Please click on the subject you would like more information on.  Underneath are questions and answers.

FairWork can help you if you have at least TWO of the following complaints:

  • You miss payments of your wages or you have a lot of deductions;
  • Your employer provides also housing, transport, etc. and abuses your dependency on this;
  • You have a debt with your employer or no access to money/ bank account;
  • Your freedom of movement is restricted by the employer (e.g. medical aid, leaving the house, contact with outer world, isolation);
  • You are threatened or confronted with violence or sexual intimidation;
  • Your ID papers are confiscated;
  • Your employer abuses repeatedly you or you know that other people have similar problems with the same employer.

Are you working for an employment agency? See the questions and answers below.

FAQ with tips for awareness when working for an employment agency.

1. Check if the agency is a member of an employers’ organization (Dutch).
2. Does the housing of the agency has a SNF certificate (English).
3. Also, make sure to check online reviews!

An agency clause is a provision in the employment contract for agency work. If the contract includes an agency clause, the agency has the right to terminate the contract when the hirer ends the assignment. Once the assignment with the hirer is completed, the temporary employment agency can also terminate the contract before the scheduled end date. If the contract does not explicitly mention whether the agency clause applies, it is automatically applicable.

A fixed-term contract can be terminated prematurely. If a temporary employment contract without an agency clause (phase A or B) is terminated early, the notice period begins on the next working day. Once the notice period expires, the contract is terminated. For agency workers, the length of the notice period depends on the duration of the contract. For contracts shorter than 5 years, the notice period is one month unless otherwise agreed upon.

For more information, visit:

Dutch temporary agency contracts can offer very little certainty regarding duration, number of working hours per week (zero-hour contract), wage, and notice period (a ‘uitzendbeding’ means the work is highly flexible). The Collective Labour Agreement for temporary agency workers specifies conditions about these matters, as well as the phase system that applies to them. Rights depend on the phase of your contract and whether it includes an agency clause or not. Carefully read your employment contract and refer to the CLA on the SNCU website (English).

Normally ,the person who recruits you in your home country promises you certain conditions for the job (like duration of the contract, number of hours per week, salary). However, when you come to the Netherlands, you are offered a contract with different or worse conditions. What can you do?

Try to talk with your employer about it and see if this can be negotiated. Especially before signing the contract, to see if things can be negotiated.

  • If you’ve already signed the contract, get advice from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch).
  • If you’re given less work or less than what was promised, check if you’re eligible for an income guarantee. According to the Collective Labour Agreement for temporary work (English), if you’ve been recruited from abroad and it’s your first time working for this agency, you’re entitled to the minimum salary for the first two months. Contact SNCU (English) to find out if you have the right to this salary guarantee and to claim it from your employer.
  • Check if the labor inspectorate in your home country can take action. Ask if they can hold the recruiter or employer responsible for false promises. Provide proof of agreements made with the recruiter, such as a pre-contract, emails, or Whatsapp messages.”

FAQ salary and income.

As an employee in the Netherlands, you are entitled by law to the minimum wage (English) and the minimum holiday allowance. Your employer can pay you more than that, but never less.

Please note: the mandatory minimum hourly wage (English) was introduced on 1 January 2024. This is the minimum wage per hour. From 2024, there will be no fixed minimum monthly, weekly and daily wages.

For additional information check the website Workinnl (Dutch, English, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Chinese).

Both the hiring company and the agency are generally liable for wages. You can write both to claim your unpaid salary You can try claiming your salary yourself by using the template letter (Dutch) from the Juridisch loket. So you can write to both to claim your unpaid salary.

If your employer still doesn’t pay you, you can seek help from an organization or lawyer:

  • FairWork can assist you if, in addition to missing wages or deductions, you ALSO have other serious problems with your employer. Check here if you fall within FairWork’s scope.
  • Otherwise, please contact SNCU (English) (Email: helpdesk@sncu.nl Tel: 0800-7008 or +31 85210 40 80 if calling from abroad).
  • Contact Juridisch Loket (Dutch) to help you find a social lawyer to assist with claiming your wages.

Your employer must provide you a payslip stating how much you earn and how many hours you have worked. Your payslip shows your gross and net salary, as well as the taxes and social security contributions that your employer withholds. It also shows any allowances that you may receive (e.g. for overtime worked) and compensation for expenses.

Besides the taxes and social security contributions withheld, the payslip must also include deductions from your salary for accommodation and health insurance.

Your employer can deduct a maximum of 25% of your minimum wage for housing. This is only possible with your explicit agreement and if your employer has a certificate with a quality mark for the accommodation. For more information, see the SNF (English) or the AKF (Dutch). Your employer may also make deductions for your health insurance. In that case, you should immediately receive an insurance policy number and an insurance card. Other deductions, such as fines and other sums of money, are not permitted.

You can find more information about this subject on the SNCU website (English). Or the website Workinnl (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

For questions or complaints about deductions contact SNCU (English) by email: helpdesk@sncu.nl Tel: 0800-7008 or +31 85210 40 80 if calling from abroad

As an agency worker you are entitled to the income guarantee (English) if you have been recruited outside the Netherlands on behalf of or by a Dutch employment agency. You must have been recruited to work for this employment agency in the Netherlands for the first time.

Income guarantee means that you are entitled to an amount equal to the full-time minimum (youth) wage for two months, regardless of the contract duration and the number of hours worked.

Yes, temporary workers are also entitled to holidays. For each full working month worked, a temporary worker is entitled to 16 2/3rds hours. This works pro rata, meaning that if the temporary worker has worked half a month, he or she is entitled to 8 2/6ths hours (half). The agency is obligated to give the temporary worker a chance to use those holidays.

If a temporary worker wants to take holidays, he or she can do so by submitting a (written) request to the temporary employment agency. The temporary employment agency may refuse such a request only in special cases, for instance if the company would run into major problems if the temporary worker were to take holidays. However, this also involves a responsibility for the company: they cannot ignore this rule by contracting too few temporary workers, for example.

