Unlike many other countries, overtime is not considered as common practice in the Netherlands, but it is useful for workers to familiarise themselves with their rights while they work in the country. Usually, overtime refers to the extra hours outside of the normal 26-40 hour work week. However, Dutch law does not provide a national standard for overtime; it is usually agreed upon by individual employment contracts and collective agreements.
Without a national law, it may appear that the rights regarding overtime can be a bit loose, but this does not mean there are no laws to protect workers in the case of excessive work hours; Dutch law states workers are not permitted to work beyond 12 hours per shift and a maximum of 60 hours per week. The minimum wage paid to employees must also exclude payment for overtime, but this is subject to employee contracts. Essentially there are no fixed guidelines for overtime and how it is compensated, which is why it is important for workers to know their rights in order to negotiate overtime conditions if necessary.
Typically, any overtime conditions are agreed upon when writing up an employee contract, and it is therefore advisable to negotiate overtime conditions and compensation before starting a job to ensure employees are aware of what they are getting themselves into. In most normal cases, overtime will be clearly defined within a collective agreement and how it should be compensated, but this also means that an employee should ensure that they are covered by a collective agreement and understand its conditions.
In the case that an employee is not covered by a collective agreement, they should make sure that overtime conditions are clearly covered within the terms of their contract, so they can refer back to it at a later time. One thing to be cautious of is that if an employee is not covered by a collective agreement, then their contract may stipulate that any overtime is unpaid, so it is best to confirm such cases with an employer if possible. In the rare case that an employee feels he or she is working excessive overtime without sufficient compensation, the employee ought to raise the issue with an employer. Even though an employer may not be legally required to meet the demands of fair overtime conditions, they may still be willing to negotiate fair overtime, knowing that many other employers may be willing to provide better conditions. The only issue is that there is no national law to protect employees, but an employer may be willing to negotiate to keep workers happy and to ensure their reputation as a good employer.
Overall, the regulation surrounding overtime can be a bit tricky in the Netherlands, especially since there is no fixed national law, but with cautious negotiation of contracts and knowing your rights, it is possible to ensure better working conditions in regards to overtime and how it is compensated.