The Working Hours Act establishes guidelines for employees’ working hours, breaks, and rest times. The purpose of these regulations is to safeguard workers from excessively lengthy workdays. However, you should also make it simpler for them to balance work, family, and employee safety. It’s critical for all foreign workers in the Netherlands to understand what to anticipate from their employers. Working hours in the Netherlands are divided to full-time and part-time hours.

Working hours in the Netherlands are usually set by the CLA (collective labour agreement) which is a written agreement¬† regarding all employees’ working conditions, such as wages, overtime pay, working hours, probation period, pension, education, and childcare. Each industry has its own CLA that defines how many hours a full work week is, if you have to get paid for overtime work, your holiday pay, etc.


Most full-time jobs in the Netherlands are 36 to 40 hours a week, or 4 to 5 days a week 7 to 8 hours a day. Depending on your company, a full work week can be either 38 or 40 hours.

You are allowed to have a 30-minute unpaid break during a normal 7-to-8-hour shift. The reason for this is that employees in the Netherlands are granted a 30 minute unpaid break for working for 5.5 hours.


If you work between 12 and 36 hours a week, this makes you a part-time worker. This open is very popular between Dutch employees as it leaves you time to invest in your personal matters, like family for example.

Working hours limit

Currently in the Netherlands, it is not allowed to work more than 60 hours a week under any circumstances. This limit differs over longer periods of time. Over a period of 4 weeks, you cannot work more than 55 hours a week and over a period of 12 weeks, your limit of working hours is 48 hours a week.


During pregnancy, your employer may adjust your working hours upon request. You are allowed to have extra breaks during you shift, limited work to only regular hours, leave for medical reasons during your shift and other adjustments in the office to accommodate you during the pregnancy period.