For more information about holiday and leave, check the Workinnl website (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

Yes, temporary workers over 18 year old are entitled to an old-age pension, and build it up with the Stichting Pensioenfonds voor Personeelsdiensten (StiPP) (English).

After 52 weeks of pension accrual (with a maximum break of 52 weeks) at 1 or more temporary employment agencies, the temporary worker enters the plus scheme (English).

FAQ registering in The Netherlands and BSN.

If you come to live and work temporarily in the Netherlands for less than four months, you must register as a citizen in order to be assigned a citizen registration number (BSN, “burgerservicenummer”). This allows you to work legally. You need this number to apply for health insurance, to open a bank account, to file a tax return, and for all dealings with the public administration. Note that if you are not an EU citizen, you need a residence permit to register. More information the website Workinnl (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

To register in the Netherlands you need to provide the address where you live. Sometimes you cannot register at the address where you live in the Netherlands or you are going to live there temporarily (less than four months). In this case you can register as a ‘non-resident’ by giving your address in your home country.

To register in the register of non-residents (RNI, ‘Registratie niet-ingezetenen’) you need to:

1) Make an appointment at one of the 19 municipalities with a RNI counter (English)
2) Fill in your details on the online form (English) and copy the QR.
3) Go to the face-to-face appointment with your identity document and the QR. If you cannot fill in the online form (and you do not have the QR), that is fine, you can give your details at the appointment.

If you live in Brabant, you may contact the Information Points (different languages per location).

FAQ illness and healthcare.

If you are going to live and work in the Netherlands (for a Dutch company) you are obliged to take out health insurance. Some employers will arrange insurance for you, especially temporary employment agencies.

If you have to hire a health insurance yourself, you should do so as soon as possible. If more than four months have passed since you started working in the Netherlands, you can be fined for working without insurance. It is also important because during the period you are not insured you will have to pay for your medical expenses yourself.

Read more about health insurance ((English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

No, you can’t. Your employer is obliged to continue paying your salary until the end of your contract, for a maximum of 2 years. This also applies to temporary workers with contracts with agency clause.

If you are dismissed by your agency due to sickness, contact Juridisch Loket (Dutch) as soon as possible. There is a maximum legal term of two months to complain against a dismissal and to claim compensation. If you suspect that you have been unlawfully fired, you need to find a lawyer to defend your case as soon as possible. The Juridisch Loket can help with finding a lawyer.

In this case your employer must inform the UWV and this must initiate a ‘reintegration process’. You may be entitled to a ZW sickness benefit (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian). A “reintegration process” means that the worker must regularly visit the company doctor and fulfill his or her reintegration duties. The company doctor/ Arbodienst will monitor the recovery and propose a gradual return to work.

The UWV is ultimately responsible for monitoring the process.

Read more information on Workinnl (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

If you are still sick after your (temporary) contract finishes, either your employer or the UWV will provide you with a sickness benefit. This is from the date your contract expires up to a maximum of 2 years after your first day of illness. This benefit is normally 70% of your last salary, and in the first year it must comply with the legal minimum wage (English).

Report the accident immediately to both the employment agency (your employer) and the hirer (the place where you work).

  • Seek immediately health care. And make sure that before you leave the hospital, you ask for a medical report. This is an important proof for eventual claims.
  • If the incapacity to work lasts longer than 3 days and personal injury is involved, the hirer must register the accident. In case of hospitalisation or permanent injury, the accident must be reported (by the hirer) to the Dutch Labour Inspectorate. You may check yourself if the accident has been reported to the Labour inspectorate by calling 0800-5151.
  • Keep good record of all extra costs incurred because of the accident. This includes medical expenses, costs for informal care, travel expenses and other extra costs incurred because of the accident.
  • Seek legal advise (Dutch) to see if you can claim compensation from your agency and/or hirer. In principle, both the hirer and the temporary employment agency are liable for damages suffered because of a labour accident, because they must ensure a safe working environment. The temporary employment agency and the hirer may arrange between them how the liability is settled, but the temporary worker should not be penalised as a result.

Important: If you have a temporary employment contract with an agency clause your contract can be terminated when you have an accident. But the temporary employment agency is still in principle liable for the accident!!

For more information, advice or help with claims (English).

If you need health care but you are not insured in the Netherlands or in your country of residence, you can go to a family doctor or hospital. The doctors will give you health care if they consider that you needs cannot be postponed. If you have no income or means to pay the costs, the Dutch state will cover the costs when the care is really necessary.

For more information visit Het Cak (English).

If you are sick for a long period, your employer will continue to pay your salary until the end of your contract, for a maximum of 2 years. After that, the Dutch state will pay you a sickness benefit, for at least 70% of your last salary. In the first year of sickness, this means at least the minimum wage. This applies to both permanent and temporary contracts.

For further questions about health care and sickness (English).

FAQ working hours and rest.

The Working Hours Act (English) outlines all the rules on working hours. Based on this law, companies make their own agreements, which are written into your contract. Therefore, check your contract carefully to see if there is any agreement on overtime worked.

The general regulations specify that you cannot work more than 12 hours at a time. In addition, you can work a maximum of 60 hours a week, but you cannot work every week.

Temporary workers are entitled to the same breaks and rest periods as regular employees of the hirer. Temporary workers working longer than 5.5 hours are entitled to a 30-minute break (which may be split into 15-minute breaks). Temporary workers working more than 10 hours are entitled to a break of 45 minutes (which may be split into breaks of 15 minutes).

Temporary workers are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 11 hours in each consecutive 24-hour period. Every 7 days, this may be reduced once to a minimum of 8 hours, if the working conditions require it.

Weekly, temporary workers are entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of at least 36 hours, or 72 hours over 2 weeks (which may be split into 2 periods of at least 32 hours).

These rules do not apply to a temporary worker whose annual wage (pro rata) is 3x the minimum wage or more unless the temporary worker does dangerous work or night shifts.

For further questions about working hours and rests see the website Workinnl (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian).

FAQ housing.

Temporary employment agencies are no longer allowed to offer a ‘mixed contract’ to migrant workers for whom they arrange housing. A mixed contract is a labour contract and a rental contract in one. This means that if you are fired, your rental contract is also terminated and you have to leave your house too.

