Fringe Benefits in the Netherlands

By: Together Abroad 01-03-2017

Categories:* Ethics ,
Applying to a new job, polishing your CV, tailoring your cover letter to make the right impression in order to be selected for an interview… landing a new job is not an easy task. And after the first interview, often a second and sometimes a third follows. But during the last interview, the working conditions are usually discussed.

Primary Terms of Employment

The Netherlands distinguishestwo main differentworking conditions: primary and secondary terms of employment primaireensecundairearbeidsvoowaarden. Under primaireare the standard working conditions that apply to all jobs: wages, holidays, holiday pay, and working hours. It is not always possible to negotiate about all of these topics.

Every employee has a set minimum number of holidays by law. For a fulltime position, i.e. working for 40 hours a week, the minimum is 20 workdays. This number changes when working less hours a week.

Although the vacancy usually gives a clear indication what the salary will be, an employer is not allowed to pay employees less than the minimum wage. How many hours per week you will work, can sometimes be negotiable. How willingly, however, an employer will be to negotiate about this depends on several factors. It is wise to look into the company, the average salary that is paid for the work etc. before starting the negotiation.

Fringe Benefits

Fringe benefits may differ from employer to employer. Benefits that employers may offer to their employees:

 Extra holidays on top of the above mentioned holidays, these are known as bovenwettelijkevakantieuren.
 An extra month of salary at the end of the year, known as the 13th month.
 A pension scheme
 Travel allowance

These are the most common benefits offered. But depending on the sector you are working in, fringe benefitscan also include:
 A company car
 A laptop
 A mobile phone
 Working at home
 Daycare


Before starting the negotiations about the working conditions, it is best to research to see what conditions are reasonable and what might ruin your opportunities.


Most useful is to reflect on what aspects are important to you. Not all conditions are equally important. When the salary turns out to be less thanthat you had in mind, it might be helpful to check what fringe benefits the employer is offering. For example, a discount on your health insurance or gym membership.


When a company has a collective labour agreement (CAO), many of the working conditions are included in it. For example, my CAO indicates that I am allowed to work 4 days, 9 hours a day, and that my work should take place between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. I could suggest I wish to start at 6 in the morning, but since the CAO indicates 7a.m. the chances are likely my preference for 6 a.m. will be denied. Negotiating about fringe benefits included in the CAO is often impossible. It is therefore best to look into the CAO of the company before starting the negotiations.

It is also important to know what is acceptable in your field of profession. Asking for a company car when working as a primary teacher is unlikely to be granted. However, that car might be a realistic option when the position in general requires travelling to different locations.

There are a countless number of fringe benefits employers can offer. There are no limits, but there are minimums employers need to abide. Before entering the negotiations, it is best to consider what conditions are important to have. Next is to do research of what the company is offering and what are sensible conditions to negotiate about and which are not. All that is left is the actual negotiating. It might still be a nerve-racking interview, but being prepared will help take down the pressure a bit.

Cecile Koster