday occurring once every 5 years (Liberation Day on the 5th of May 2025). Contrary to popular belief, the Dutch labour law does not state that an employee must be given time off during a public holiday. However, the Collective Labour Agreement and most work contracts state you have time off, with obvious expectations such as medical staff, etc.


Are you looking to expand your business to the Netherlands, or improve short/long-term HR challenges?

Related blog articles