From the 1st of July 2023, employment agencies must offer migrant workers 2 separate contracts. As a temporary worker, you must receive 1 employment contract and 1 rental contract. If you are fired or resign yourself, only your employment contract will end. Your rental contract will continue. You do not have to leave your house. And if you terminate your rental contract, you will not lose your job.

Also read the article from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch).

Yes, your temporary employment agency can deduct the rent from your salary (if it also provides you with accommodation). But this is only allowed if the accommodation has the SNF quality seal or SNF-keurmerk (English) and meets certain minimum requirements. This rent cannot exceed 25% of the minimum wage (English).

Yes, your temporary employment agency can deduct the rent from your salary (if it also provides you with accommodation). But this is only allowed if the accommodation has the SNF quality seal (English) (SNF-keurmerk) and meets certain minimum requirements. This rent cannot exceed 25% of the minimum wage (English).

 

Yes, it must comply with certain rules. Rent may be charged for accommodation, but it must not exceed the actual costs. In addition, the costs may never exceed 25% of the gross minimum wage (English), to which the temporary worker is, at least, entitled. The temporary worker cannot be obliged to use the accommodation provided by the agency and it can also not be set as a requirement to be put to work.

The basic requirements that accommodations must meet are established in the Collective Labor Agreement (English). Among other things, there must be:

  • At least 10 m2 of enclosed living space per person.
  • 1 toilet and 1 shower per 8 people.
  • 30 litres of fridge/freezer space per person.
  • At least 4 cooking stoves (or more, if more than 8 people live there) and 6 litres of fire extinguishing agent must be available.
  • Additionally, there must also be someone available 24 hours a day in case of emergencies.

More information for residents (English).

After the end of your contract/ job, you have the right to stay living in the accommodation provided by the employement agency. You may stay a maximum up to four weeks. During that time, you must still pay the rent. This is a right established in the Article 36 paragraph 5 and 6 of the CLA for Agency Workers (in English).

If your agency terminated your contract and is trying to kick you off your house, you may ask to remain longer there. Use the following template letter  (in Dutch) with your own data and send it to your coordinator/ HR responsible of your agency. Preferably, send it by email and also by whatsapp.

Your landlord can only enter your room/ house after having knocked on the door or ringing the bell. He must get your permission to enter in order to do repairs or check your accommodation.

For other questions or complaints about housing contact the housing office in your municipality. Search for your city (English) here.

Or contact SNF (English) if your accommodation has the SNF-certification.

Any other questions about housing? Read this FAQ section about living (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian)) in The Netherlands.

FAQ transport problems (travelling between home/work).

If your employer asks you to pick up colleagues (e.g. on the way to work and with the company van or car), for you this will count as working hours and you should be paid for doing so. For your colleagues, this does not count as working hours and they will not be paid for it.

If you commute to work on your own (e.g. by car, bicycle or public transport), the reimbursement of these commuting costs depends on the sector in which you work. Specific agreements between employers and employees apply in each sector. In some sectors, agreements have been made on the reimbursement of travel expenses based on the distance travelled. Your employer may also organise the use of a specific electronic card for public transport in the Netherlands (called “ov-chipkaart”). In other words, not all agreements apply to everyone. See more information (English) here.

More information or complaints about (English). transport issues (English).

Do you have any other questions about traveling to work? Read the FAQ (English) about traveling here.

FAQ general.

If you need to open a judicial procedure, you need to find a lawyer to represent you. In the Netherlands there is a subsidy to cover lawyers’ costs so that also people with low or no income can defend their rights in court. In order to find a social lawyers who can help you with your case, being paid with the subsidy, you can take contact with the Juridisch Loket. You can also contact inloopspreekuur advocaat, they can also help you find a lawyer in your area.

https://www.juridischloket.nl/ (Dutch)
or
Landelijke netwerk gratis inloop spreekuur/free legal advise (English)

E-mail: info@inloopspreekuuradvocaat.nl

Becoming self employed means you have rights and obligations. You can check if you are you really self employed with the following checklist:

  • A self employed person determines what kind of work he does.
  • A self employed person determines his hourly rate.
  • A self employed persons pays BTX taxes.
  • A self employed person has more than one client.
  • A self employed person makes and sends bills himself.

If you answer NO to the questions above, you are maybe false self-employed. This form of contracting is prohibited in the Netherlands. See more information on Workinnl (English).

What can you do if you are false self-employed?

  • If you are not paid well as a self-employed and you are in a vulnerable position, you can contact FairWork for more information.
  • You can report it to the labor inspectorate.
  • Keep evidence such as: names, paperwork, conversations, photos, addresses and an overview of hours worked.

Barka –  For social assistance/vulnerable situations. (English)
Workinnl.nl: – For information about living, working, healthcare in The Netherlands. (Dutch, English, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian)
Information about health insurance. (English)
Information about labour accidents. (English)
Juridisch loket – Free legal advice. (Dutch)
Rechtswinkel – Offers free legal advice, including specific issues faced by workers in the construction and meat sectors. (Dutch)

Local points for international workers:
Amsterdam, Bulgarian service location.
Amsterdam, Veni Cultura , Adres: Hogevecht 229A, 1102 HM Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, Casa migrante, Van Ostadestraat 268, 1073 TV Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, Opora.
Amsterdam ROMPRO.
Brabant province.
BMIP Breda, Address: Claudius Prinsenlaan 10, 4811 DJ, Breda.
CRE Países Bajos (Consejo de Residentes Españoles).
Eindhoven, Centro Latino de Orientación (CLO).
BMIP Eindhoven, Address: Stadhuisplein 1a, 5611 EM, Eindhoven.
The Hague, Centro español de la Haya. Address: Korte Lombardstraat 6, 2512 VR Den Haag.
The Hague Address: Kempstraat 23, 2572 GA, Den Haag.
Helmond, Meterik Service point, St Jansstraat 2 LEV.
BMIP Helmond, Address: Penningstraat 55, 5701 MZ, Helmond (organisation LEV Group).
Maas en Peel, in the library.
Rotterdam Address: Pleinweg 196-202, 3083 EV, Rotterdam.
Rotterdam Address: Bulgaarsestraat 4, 3028 BB, Rotterdam.
Rotterdam, Nuestra Casa. Adres: Verbraakstraat 23, 3036 MR Rotterdam.
BMIP Tilburg, Address: Wagnerplein 4, 5011 LP, Tilburg (in the library).
BMIP Meierijstad (Veghel), Address: Markt 3, 5461 JJ, Veghel, in building ‘t Rondeel.
Gemeente Westland ,Verdilaan 7, 2671 VW Naaldwijk.

