Working via a temporary agency is very common, and the stats speak for themselves. In 2019, over 1 million people were engaged in temporary work in the Netherlands.
But how do temporary agency contracts work? How are salaries calculated? What about sick leave?
We will give you all the answers you need below.
Before you get started working in the Netherlands
In this section, we’ll walk you through everything you need before you start your temporary agency work. Remember: the rules might be different from other countries you’ve worked in.
Dutch Residence/work permit
Citizens from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals do not need a residence or work permit to work in the Netherlands. Foreign nationals from outside of the EU, EEA and Switzerland can apply for a residence or work permit through the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND), or apply for an Orientation year visa. If you’re moving to the Netherlands from abroad, you must register with your Gemeente (local town hall) regardless of your nationality.
A BSN number is a unique registration number that everyone who lives in the Netherlands receives. You need this to start working in the Netherlands, to open a bank account, for tax and social premium deductions and to make use of the Dutch health care system. You can get a BSN number by setting up an appointment at the Gemeente.
Dutch Health Insurance
Everyone who lives and works in the Netherlands needs to have private Dutch health insurance. This isn’t difficult to arrange: health insurance companies are obliged to accept anyone who applies for insurance. If you’re a student and have foreign or international health insurance, you may need to take out Dutch health insurance for the hours you work and receive a salary.
Income Tax for temporary work
Before signing your contract, you will need to complete a tax form – Opgaaf gegevens voor de loonheffingen – for the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). By signing this form you agree to pay income tax and social premiums in the Netherlands. These will be deducted from your salary each payment period. Remember to declare any other form of employment in the Netherlands, as the Belastingdienst will need to adjust your tax code.
Temporary work through Adams Multilingual Recruitment
When you ask Adams Multilingual Recruitment to help you find a new job in the Netherlands, our recruitment consultants act as intermediaries in the hiring process between you (our candidate) and the international companies we work with (our clients).
Our clients ask us to find candidates for their most recent vacancies and share information about the job with us. Before introducing you to our clients, we’ll speak to you and look at your CV to see if you’re a good fit for the organisation and the role. We proceed with the most suitable candidates and only put their applications forward to our client.
If you make it through the recruitment process and our client offers you a job, they will generally offer you a position as a temporary worker through Adams. They could also offer you a short-term project or assignment that lasts a few weeks or months. Whatever the exact arrangement, the client determines where you work, what hours are required and what tasks you will do. However, Adams will be your legal employer and pay your salary.
This involves signing a contract of employment with us and this means that we’re responsible for your, taxes, social premiums, etc. As a part of our registration process, you will need to share certain personal information with us and upload a copy of your passport/ID card – and a copy of your Dutch residence permit if applicable. You will also need to complete the income tax form and ABU documentation (more about the ABU in the next section) before the temporary employment contract can be finalised.
Whilst employed via Adams, you will need to complete a weekly timesheet – or every 4 weeks in some cases – stating exactly how many hours you have worked for the company. Your manager can approve the timesheet digitally. Upon doing so, and get this signed off by your manager. Once you have submitted this to us, we will pay your salary and ensure that all taxes and other deductions are made, according to Dutch laws and regulations.
The ABU Collective Labour Agreement and Dutch labour law
Adams is a member of the ABU (Algemene Bond Uitzendbureaus / Federation of Private Employment Agencies). Set up in 1961, the ABU represents temporary agencies and protects the rights of temporary employees in the Netherlands.
The ABU has a CAO (Collective Labour Agreement) in place, which specifies the temporary agency employment conditions that all parties – agency, candidate, and client – must adhere to. We will send you a copy of the ABU CAO before you sign your contract with Adams. We’re audited each year to make sure that we’re compliant.
If you’re not a Dutch national, we will also ask you to read and sign the ABU Fair Employment Code for Labour Migrants and the ABU Fair Recruitment Charter for Labour Migrants before you start working. You can find out more about your rights as a temporary employee working in the Netherlands by taking a look at some of the short videos created by the ABU on our website.
Besides the ABU CAO, we follow all applicable Dutch labour laws and regulations. Contract type, entitlement to pension accrual, and reservations are all governed by the CAO, but other areas such as parental leave and statutory sick pay are subject to Dutch law.
