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Working Regulations in the Netherlands, the country with the best work-life balance

Working regulations Netherlands

According to the latest OECD Better Life Index, Dutch employees live in a country with the best work-life balance. In order to evaluate this parameter, two indicators were used in the study:

  • the amount of time devoted to leisure and personal care

Employees in the Netherlands spend 15,9 hours a day on average on eating, sleeping and leisure activities.

  • the percentage of employees working 50 hours or more per week

Only 0,5 percent of Dutch employees are working more than 50 hours per week, compared to the average of OECD countries, that is 13%.

Let’s take a closer look at the working regulations in the Netherlands, which contribute to this high work-life balance.

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Working Hours

Dutch companies are aware of the benefits of a good work-life balance. It is very unusual for their employees to work long overtime hours. The standard full-time work week is 38 hours, most full time employees work 36 – 40 hours per week.

Part time work is extremely common in the Netherlands. This form of employement is very benefical for easier work-life management, especially for young parents. It means working more than 12 hours, but less than 36.

Employee Timesheets

Employers must keep a proper evidence of the hours worked. There are no requirements for how this must be done, but the Labour Inspectorate must be able to gather from the registration whether the Working Hours Act has been complied with. An employer must also record in writing the employees’ working pattern.

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Vacation days

The legal minimum of vacation days is 4 x the weekly working days. So if an employee works three full days a week, this means 4 x 3 = 12 days of vacation per year. However, it is common for full-time employees to get 25 days vacation on average.


After working more than 5,5 hours, Dutch employees are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid break, which can be split into two 15-minute breaks.

Flexible working

Dutch employees can once a year apply for the adjustment of their working hours or working location in the form of:

If the proposed arrangement poses no risk of any harmful consequences for the company, the employer should always allow it.

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With online tools like All Hours, which is our time and attendance application, it is very easy to keep records of working hours, vacation days and breaks to be able to demonstrate a compliance with the Netherlands Working Hours act. Using a very customizable set of settings All Hours allows you to set different flexible, full-time or part-time schedules for each of your employees. The mobile application also allows remote employees to enter their hours from anywhere.

Try All Hours for Free:

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