Are you a domestic worker, aupair, nanny or caregiver/24 hour worker? See the questions and answers below.

FAQ for domestic workers, nannies, and caregivers.

All workers in the Netherlands, including domestic workers, nannies, and care workers who work (and sometimes live) in the houses of their employer are entitled to a minimum wage (English), 8% holiday pay, paid holidays off, and continued payment of salary when you are ill and cannot work (maximum of 6 weeks per year). Also, your employer must pay your salary when you cannot work because she/he is on vacation. When you perform services for less than 3 days in a household and you do not live in, your rights are defined under the domestic home services regulation. You can read more about your rights and obligations as a domestic worker/care provider under this regulation in the Netherlands in our flyer: Worklog-domestic-workers.

Even if you don’t have a written contract, you still have labour rights. An oral agreement also counts as a contract. Make sure you document the agreements yourself (on paper, via screenshots of WhatsApp) and keep track of your hours. If you encounter problems with your employer, this documentation may be useful in asserting your rights.

Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to at least the statutory minimum wage (English).If your employer refuses to pay you what you agreed, and you also have other problems with your employer, such as poor working conditions, sleeping at the workplace or in the employer’s house, experiencing threats or violence, then contact us! You may be exploited, and you can get help.

If you have no other problems with the employer, but have not been (fully) paid, you can try to claim your salary using the template letter. Here you can find a general template (Dutch) of the Legal Helpdeks. Here you can find a sample contract and a sample letter specifically for domestic workers. To claim your salary, you need evidence that you have worked for the employer. If you don’t have a contract, other written evidence may also be sufficient, such as WhatsApp, SMS or email messages from your employer. The Juridisch Loket (Dutch) can provide you with information and free legal advice. Contact us if you cannot resolve it yourself, we might help you claim your salary.

To prevent problems with your employer, it is good to ask the employer to draw up a contract from the start of your work, stating the duration of the contract and the payment arrangements. If the employer refuses to draw up a contract, make sure you keep good records of when and how much you work, where you work, and how much you are paid.

You are never responsible for arranging your own replacement during your vacation. If the employer expects this from you, try to talk to him/her about your rights. Seek legal advice from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch) if you cannot resolve it together.

In the case of your employer forcing you to work or if you feel limited in your freedom, you might be a victim of labour exploitation. Please contact FairWork.

FairWork is an independent organisation and we are not affiliated with the police or government. Assistance from FairWork is completely free and safe. We do not disclose your name to anyone if you do not want us to. We always discuss with you whether and how you want us to help you and whether we can involve others. In some cases, it is necessary or better to provide your name to certain agencies. We will always inform you about this in advance, so you can choose whether you want to do this or not. FairWork reports every year how many people we support. We do this completely anonymously and therefore do not disclose names. We provide these numbers to make it clear that these problems exist in the Netherlands.

For specific information for domestic workers, go to the FairWork section: https://www.fairwork.nu/en/domestic-workers/

FAQ for au-pairs.

As an au-pair in the Netherlands, you are entitled to:

  • Working days up to a maximum of 8 hours per day;
  • A maximum of 30 working hours a week;
  • At least 2 days off per week;
  • Only light household chores for your host family.
  • There is no penalty for not complying with parts of your contract? For instance: early termination of the contract, because you are going to work for another employer;
  • The agency is not allowed to ask you to pay a deposit;
  • The agency can request a maximum of 34 euros in preparation costs;
  • Your host family is allowed to give you up to 340 euros per month pocket money.For more information see the FairWork section for au-pairs.

No, this is not allowed. Have a conversation with your host family and/or au-pair agency. The au-pair agency officially has a duty of care, which means that the agency is responsible for the well-being of the au-pair and must ensure that the host family complies with the obligations and rules. If the au-pair bureau does not comply with this rule you can report it to the IND: Au pairs | IND (English). In case you have to work more than the 30 hours per week in combination with other problems with your host family please contact FairWork for information and advice.

Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to at least the statutory minimum wage (English). If your employer refuses to pay you what you agreed, and you also have other problems with your employer, such as poor working conditions, sleeping at the workplace or in the employer’s house, experiencing threats or violence, then contact us! You may be exploited, and you can get help.

If you have no other problems with the employer, but have not been (fully) paid, you can try to claim your salary using the template letter. Here you can find a general template (Dutch) of the Legal Helpdeks. Here you can find a sample contract and a sample letter specifically for domestic workers. To claim your salary, you need evidence that you have worked for the employer. If you don’t have a contract, other written evidence may also be sufficient, such as WhatsApp, SMS or email messages from your employer. The Juridisch Loket (Dutch) can provide you with information and legal advice. Contact us if you cannot resolve it yourself, we might help you claim your salary.

To prevent problems with your employer, it is good to ask the employer to draw up a contract from the start of your work, stating the duration of the contract and the payment arrangements. If the employer refuses to draw up a contract, make sure you keep good records of when and how much you work, where you work, and how much you are paid.

You are never responsible for arranging your own replacement during your vacation. If the employer expects this from you, try to talk to him/her about your rights. Seek free legal advice from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch) if you cannot resolve it together.

In the case of your employer forcing you to work or if you feel limited in your freedom, you might be a victim of labour exploitation. Please contact FairWork.

