What benefits and allowances companies in the Netherlands should offer


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 that find themselves struggling to attract top-tier candidates 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 explore the statutory benefits that are legally required, the standard benefits that most companies offer in the Netherlands, and provide some ideas for additional, optional benefits that can help attract and retain top talent.

Statutory benefits and allowances – mandatory for all employees

There are several benefits and allowances all companies must provide. 

Minimum wage

As of July 1, 2024, the minimum wage is €13.68 gross per hour for employees aged 21 and older. There is no longer a fixed monthly, weekly, or daily wage.

Employees in the Netherlands are entitled to a minimum of 4 times the number of hours they work per week as paid holiday leave. If working full-time (40 hours per week), an employee is entitled to 160 hours of paid leave per year (equivalent to 20 working days). 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.

Holiday allowance

Referred to as vakantiegeld in Dutch, this is a mandatory additional payment, usually paid in May or June (unless otherwise stated in the industry/company CLA), equivalent to at least 8% of the employee’s annual gross salary.

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.

One area where the Netherlands differs is in its approach to extended periods of sickness. If an employee experiences a prolonged illness, they will generally be entitled to receive at least 70% of their income for a period of 2 years, and this process will be monitored by a company doctor (bedrijfsarts).

Woman enjoying her maternity leave in the NetheralndsParental leave 

There are various categories when it comes to parental leave in the Netherlands: maternity leave, paternity leave, general parental leave, adoption/foster care leave. 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).

Training/study costs

As of August 1, 2022, Dutch employers are required to cover the costs of mandatory training or study for their employees if the training or qualification is deemed necessary for the role.

Supplementary employee benefits – additional benefits that most companies offer


A large percentage of companies in the Netherlands (around 70%) are obliged to offer a pension plan to employees due to industry-wide pension fund agreements or stipulations in their Collective Labor Agreement (CLA). However, it is not a legal requirement for all companies in the Netherlands to offer a pension plan. The remaining percentage of employers can choose whether or not to offer a pension plan.

Travel allowance

While not mandatory, many companies in the Netherlands pay a commuting allowance to staff who live more than 10 km from their work. Some companies have a maximum travel allowance, and some pay under 10 km. The commuting allowance paid can be based on the distance between work and home or on the actual costs of public transport. As of 2024, the tax-free travel allowance (reiskostenvergoeding) employees can claim is €0.23 per kilometer.

Hybrid working

Hybrid work models have not yet been fully integrated into the legal framework of the Netherlands’ employment market. That being said, 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. While a working-from-home allowance can be offered, it is not mandatory unless stipulated in a company or industry CLA.

Home office budget

For those who choose to work from home, a home office budget is a valuable perk that can attract great candidates. While not necessarily a dealbreaker, it’s a key component of an all-round enticing package. A typical budget of €200-€500 per person can be used for tech upgrades, a comfortable desk chair, or other gadgets that enhance productivity.

Working remotely from abroad

Offering employees the opportunity to work remotely from abroad for a few weeks is becoming increasingly popular among companies looking to attract and retain top talent. While extended periods of remote work from abroad may not be feasible due to tax and social security complexities, many organisations now allow employees to work 2-3 weeks from another country. This benefit can be used consecutively or spread throughout the year.

As an employer, it’s essential to proactively establish clear policies addressing tax implications, labour laws, and practical considerations. This ensures a smooth and compliant experience for both your company and employees who choose to work remotely from abroad for a designated period.

Contribution towards private health insurance costs

Many employers in the Netherlands choose to pay a voluntary monthly contribution to help their employees cover private insurance costs. While not a legal requirement, this contribution may be mandatory if stipulated in the company’s Collective Labor Agreement (CLA) or an industry-wide agreement.

Additional holiday leave – 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, consider giving employees the option to purchase more holiday.


Team trips

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.

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.

Optional benefits

Other benefits and allowances could be:

  • Free or subsidised lunch
  • Monthly or yearly bonuses, 13th Month salary
  • Flexible working
  • Access or discount to a gym
  • Mental health support
  • Individual training & development budget
  • Above-average pension contributions
  • A company car
  • Free or subsidised travel
  • Mentorship schemes
  • Stock options
  • Bicycle plan
  • Bring your own device plan
  • Discount on company products/services
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