The basics of your temporary contract
The contract explanation meeting
To help you understand the temporary contract you’re signing, we arrange a contract explanation meeting. The meeting either takes place at our office or virtually via Zoom. We’re required by law to check your passport/ID card – and residence or work permit if applicable – before the contract is signed. We will make a copy and keep it on file in our system.
There are three different temporary agency contract types, each depending on the duration of the employment relationship:
Phase A: These contracts last for a maximum of 52 worked weeks and are usually very flexible. The agency only pays you wages for the hours you work, unless stated otherwise.
Phase B: If you continue working for the company within six months after concluding a phase A contract, you enter into a Phase B contract. These contracts can last as long as three years, or a maximum of six fixed-term secondment agreements within the same time frame.
Phase C: If you continue working for the company within six months after concluding a final phase B contract, you enter into a Phase C contract. These contracts last indefinitely and are based on a secondment agreement.
Calculating your salary as a temporary worker
As according to the ABU CAO temporary agency employees have the right to the same remuneration rights as direct colleagues, if they are carrying out the same or similar job within the company. The compensation rights cover:
- The periodic wage that applies to the pay scale
- The applicable reduction of working hours
- Overtime and irregular hour supplements along with supplements for working in (physically) stressful conditions
- Initial wage increases (set by the company)
- Expense allowances, travel and working from home
- Reimbursement of travel hours / travel time if applicable
- One-off payments
- Working from home allowance
- Fixed end of year payment (as of 1 January 2023)
The nature of temporary work means that the hours you work can vary from one week to the next (you may decide to work less or have the possibility to work more). For this reason, we break down your expected monthly salary – excluding the 8.33% holiday allowance which is reserved and paid out in June or upon termination of employment – into an hourly rate.
If you have an expected monthly salary of €2000 gross, based on a 40-hour working week the calculation is a follows:
€2000 gross * 3 (3 months in 1 quarter) / 13 (amount of weeks in 1 quarter) / 40 (expected working hours per week) = €11.54 gross
€11.54 gross (hourly pay rate) x 40 (actual hours worked) = €461.60 gross per week
If you take unpaid leave or sick leave during a week, the amount that you receive for that particular week will be lower than normal.
Holidays and short-term leave
As a temporary employee, you’re entitled to vacation days, public holidays, 8.33% holiday allowance and short-term absence leave. For each hour you work, you build up a reservation according to a pre-set percentage, in line with the ABU CAO.
Holiday entitlement &Holiday Allowance
If you work 40 hours per week, you’re entitled to the equivalent of 25 holiday days per year. The 8.33% Holiday Allowance is generally paid out once a year during the first week of June or earlier/later depending on when your contract comes to terminate. When your assignment ends, you will receive your holiday allowance as a part of your final month’s payment.
Holiday leave and Public Holidays day
When you take a holiday day (Phase A & B contracts) you’re paid out of your accumulated holiday leave reservations. If you have not built-up sufficient reservations, you can take the time off by submitting a written request, but you will not be paid.
If not working due to a public holiday, you can use your accrued public holiday reservations if working on a Phase A contract (if sufficient) to cover you for that day.
If employed on a Phase B contract you continue to receive payment if unable to work due to a public holiday.
If you’re working on a Phase A contract, you build up a reservation for short-term, unexpected leave. You can use this to cover payment if you need to go to the doctor during the workday for example, or if there’s an emergency you need to attend to. If you’re working on a Phase B contract, we pay for short-term leave at a rate of 100%.
Secondary benefits as a temporary worker in the Netherlands
Most companies in the Netherlands pay a commuting allowance to staff who live more than 10 km from their work. The amount could be calculated based on the exact km distance from your home to work and is sometimes capped at a maximum level, or you may be entitled to 100% reimbursement if travelling with public transport. Your commuting allowance will be in line with that of the company you’re working for and you will be informed about the exact criteria before you start working. The allowance is paid with your salary.
Working from home allowance
A lot of companies have changed their approach to working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As staff are no longer commuting to work (as often), many companies have started to offer a working from home allowance. You will be informed about the company policy and any potential allowance before you start working.