FairWork is an independent organisation and we are not affiliated with the police or government. Assistance from FairWork is completely free and safe. We do not disclose your name to anyone if you do not want us to. We always discuss with you whether and how you want us to help you and whether we can involve others. In some cases, it is necessary or better to provide your name to certain agencies. We will always inform you about this in advance, so you can choose whether you want to do this or not. FairWork reports every year how many people we support. We do this completely anonymously and therefore do not disclose names. We provide these numbers to make it clear that these problems exist in the Netherlands.

FAQ for 24-hour caregivers via PGB contract or agreement.

No, this is not normal. In the Netherlands, there are maximum working hours (English, Dutch, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian); you may never work more than 60 hours per week, as you are legally entitled to rest. Contact FairWork for information and advice if you provide 24-hour care and must always be available.

You can find information about your rights in case of dismissal on the website of the Juridisch Loket (Dutch). The Juridisch Loket can provide you with information and free legal advice. If there is a care agreement between you and the PGB budget holder, you may be entitled to benefits in some cases, see the SVB website (in Dutch). Ask your PGB budget holder about this. If you cannot resolve it together, you can contact the SVB (Dutch) for further questions or ask for advice from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch).

Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to at least the statutory minimum wage. If your employer refuses to pay you what you agreed, and you also have other problems with your employer, such as poor working conditions, sleeping at the workplace or in the employer’s house, experiencing threats or violence, then contact us! You may be exploited, and you can get help.

If you have no other problems with the employer, but have not been (fully) paid, you can try to claim your salary using the template letter. Here you can find a general template (Dutch) of the Legal Helpdeks. To claim your salary, you need evidence that you have worked for the employer. Contact us if you cannot resolve it yourself, we might help you claim your salary.

You are never responsible for arranging your own replacement during your vacation. If the employer expects this from you, try to talk to him/her about your rights. Seek free legal advice from the Juridisch Loket (Dutch) if you cannot resolve it together.

In the case of your employer forcing you to work or if you feel limited in your freedom, you might be a victim of labour exploitation. Please contact FairWork.

FairWork is an independent organisation and we are not affiliated with the police or government. Assistance from FairWork is completely free and safe. We do not disclose your name to anyone if you do not want us to. We always discuss with you whether and how you want us to help you and whether we can involve others. In some cases, it is necessary or better to provide your name to certain agencies. We will always inform you about this in advance, so you can choose whether you want to do this or not. FairWork reports every year how many people we support. We do this completely anonymously and therefore do not disclose names. We provide these numbers to make it clear that these problems exist in the Netherlands.

Are you an undocumented person? See the questions and answers below.

FAQ for undocumented persons.

Yes, even without a residence permit or passport, you have rights in the Netherlands. You are entitled to the same wage as your documented colleagues who perform the same work. You have the right to safely report exploitation or any other crime. You also have the right to essential medical care, and your children have the right to attend school. If you are exploited, unpaid, or facing other issues with your employer, contact FairWork. We can provide you with free and secure advice on these matters. For more information on other rights as an undocumented migrant in the Netherlands, visit the website of the LOS foundation (Dutch) or find information for undocumented individuals regarding legal assistance, health, shelter, or safety at the website of the Red Cross (English).

Yes, even without a residence permit or passport, you can report a crime in the Netherlands without being deported. If you are a victim of a crime in the Netherlands, you can always safely report it. Therefore, do not allow the police to send you away and clearly inform the officers that you are a victim of a serious crime. The police are obligated to record your report. Note: the police also have a duty to deport undocumented foreigners. Therefore, it is advisable to make an appointment with the police together with a support worker to avoid misunderstandings and the risk of being wrongly deported. If you believe you are a victim of labor exploitation, contact FairWork. If you are experiencing domestic violence or another crime, find a support organization in your area here: LOS foundation (Dutch) or seek assistance at the Red cross (English).

Even if you do not have a residence permit and are not allowed to work according to the law, you still have rights. Everyone who works has the same labor rights as Dutch employees. It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do; whether it’s in construction, as a cleaner, or in domestic work. Therefore, you are also entitled to the statutory minimum wage (English). However, it is often more difficult to realize this right when you are undocumented. FairWork can assist you with this. If your employer refuses to pay you according to the agreement, and you also have other issues with your employer, such as poor working conditions, sleeping at the workplace or the employer’s home, or if you are threatened or subjected to violence, contact us! You may be exploited, and you can get help for that. We can give you advice.

If you only have issues with your employer regarding unpaid or underpaid wages, you can try to claim your wages using a sample letter. To claim your wages, you need evidence to prove that you worked for the employer. If you do not have a contract, other written evidence may also be sufficient, such as WhatsApp or SMS messages from your employer or emails sent by the employer to you. The messages should be related to work, such as the number of hours you will work that day. Contact us if you cannot resolve it on your own; we might help you claim your wages. If we need to involve others, such as a lawyer or labor inspectorate, we always discuss it with you first.

To prevent issues with your employer, it is advisable to request a contract from the start of your work, including the duration of the contract and payment arrangements. If the employer refuses to provide a contract, make sure to keep track of when and how much you work, where you work, and how much you are paid. You can do this in a worklog.

Your employer cannot deport you; only the police can. An employer who hires an undocumented person risks a fine. As an undocumented worker, you cannot be fined for working. However, as an undocumented person, you are at risk of deportation if you are found working by the police or labor inspectorate. If an employer is angry, they may inform the police that you are undocumented in the Netherlands. If your employer threatens you and thereby does not pay you properly or provide good working conditions, you may be experiencing exploitation. Contact us! Exploitation is illegal, and victims can receive assistance. We can advise you on this.

As an undocumented person, you do not receive sickness benefits from the government when you are ill. You are entitled to sick pay, but it is difficult to enforce this if you do not have a contract. Explain to your employer that due to your status, you are not entitled to benefits when you are sick and therefore have no income. Explain that like everyone else, you have fixed expenses and ask if they can (temporarily) continue paying you when you are sick. Some employers may not realize this and may be open to understanding your situation. If you have become (seriously) ill due to your work, your employer is responsible. You are entitled to compensation.

