Once you have got through the stressful phase of job interviews, and your new employer has made you an offer, then you need to check the details of the employment contract before you can get to work. Below is an overview of the main aspects of work contracts in the Netherlands.
Checking and signing your work contract
One of the first things that will happen after you accept a job in the Netherlands is that the company will present you with a labour contract (arbeidsovereenkomst) outlining all the aspects of your employment agreement.
It is not necessary to sign the agreement immediately. Your new employer will usually allow you to take the unsigned contract home to look over it for a day or two to ensure you fully understand it.
If there are any elements you are uncertain about or disagree with then you should discuss them with the company before signing. If you are especially concerned or confused then seek the advice of a lawyer or employment law specialist.
Once you have signed the contract you are officially in paid employment (loondienst).
Types of employment contracts in the Netherlands
There is a variety of employment agreements for employees in the Netherlands, with temporary and permanent contracts being the most common.
Temporary labour contract (tijdelijk contract)
A temporary contract is for a specific period of time, such as six months or one year, with a pre-determined end date. A dismissal procedure is not required to terminate a temporary contract at the end of its duration.
Permanent labour contract (vast contract)
A permanent contract is for an indeterminate period of time with no end date. This type of contract can only be terminated if the employee resigns (e.g. found another job in the Netherlands or abroad) or if the employer finds reason to end the contract (which must comply with strict legal guidelines).
Contract with a recruitment agency (uitzendcontract)
A contract with a recruitment agency (uitzendbureau) is a less common form of labour contract. You enter an agreement with a recruitment agency whereby they are your legal employer and salary provider even though you will be working for a third party. It is important to note that in such contracts there is limited protection against dismissal.