Is your company looking to attract the best and most dedicated talent? If so, it’s time to take a look at your benefits and allowances. Companies who find themselves struggling to attract the type of calibre they want are likely not offering enticing enough benefits. In the Netherlands, candidates are used to a certain standard which is often superior to those in other countries. This is especially important to keep in mind for companies opening a Dutch office for the first time.
In this article, we’ll walk through the standard benefits and allowances, and share our top tips for companies who are looking to supplement their offers with non-financial perks.
The musts: what you legally must provide employees in the Netherlands
There are a number of benefits and allowances all companies must provide, ranging from pensions to sick pay. For more information on these very important criteria, please visit the official government website. In this section, we’ll dive into a few of the most important perks.
Paid time off
Employees in the Netherlands are legally entitled to 20 days of paid time off each year, based on a 40-hour work-week. For employees who work less than this, their paid time off allowance is calculated accordingly. This differs from countries like the United States, where employees are not entitled to any paid time off by law. This is particularly important for companies setting up offices in the Netherlands, so it’s worth working with an expert to ensure you’re following all of the rules correctly.
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As with many other countries, sick leave is a standard part of employee packages in the Netherlands. If the sickness lasts for only a couple of days, the employee does not have to show proof or tell their employer the nature of their sickness, though as an employer, you still have to report their absence to the company doctor. There is one area in which The Netherlands differs from elsewhere: extended periods of sickness. If an employee suffers burnout, for example, they are entitled to 70% of their income for a period of 2 years, and there are special doctors (a ‘bedrijfsarts’, or workplace doctor) who can provide the necessary documentation for this.
There are three different categories when it comes to parental leave in the Netherlands: maternity leave, paternity leave (or leave concerning the partner), and general parental leave. One is fully paid, one is paid at 70% of usual salary, and one is unpaid. The parental leave depends on your employee and their personal preferences: in many cases, leave can be used in a flexible manner to suit each individual family. This is because some choose to use all of their leave at once, while others prefer to spread it out over a period of a few months (or years). A maternity allowance is available for businesses to cover maternity leave for their employees, provided by the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (the UWV).
Benefits and allowances in the Netherlands: The nices-to-haves
As hybrid working looks set to become enshrined in Dutch law, this is definitely something the best candidates are looking for in their employers. That being said, employers don’t just want to work from home: instead, they want the best of both worlds by spending part of the week in the office with their colleagues, and the other part of the week working from home. This can work for employers’ benefit, too: if managed correctly, offices can downsize to make space for those who want to work alongside colleagues, without needing to be large enough to hold every single employee at once. It’s worth ensuring your company has the right systems and processes for an ideal hybrid work model in place to allow employees to split their time between work and home in the way that best suits them.
Home office budget
For those who do choose to work from home, a home office budget is a nice-to-have that can entice good candidates. Certainly, this won’t be the make-or-break factor, but it’s a key part of an all-round enticing package. A home office budget should be around €200-€500 per person, and can be spent on tech, a new desk chair, or any other gadgets that employees deem useful to improve their productivity when working from home. For those looking for inspiration when it comes to spending their WFH budget, IKEA’s dedicated webpage should help!
Extra holiday – or the ability to buy more holiday
If your company can’t increase base pay on their compensation packages, the extra holiday is an attractive alternative. It’s proven that employees who take more holiday are actually 40% more productive than their counterparts who don’t, so this move could actually end up benefiting your business without costing you additional money. If you don’t want to provide an extra week or two of holiday—or even move to an open holiday policy, like Netflix and LinkedIn have done—consider giving employees the option to purchase more holiday.
Pets in the office
This one divides opinions, so it’s worth checking with your team before making any decisions. For some, having furry friends running around the office is a dream come true. Naturally, you have to be mindful of those with allergies, or who are uncomfortable around dogs. Consider having a weekly dogs-welcome day, where employees who aren’t keen might choose to work from home.
We know how important company culture is, and many businesses are turning to company trips to entice candidates. An annual trip or a quarterly day out to a theme park or the beach are all options to consider. The most important part? Ensuring it’s something everyone can take part in, and that employees feel excited about. There’s nothing worse than forced fun. Therefore, before you go down this path, conduct research among employees and allow them to co-create the experience with you.
Other benefits and allowances could be:
- Free or subsidised lunch
- Free parking
- Access or discount to a gym
- Mental health support
- Out-of-the-box personal development
- Above-average pension contributions
- A company car
- Free or subsidised travel
- Permission to work remotely from another country
- Mentorship schemes
- Stock options
- Monthly and yearly bonuses, 13th Month
- Discounted health insurance
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