To enforce this right, you need evidence to prove that you worked for the employer. If you do not have a contract, other written evidence may also be sufficient, such as WhatsApp or SMS messages from your employer or emails sent by the employer to you. The messages should be related to work, such as the number of hours you will work that day. Contact us if you cannot resolve it on your own; we can help you claim your compensation. If you have become ill due to your work (conditions), and your employer refuses to pay your overdue wages or threatens you when you assert your rights, there may be exploitation. Contact us. Exploitation is illegal, and victims can receive assistance. We can advise you on this. If you have no income because you are ill, you may be able to apply for food assistance. Due to the high number of requests, FairWork unfortunately cannot assist with this. For assistance with food or shelter, visit the website of the Red Cross (English).

Even if you do not have a residence permit, you are entitled to the minimum wage (English). Some employers may not be aware of this. Therefore, explain to your employer that you are entitled to the minimum wage and a wage increase. You can also write a letter to your employer explaining this. Due to the high number of requests, FairWork unfortunately cannot assist with this. You can use this sample letter (Dutch) that you can customize to your own situation and send to your employer. You can use this sample letter if you work with/without COA.

An employer in the Netherlands may not hire an undocumented worker. If they do, the employer risks a fine. This may be a reason for an employer to dismiss you if you have no papers. If you do not have a contract with clear terms, it is very difficult to demand to continue working. However, your employer must pay you for all the work you have done. If you are not (fully) paid, refer to Question: I have worked but I have not been (fully) paid. What can I do?

If you are undocumented, you will not receive unemployment benefits from the government if you become unemployed. If you have no income, you may be able to apply for food assistance. Due to the high number of requests, FairWork unfortunately cannot assist with this. For assistance with food or shelter for undocumented individuals, visit: Helpful Information (English) on the Redcross website.

FairWork assists people being exploited at work and cannot arrange work or housing. Sometimes, local support organizations can help you. Find a support organization in your area (Dutch) or seek assistance with accommodation (English) for undocumented individuals.

Unfortunately, FairWork cannot assist with this. We recommend contacting a good migration lawyer and an organization that can assist you with this. Here are some tips: Helpful Information (English). You can also contact the Legal Aid Desk (Dutch) for legal advice and referral to a suitable lawyer. Or if you prefer to find a lawyer yourself visit this website (Dutch).

Here in the Netherlands, children have many rights. They have the right to an education, a right to shelter and medical care even if they do not have a Residence Permit and are staying undocumented in the Netherlands. To read more about the rights of children, please refer to the website Defence for children (English) for more information. This is a website which is dedicated to the rights of children of undocumented residents.

General questions

FAQ about workers rights

The B8/3-arrangement offers protection to victims of human trafficking, who have pressed charges. The IND or the Ministry of Justice decides on residence permits. You have the right to shelter (sometimes in a secret location) and to medical and legal support. You will receive social security (compensation) if you cannot work. To be clear, “protection” does not mean getting a body guard or being protected by the police, it means you will be housed in a safe place or shelter.

Part of the B8/3-arrangement is a temporary residence permit which allows you to work and to go to school. During this time, you are entitled to a study grant which means you can receive money towards an education. You are also allowed to hire independent accommodation. This residence permit will only be granted for a one year maximum and will be extended only as long as an investigation and prosecution against the trafficker takes place. This permit ends when the criminal case ends, for example, when the perpetrators have been convicted, or when the investigation is closed without results, or if the court decides to dismiss the case.

When your B8/3-arrangement ends, you can ask for a “Continued Stay”. This is a permit for five years which you are eligible for when the perpetrator has been convicted, if the case has lasted for three years, or when you can show that you cannot return to your country because of the danger of reprisals.

If you need to open a judicial procedure, you need to find a lawyer to represent you. In the Netherlands there is a subsidy to cover lawyers’ costs so that also people with low or no income can defend their rights in court. In order to find a social lawyers who can help you with your case, being paid with the subsidy, you can take contact with the Juridisch Loket. You can also contact inloopspreekuur advocaat, they can also help you find a lawyer in your area.

https://www.juridischloket.nl/ (Dutch)
or
Landelijke netwerk gratis inloop spreekuur/free legal advise (English)

E-mail: info@inloopspreekuuradvocaat.nl

Everyone in the Netherlands has the right to legal assistance. Your lawyer can ask the ‘Raad voor Rechtsbijstand’ (Council for Legal Assistance) for an addition to the costs of your case. The Raad voor Rechtsbijstand decides how much you will have to pay yourself. This will normally be € 127,00. The higher your income, the more you will have to pay. For more information refer to the website of the Raad voor Rechtsbijstand (English).

If the police cannot find the perpetrator, or has insufficient proof for arrest, the Public Prosecutor can dismiss your case. This is called a ‘sepot’ (dismissal). After a dismissal your permit according to B8/3 expires.

If you do not agree with the dismissal by the police and the Public Prosecutor, you can with the help of your lawyer file a complaint at the Court of Justice. By filing a complaint you will show your determination to find and convict the perpetrator. During this complaint procedure, your permit continues, so your stay in The Netherlands during this time is legal.

If the Court of Justice decides after this time, not to prosecute the perpetrator, your temporary permit expires and you have to leave the Netherlands freely. If you are sure you cannot go back to your country because you are in danger of reprisals, you can then submit a request of Continued Stay.

If a perpetrator is arrested and convicted, you can lay claim to a permit “Continued Stay” (Voortgezet Verblijf).

If the IND judges your claim positively, you will receive a permit for five years. After those five years, you can apply for another continuation and then consider becoming a Dutch national (English).

Victims of humans trafficking, who receive a B8/3-permit, can ask for a stay in the Netherlands for humanitarian reasons. This ‘Continued Stay’ is a request called ‘Voortgezet Verblijf’, and is submitted to the Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND).

You are eligible to a “Voortgezet Verblijf” when:

  • the perpetrator has been convicted,
  • the criminal case has run for three years,
  • due to humanitarian reasons you cannot return to your country of origin (for example: danger of reprisals, stigmatisation, and discrimination, medical or mental problems for which there is no treatment in the country of origin).
  • When you submit a request for ‘Voortgezet Verblijf’ it is important you have a lawyer who can assist you in every respect. A detailed case file has to be made with enough evidence for the IND. You must also pay the fees as well.

