How to Create Offer Letters for Employees in the Netherlands


Jan 1, 2023

Found the right candidate for that vacant position at your company? Start the onboarding process by sending them a job offer letter and employment agreement.

When you’re getting ready to hire an employee in the Netherlands, an official offer of employment is an essential part of the process. In this document, you’ll review important details like salary, job tasks and responsibilities, termination, and more that you should include in the employment contract. It also serves as a reference point should the employee wish to negotiate with you over their pay and benefits. 

Here’s everything you need to send a legally compliant offer letter to hire a full-time employee in the Netherlands.

Netherlands job offer letter checklist

  • Position (job title), job description, start date, and trial period. Specify whether the employee will undergo a trial or probationary period (proeftijd) to determine their suitability for the position. Under Dutch labor laws, probationary periods  are allowed in contracts longer than 6 months. The probationary period for fixed-term contracts is usually one (1) month. For permanent contracts, the probationary period cannot last more than two months, and they must be concluded via a written document—verbal agreements do not suffice. A word of caution: once an employee passes their probationary period it is very challenging to terminate the employee.
  • Working hours. Set forth the hours and days the new hire can expect to work each week (40 hours for full time work is common practice). Remember: According to Dutch employment legislation, the maximum number of hours team members can work each week is 60, and daily shifts are capped at 12 hours. However, ​​an employee may not work the maximum number of hours every week. Looked at over a longer period, the working hours are as follows: Generally, over a period of four weeks, employees cannot work more than an average of 55 hours each week; this number drops to 48 over a period of 16 weeks. Additionally, reference the company policy,  employment agreement and/or if applicable, a collective bargaining agreement/collective labor agreement (CBA/CLA) on overtime and if/how the employee will be reimbursed–financially or with extra time off. For more on working hours and overtime, read our guide to hiring in the Netherlands.
  • Compensation and benefits
    • Salary. Include information about the annual salary your company is offering the new employee and how often they can expect to be paid (monthly pay is most common). Discuss any additional and relevant information, such as bonuses, in this section. The salary usually consists of base salary + statutory 8% holiday allowance. Any additional benefits or allowances (such as car allowance) are not treated as part of the base salary but rather treated as a separate (benefit) component of the compensation.
    • Pension contributions. Provide information about the company pension scheme, including the name of the pension provider, how and when to enroll, and anything else that is relevant to the employee.
    • Social security contributions. In accordance with Dutch labor laws, employers and employees alike are required to contribute to a social security fund. List the statutory national social  insurance contribution rates for both parties in this section.
    • Coverage of additional expenses. Will your company be providing the new employee with a mobile device or subsidizing the cost of transportation? Make sure you discuss additional expenses like these in the job offer letter when applicable. Explain how much money the company is willing to put forth, and what the employee’s financial responsibilities will be.
    • Holiday leave. Specify the amount of statutory and non-statutory paid vacation time the employee can expect, particularly if you are offering more than the legally mandated minimum of 20 statutory days (four weeks) each year.
  • Confidentiality. Explain your company’s confidentiality policy. Make sure you include how long the employee is expected to keep information confidential, particularly after they are no longer employed by your business. Specify what exactly is covered under the confidentiality clause, as well as the penalties for breaking it. This is usually mentioned as part of a confidentiality clause in the employment contract/agreement.
  • Termination policy. Specify the details of your company’s termination policy, including reasons staff can be dismissed and how much notice they should expect.

    The concept of at-will employment does not exist in the Netherlands. Dismissal/Termination of employees in the Netherlands is very complex and employers must follow a ‘dismissal procedure’.

    Dutch labor laws are very friendly to employees. Dutch employers are legally prevented from dismissing employees without a valid reason for doing so. Justifiable reasons, according to labor laws in the Netherlands, include certain conduct issues on the part of the employee, redundancy situations and gross-misconduct.

    In many situations, employers are not allowed to dismiss the employee and must obtain a dismissal permit from the  sub-district court or from the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency)- which is part of the Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment.  

    In other situations, the employer may be allowed to dismiss employees under certain conditions and circumstances. For instance, an employer can dismiss the employee during the probationary period without grounds. The employer must, however, provide a written notice of termination (including during the probationary period) as outlined below.

    Your company must provide written notice to the employee who is being dismissed, and in the Netherlands, the notice period directly corresponds to how long the team member has worked for the company.

    The following statutory notice periods apply, however a shorter notice period is allowed in case it’s agreed in a collective bargaining/labor agreement. The standard notice period for employees is 1 month. The notice period of the employer must be double of the notice period of the employee.
  • Flexible working possibilities. If your company has a flexible working policy, include it in the offer letter. Be specific about details like core hours and how the employee should notify their manager if they are deviating from the normal working hours on a workday.
  • Non-compete and non-solicit clauses. Specify whether your company has a non-compete clause (concurrentiebeding) and how long it lasts after the employee is no longer a part of the business. While non-compete and non-solicit clauses are enforceable under Dutch law and you can take employees to court if they disregard the terms of the agreement, the employment code protects employees, too. Usually as common practice, non-compete clauses are not applicable to generic roles, but rather for roles that directly affect the business such as commercial roles. Companies that have a dominant position (they’re part of a field where they have either no competitors or no significant competition) are not permitted to ask employees to sign a non-compete.

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Disclaimer: Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: May 11, 2024

The Author

Carrie Stemke

A freelance writer and editor based in New York City, Carrie writes about HR trends and global workforce management and is the Rippling content team’s expert on hiring know-how in Western Europe.