New job in the Netherlands

So, you have a new job offer in the Netherlands โ€“ Congratulations! As an expat, grabbing a new job offer is always exciting. At the same time, there are many things to look out for especially if you have more than one offer (Amazing!!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘) in your hand! You need to compare them to make a decision for yourself.

Minimum salary requirement for your Visa: Many of us expats are here in the Netherlands on a specific type of residence permit (visa) โ€“ this usually means there is a minimum salary requirement. You may check the salary requirements for different types of visas at the IND website. Always check this before accepting an offer. There may be other conditions to satisfy based on the type of visa you are on โ€“ be sure to check these out also on the IND website. An example is that if you are on a Highly skilled migrant visa, your prospective employer should be a recognized sponsor by the IND.

Permanent contract or temporary contract or freelancer: If you do not have a choice, there is not much to decide. However, if you do have a choice, think about this one.

  • Permanent contract (onbepaalde tijd contract or vast contract): This is a contract with no defined end date โ€“ meaning, until you or your employer decide to end it. But there are several rules that apply before your employer can fire you. So, this is a relatively secure option. You are usually paid a fixed salary in these types of contracts.
  • Temporary contract (tijdelijk contract): This is a contract with a defined end date โ€“ usually for 6 months/1 year/2 years and if they still want to continue with you, they may offer you a permanent contract. You are usually paid a fixed salary in these types of contracts. There is another variant โ€“ the type where you are offered a permanent contract with a company (like a consultancy) but they place you at a client location for short term projects. When the project ends, your employer will search for another client location. In this case also, you are usually paid a fixed salary.
  • Freelancer (zelfstandig zonder personeel or ZZP): This is the type where you work for yourself. Just like a temporary contract, you will work at client locations for defined short period of time. You usually agree on an hourly wage โ€“ this means that you get most of what you are being billed for.
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Do you want a secure feeling about your new job? Then go for a permanent contract. Do you want to earn good money? Then go for a freelance position. Now, you may ask when there are these 2 options, why would you go for a temporary contract โ€“ this is because most employers donโ€™t offer you a permanent contract at the beginning. They simply offer you a temporary contract for 6 months/1 year/2 years and if they still want to continue with you, they may offer you a permanent contract. There are of-course other hybrid models (midlance) which offer you best of both worlds!

30% ruling: If you are one of those lucky ones who (still) have the 30% ruling, make sure your prospective employer takes over this responsibility and passes on the benefit to you. This is usually a straightforward process โ€“ just contact your prospective employer and they should do it for you.

8% holiday allowance included or separate? The 8% holiday allowance (vakantiegeld) is mandatory for every employee in the Netherlands โ€“ so the question really is not IF you will get it but HOW is it mentioned in your salary package. Employer X may mention your monthly salary as 3000 Euros and holiday allowance is paid above that and Employer Y may mention your monthly salary as 3200 Euros including the holiday allowance. Assuming all other factors are the same, which one would you choose? This is like asking which one is greater โ€“ 90 min or 1.5 hours? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just check the details before making a decision.

Number of holidays: The standard formula for the number of holidays is 4 times the number of weekly working hours. So, if you work for 40 hours/week, you should get 160 hours (20 days) of holidays for the year. This is the minimum required by law. However, many employers offer more than this minimum. Compare them and make a decision. Employers also differ in the number of holidays you can carry forward to the next year. Some employers allow you to carry forward and some employers allow you to sell only a maximum number of holidays and there may be a minimum number of holidays you need to take in a year โ€“ else, they will lapse. Compare all these factors also before making a decision.

Pension: Every employee will accumulate mandatory state pension (Algemene Ouderdomswet or AOW). In addition to this, many employers offer a pension scheme of their own. Pension schemes can vary a lot between different employers and some employers may not offer it at all.

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Number of hours per week: This is quite straightforward but worth mentioning here. In the Netherlands, there is a lot of flexibility with respect to thisโ€“ you usually can decide for yourself how many hours you want to work. Your benefits (like salary, number of holidays etc) depend on this.

Probation period: Most employers have a probation period (Proeftijd). This can range from 1 month to 2 months. During this period, the employer may decide to dismiss you without notice.

Notice period: The minimum notice period for you as an employee is one month. However, some employers may mention a longer period. Always check and compare this with other employers if you have multiple offers in hand.

Transport allowance: Unlike the holiday allowance – it is not mandatory for employers to provide travel allowance (reisaftrek) but most employers do. So, check if this is included in your contract. If you are not provided the travel allowance, you can declare your travel costs as deductible items during your annual income tax filing. Read more about this on the belastingdienst website.

Non-compete clause: This one is tricky and is really about what happens when you decide to leave this new employer. I know it sounds silly that I am already talking about what happens when this new job ends, but it an important aspect to consider before making a decision. Many employers have these clauses mentioned in their contracts. These clauses may prevent you from working for a competitor in future. If you are in a position to negotiate, try and get this clause removed!

CAO: Collective labor agreement (collectieve arbeidsovereenkomst or CAO) is an agreement for large groups of people and are generic in nature. They have the general employment conditions not specific to you. These are generally more favorable than individual contracts. Many large employers in the Netherlands have CAOs. The contents of the CAOs can differ a lot. Choosing an employer with a CAO can be more beneficial than choosing an employer without a CAO.

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Probably, there are more things to consider but I tried to cover the most important ones relevant for expats. Irrespective of which you choose, good luck with your new job! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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