For more information about the legal costs, refer to the IND website (English).

When the IND approves your application, you will receive a permit for five years. After those five years, you can then ask for a continuation or you can consider becoming Dutch a national.

The ‘Schadefonds’ Damage Fund Acts of Violence, pays money to people who were victims of a crime on Dutch territory and who have had severe injury as a result. It means a once-only compensation for relief of mental suffering caused to victims. In addition, to this compensation, you can also receive money for medical care or compensation for loss of income now that you are unemployed. Ask your lawyer or your social worker for more information or consult the website of the Schadefonds (English).

After your Intake with the police you have a right to shelter. This right to shelter also applies to the Reflection Time, the period in which you have to decide whether or not to press charges. There is special shelter for victims of human trafficking, sometimes in a secret location.

When you decide to press charges and you receive a B8/3-permit, you can try to find your own accommodation. You can hire a room and live independently, but that may not be easy. Some men and women prefer to stay in a special centre for a longer time.

In the Netherlands, there are several centres that provide shelter to victims of human trafficking. This shelter is coordinated by Coordination Centre ‘Mensenhandel’ (= Human Trafficking), in short CoMensha. They will arrange your shelter especially after you have had your intake with the police. If you wish, the police will contact CoMensha for you to find a safe place.

During the time in which you have not yet pressed charges against human trafficking there are also centres available for you. Contact CoMensha (English) via telephone number: 033-4481186 for more information or consult their website. Local authorities can help you too.

For more information and your rights consult www.illegalevrouw.nl  (Dutch).

In the Netherlands there are a lot of organisations which help people with practical or personal problems. Our advice for victims of human trafficking is to contact a social worker. After your Intake with the police and after your Reflection Time for B9, you have a right to shelter. When you are placed in a shelter, you will be linked to a Care-Coordinator for Human Trafficking working in that area, or to a mentor or social worker within the shelter itself.

Not in a shelter or not able to find a social worker? Then ask the Care-Coordinator what the possibilities are in your area. If you would like to know the name of the Care-Coordinator in your area, call CoMensha (English) via 033-4481186 or consult their website.

A number of regions in the Netherlands have a special coordinator for human trafficking. This Care-Coordinator can refer you to organisations and social workers who can help you with your problems. Do you want to know the name of the coordinator in your area? Then call CoMensha (English) via 033-4481186 or consult their website.

Barka –  For social assistance/vulnerable situations. (English)
Workinnl.nl: – For information about living, working, healthcare in The Netherlands. (Dutch, English, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Bulgarian, Chinese, Ukrainian, Russian)
Information about health insurance. (English)
Information about labour accidents. (English)
Juridisch loket – Free legal advice.

FAQ human trafficking

Human trafficking is today’s modern day slavery. It is the exploitation of people as cheap labour by coercion or deception. This can happen in many different industries like the hospitality industry, agriculture, horticulture, the cleaning industry, or the sex industry. People are brought to the Netherlands under false pretences or they are migrant workers who, once here, get into trouble. Dutch citizens, however, can also be exploited. Victims are not able to escape because they are completely dependent on their trafficker and are sometimes even being held captive. Not only do they get paid too little or nothing, but they are also frequently abused or threatened. Their passport is often taken from them and the employer often charges extremely high fees for their travel, housing or food. Victims are usually unaware of their rights.

Exploitation in prostitution is the most common form of human trafficking. Human trafficking nevertheless occurs in all conceivable sectors, such as horticulture, cleaning and temporary employment. Since 2005, labour exploitation – a form of human trafficking – is also punishable by law in the Netherlands.

You are a victim of human trafficking when you are forced to work in very bad circumstances. Victims get little or no pay, even worse, they cannot escape from this difficult situation, because they are fully dependent of their boss. They might even be kept in confinement. Most victims were taken from their native country and brought here to the Netherlands and are exploited here. Human trafficking can take place in many different industries. For example in restaurants and cafés, in the horticulture industry, in the harbours and in prostitution.

Yes, Dutch people can become victims of human trafficking too. If you are forced to work in very bad conditions, for instance, working long days without any breaks, performing dangerous and or hazardous work, receiving little or no pay and feel that you cannot escape from this situation. If all this sounds familiar, then you are possibly a victim. It can happen to both Dutch and non-Dutch nationals.

Here at FairWork, we focus on non-Dutch victims of human trafficking. More information about (Dutch) victims can be found on the CoMensha website. You can also find more information in the Victim Guide(English).

Yes. For instance if you come here from Poland or Hungary it is possible that here in the Netherlands you can be a victim of human trafficking. This can happen when you are forced to work in very bad conditions, receiving little or no pay and you cannot escape from the situation that you are in. This happens to people with both a work permit as well as to those without valid papers.

You can find more information on:

www.newinthenetherlands.nl
the Victim Guide (English).

Yes, you can. You are a victim of human trafficking when you are exploited or misused by someone and you are not able to escape. It makes no difference if you were brought to the Netherlands or if you came here of your own free will.

No, you can become a victim of human trafficking in other sectors too. These sectors may include: horticulture, food service and the shipping industry, where people sometimes get paid too little. In some cases, they even have to hand in their passports in order to prevent them from escaping. Besides, they are often ill treated or threatened. And, yes, it is true that people working in prostitution are extra vulnerable to exploitation.

If you are not sure if someone is a real victim, look at our list of signs for victims. Try to discuss these signs with the supposed victim, so that he or she can ask for help. If true, then show them where to look for help. If in doubt, you can always report this yourself.

You can do this via:

Be cautious, a victim of human trafficking staying in the Netherlands without valid papers can be arrested by the police and sent back to the country of origin. Victims of human trafficking always have the right to press charges. Initially they are offered three months of protection. A victim can use this period of three months– also called “Reflection Time” – to decide if they want to press charges.

