Working in the Netherlands
The average Dutch income is approximately €25,000 to €30,000 per year. Salary is usually discussed in monthly or annual terms and paid out at the end of the month (at Utrecht University around the 24th of each month). In the Netherlands, your holiday payment is paid out separately. Your employer will deduct small percentages from your salary each month to pay this out to you as holiday payment in May or June. The holiday payment amounts to 8% of your annual income. Your salary is also paid out during your holidays.
Most companies pay out an end-of-year bonus or so-called ‘13th month’ in December. This is an extra payment or sometimes a profit sharing allowance. At Utrecht University this bonus amounts to 8.3% of your annual salary.
Your employer is obliged to deduct income tax from your salary. Depending on your income this amounts to either 36.5, 42 or 52%. In addition to this, your employer must deduct pension and social premiums from your salary. If you start a new job in the Netherlands halfway through the year, you may have to pay income tax in two countries. The Utrecht University Salary Administration may be able to help you with this.
When you start working in the Netherlands, you may have to bear extra costs, the so-called extraterritorial costs. Your employer may decide to provide you with a tax-free allowance to meet these extra-territorial costs. Your employer may also pay out 30% of your salary, including the allowance, free of tax. This scheme is known as the ‘30% scheme’. You will not have to provide evidence of the expenses made. In order to make use of this scheme, you will have to meet certain conditions and, together with your employer, ask permission from the Tax Office.
The average working week at Dutch companies comprises 40 hours. A regular working week runs from Monday to Friday with working hours between 9 AM and 6 PM, including a half an hour lunch break. Most government agencies are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Most shops are open on Saturdays and increasingly often on Sundays too.
Salaries are generally based on a 40-hour working week. Based on the Dutch Working Conditions Act, employees are allowed to work an average of a maximum of 9 hours per day and a maximum of 45 hours a week. Utrecht University has adopted a 38-hour working week.
All full-time employees in the Netherlands are entitled to approx. 24 holiday leave days (this is a minimum number of days which may vary per sector). In addition to this holiday leave, there are 8 official public holidays. These are New Year’s Day (1 January), King’s Day (27 April), Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, and Christmas and Boxing Day (25 and 26 December, if on working days). Liberation Day (5 May) and Good Friday are acknowledged days off. This means they are not official public holidays. Central government officials are off on these days and local government agencies have been following their example. The collective labour agreements of companies and businesses state whether the employer recognises these days as days off.
On 4 May, the Netherlands observe Remembrance Day (or: Commemoration Day of the Dead) to honour all war victims. Two minutes of silence is observed from 8.00-8.02 PM and all Dutch flags are at half-mast until sunset.
A Collective Labour Agreement has been drawn up for all Dutch universities. For more information about the terms of employment at Utrecht University, please visit the following page.