Training & development
As your employment agency, we can offer you the possibility (based on available budget) to participate in training & development courses that improve your chances in the employment market.
You automatically start to accrue pension (if aged 21 years or older) once you have completed more than eight weeks of temporary work – this was previously 26 weeks and changed in January 2022. You will first enter into a Basis pension scheme for a maximum of 52 weeks and if you continue to work for us after this period, you will automatically transition to a Plus pension scheme. We will be the sole contributor while you’re on the Basis pension scheme. When you move to the Plus pension scheme, both Adams and you will contribute to your pension.
Whether you get paid for overtime depends on what has been agreed upon in the company policy of our client. Overtime can be set for example at 100%, 125%, 150%, or 200%.
If you are employed on a Phase A contract, your first two days of sickness are considered as Wachtdagen, or ‘Waiting Days’, under the ABU CAO. This means you’re only entitled to sick pay from the third day onwards. If you have a Phase B contract, the first day of sickness will not be paid.
Sick pay is equivalent to 70% of the dagloon, or ‘day rate’. Your day rate is calculated by the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) based on your income in the previous year. Adams pays an additional 20% of your day rate, following the ABU CAO. It may take between 2-5 weeks to receive sick pay due to the administration process involved.
It’s important to be aware that being registered as sick whilst on a Phase A contract will lead to a contract break. A new contract will begin upon your return to work. You will not have to sign a new contract – this will be administered in our system automatically. However, it’s important to be aware that contract breaks can have consequences for your prospects of being offered a direct contract with our client, due to the contract chain regulations in the Netherlands.
Maternity and parental leave
If you have a Phase A or Phase B contract, you will be entitled to receive a maternity leave benefit from the UWV (instead of a salary) for the maximum duration of 16 weeks (20 weeks if you have twins). During your leave your temporary contract will continue, unless the assignment has come to terminate due to the end of the set project/tasks(Phase A) or unless the end date of the Phase B contract has surpassed.
You have the right to take a maximum of five paid days if your partner gives birth (geboorteverlof). The five days can be taken straight away or spread out over four weeks after the birth of your child. You can do this by using the reservations you have built up if employed on a Phase A contract. If you have not yet built up enough reservations to cover all five days, your employer is obliged to pay the difference so that you receive 100% payment.
You can also take additional partner leave (geboorteverlof) within the first six-month period of the child being born. The leave consists of a maximum of 5 weeks (5 x the number of hours that you work per week) The UWV pays out a Partner Birth Leave allowance of 70% of your day rate – the maximum day rate is set by the UWV regulations.
You can also make use of parental leave after your child is born. In the Netherlands the total amount is currently set as 26 x your contractual working hours: for someone working 40 hours, this means 26 weeks of leave. Parental leave is generally unpaid and can be taken by both parents.
However, new rules are coming in August 2022 that will make it possible for new parents to take a maximum of 9 weeks paid parental leave, up to a maximum payment of 70% of their day rate. While temporary employees do not receive a salary over the nine weeks of paid parental leave, they’re entitled to parental leave allowance from the UWV. The nine weeks of paid leave needs to be used within the first year of your child’s birth. The remaining 17 weeks of parental leave are unpaid and can be used until your child turns eight years old.
Adoption and Foster Care leave
You’re entitled to a maximum of six weeks leave if you adopt or foster a child. This can be taken straight away or spread out over six months. During this period, you’re entitled to an adoption/foster care leave allowance from the UWV, equivalent to 100% of your day rate.
Filing your tax return
If you receive a request from the Belastingdienst to complete your income tax return, you are obliged to do so. You can also complete your income tax return without receiving notification from the Belastingdienst. In any case you can file your income tax return as from 1st March, making sure to do so before 14th July (otherwise you may receive a fine).
The Jaaropgaaf that we send only covers the period that you worked with Adams. If you had more than one employer in the previous year, you will receive a Jaaropgaaf from each employer.
You can complete your tax return once you have received your Jaaropgaaf. However, we would recommend that you ask a Dutch speaker to help, as some of the language is quite technical. You can of course also pay an accountant to do your tax return on your behalf.