The Dutch authorities do their utmost to prosecute human traffickers. At the same time, they try to protect victims by offering them a safe shelter, medical care, social, psychological and legal support while they are pressing charges. The police have founded special prostitution – and human trafficking teams with specialised inspectors. And the Foreign Police have permanent contact persons in service to treat cases of human trafficking. The same goes for the ‘Openbaar Ministerie’ (Public Prosecutor) and the IND (Immigration and Naturalisation Service), where “contact persons for human trafficking” are in service. This way, cases of human trafficking get special attention.

The 1st of January 2012 started the Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie. The Labour Inspection and The Social Intelligence- and Investigation Department (SIOD) are now working closely together.

The former Labour Inspection’s task is to identify exploitation and human trafficking. When people are forced to work in unsafe situations, are paid too little or have to work extremely long days, it can be a case of human trafficking. The Labour Inspection takes action when there are indications of exploitation and/or human trafficking. Moreover, the Labour Inspection points out exploitation and human trafficking to other authorities.

The former Social Intelligence- and Investigation Department (SIOD) is a special department of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment which combats labour exploitation and human trafficking. They cooperate closely with the police and local authorities.

For more information, refer to the website of the Nederlandse Arbeidsinspectie (English).

When you work in the Netherlands, you have a right to fair wages according to Dutch standards. You can also join a trade union which defends your interests.

Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to at least the statutory minimum wage (English). If your employer refuses to pay you what you agreed, and you also have other problems with your employer, such as poor working conditions, sleeping at the workplace or in the employer’s house, experiencing threats or violence, then contact us! You may be exploited, and you can get help.

If you have no other problems with the employer, but have not been (fully) paid, you can try to claim your salary using the template letter. Here you can find a general template (Dutch) of the Legal Helpdeks. To claim your salary, you need evidence that you have worked for the employer. Contact us if you cannot resolve it yourself, we might help you claim your salary.

If you report yourself to the police as a victim of human trafficking, the police will give you three months time to decide if you really want to press charges. This ‘Reflection Period’ of three months starts with the first conversation you have with the police. This first conversation, is called an ‘Intake’. During this Intake, the police will ask you to tell or explain your story in general. Do not yet give all the details. The Intake conducted by the Police is to simply determine if you are a possible victim of human trafficking and thus you will now have the right to the ‘Reflection Period’.

During this Intake, you will receive information about your possibilities and rights. It is possible to receive (protected) shelter. After this Reflection Period is over (after three months) you must decide if you really want to press charges, or, if you do not want to tell your complete story to the police. If you decide to press charges you are eligible for protection via the B8/3-arrangement.

If you decide during this reflection period not to press charges, your protection expires. You must leave the Netherlands freely, unless you decide to ask for another type of stay, for example, due to a medical emergency or with motives for seeking asylum.

FAQ health and assistance

As a victim of human trafficking you often have to start from the beginning in a new environment. You miss your homeland and you have a lot of problems which you cannot share easily with others. It can also be difficult to make new friends when you have little confidence in people. Where you live doesn’t matter, there are some specific social activities for victims of human trafficking and there may be certain organisations in your town where you can meet your fellow-countrymen. These could be churches or organisations for migrants and sometimes special courses are even organised in community centres.

When you have physical complaints, you should see a doctor. Even if you feel physically well but have problems like sleeping badly, having nightmares or being scared or depressed, the doctor is a good place to start to get help. He or she can refer you to more specialised aid.

Even without a residence permit, you have a right to medical care too. In case of an emergency you can go to the ‘Eerste Hulp’ EHBO or Emergency Room in a hospital. Or you can see a family doctor. Be honest in telling them you do not have a residence permit; then the doctor can have the costs of your treatment paid via the College Zorgverzekeringen (CVZ). A doctor will never report you to the police.

 

Yes, that is normal. As a victim of human trafficking you have often experienced terrible things and you have lived in fear and suspense for a long time. The way you feel afterwards is a very normal symptom. As a victim, it could be you are troubled with recurring bad memories, you sleep badly or you are not able to remember things well. Or it could be that you are angry or sad all the time and have other physical complaints like headaches.

After these severe experiences you can have a changed image of yourself and people in your environment. For instance, you feel powerless or you are ashamed of what has happened to you. You are often anxious, because you have been exploited and you live in fear or suspense of what is going to happen. Also, you may find it difficult to trust other people as a result of those severe experiences.

If you have a lot of complaints, tell them to your doctor or someone in your shelter. They can often refer you to someone who can help you.

PTSS means Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. PTSS is a trauma or severe experience, or a series of experiences, in which one has been in danger (or has been a witness of danger) and has experienced great fear, horror or helplessness. You have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome when physical and mental complaints do not disappear within three months after the trauma. The experiences have caused permanent pain from which you suffer in daily life.

When you have PTSS, you have avoidance reactions. This means, you avoid situations that remind you of the trauma. Other symptoms are irritability (having a quick temper) and recurring memories or bad dreams.

For more information about PTSS consult: Psychische gezondheid (Dutch).

You can always get information about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or called SOA in Dutch, from a family doctor. He or she is familiar with these ailments and if necessary can refer you to a specialist. You can have an STD but few or no complaints. Or, they are so indistinct or small; you do not worry about them. Women especially do not always notice they have an STD. When you have had unsafe sex, we advise you to be tested for STD’s. You can go to your family doctor or to some clinics where you can be tested discreetly and anonymously and where you can go to without a reference.

For more information and addresses for these tests consult: SOA.nl(English).

If you become pregnant, unintentionally or undesired, you can go to a family doctor. He or she can help you with questions you may have about your pregnancy, giving birth and possibly about abortion. In the Netherlands, abortion is not an offence or crime.

For more information about unintentional pregnancy consult: FIOM (Dutch).

With physical complaints, it is always important that a doctor examines you to find out what is causing your pain. If you feel you have not been examined well enough, keep asking your doctor. However, there may be no medical explanation for your complaints. It is quite possible that stress, fear or sadness is “translated” into pain in your body. Then you could seek psychological aid. Talking about your problems or doing relaxation exercises can be of help. Talk about this with a family doctor.