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Hours of Work in Netherlands

Maximum Working Hours & Overtime Laws in Netherlands

Standard hours

Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 or 6:00 pm, with a 30-minute unpaid lunch break and two 15 minute breaks. The average working week is between 36 to 40 hours, 7 to 8 hours daily.

Maximum hours

An employee cannot work for more than 12 hours per shift, capping the weekly working hours at 60.

Note: this should be an exception rather than a regular practice. Dutch legislation offers the following guidelines in the long term:

  • Throughout four weeks, employees should not work more than 55 hours a week on average. A collective arrangement may allow longer hours but no more than 60 per week.
  • Throughout 16 weeks, employees should work no more than 48 hours a week on average. The employee and employer agree on exact daily and weekly hours.
Opt-out option

High-level employees and managerial staff are generally exempt from the work hours requirement. Their yearly wages should equal or exceed three times the Dutch statutory minimum wage.

Overtime compensation

Law does not regulate overtime, so employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements establish the rates - usually either 50% or 100% of pay or time off). For higher personnel, overtime is typically deemed to be part of their salary.

Employees will not receive overtime compensation if they work without an order from their supervisor, if the overtime is less than one hour after their standard working time or if they have been classified in salary scale 11 or higher. The employee must record overtime hours.

Sunday working

Employees do not have to work on Sundays unless they have agreed to do so with their employer. Sunday work is permitted only incidentally if it is required and must be paid at a 100% rate.

Break rights

Employees working 5.5 hours are entitled to a 30-minute break at least which can be slipt into two 15 minutes breaks. Employees working more than 10 hours must have at least 45 minutes of break time, which can be split into several intervals of 15 minutes.

Employees are also entitled to 11 hours break between shifts (once a week, the break can be eight hours if the nature of the work or the business circumstances requires it) and a minimum of 36 consecutive hours of non-work per week.

A longer workweek is only possible if the employee has at least 72 consecutive hours break in 14 days. The rest can be split into two periods of 32 hours each.

Night workers

The following limitations apply to night work:

  • Night shift can be up to 10 hours and requires a minimum of 14 hours rest after if the shift ends after 2 am or 11 hours if it ends before 2 am
  • After three consecutive night shifts, the employee must have at least 46 hours of rest
  • The workweek can be a maximum of 40 hours if an employee does 16 night shifts in 16 weeks
  • An employee can do an utmost of 36 night shift in 16 weeks
  • An employee may be able to work a 12-hour shift five times in two weeks, or 22 times per year

Time Tracking Obligations in the Netherlands

Employers should keep a record of the hours employees work, their rest times, vacation days and sick leave as well as their working pattern, and employees have access to this record. Employees are responsible for recording their overtime.

There are no requirements as to how employers should track these, but they should allow the Labour Inspectorate to determine whether they have complied with the Working Hours Act. Employers should store records of employee hours and attendance for at least 52 weeks. This obligation does not apply to an employee who earns at least three times the statutory minimum wage. Penalties for noncompliance vary between €100 and €45,000 per employee are usually preceded by a warning. 

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