Paid leave differs from unpaid leave in the way that the employee continues being paid during a planned absence from work, whereas unpaid leave is taken when a person has no other way to take time off.

Paid time off has become a necessary right for most people. However, not all countries have the same leave schemes in place. In this article, we are going to list the different types of leave based on whether the leave is paid by the employer, or unpaid. This can include vacation time, personal days, sick leave, etc.

This is just a list of leave schemes categorized by paid, partial payment, or unpaid. To learn more about the details of each leave scheme, check out the article about leave schemes on our blog.

Fully paid leave:

An employee can take a leave of absence from work and the employer will be obliged to pay 100% of their salary during their time off.

  • Requested vacation days (at least 20)
  • Public holidays (which day(s) depend on collective labour agreement or employment contract).
  • Partner/Paternity leave

Partially paid leave:

Employees are able to take a leave of absence and will be paid a portion of their salary during their time off.

  • Pregnancy / Maternity leave (up to 16 weeks)
  • Sickness/Illness leave (up to 2 years)
  • Parental leave (effective as of 2 August 2022)
  • Adoption or foster leave
  • Short-term care leave
  • Special/extraordinary leave**

Unpaid leave:

In the Netherlands, employees are generally not entitled to take unpaid leave. There are, however, allowances available for those who are unable to work for a long period of time. Otherwise, unpaid leave is determined between the employer and employee. A few examples of unpaid leave include:

  • Extended maternity/paternity leave
  • Long-term care leave

Special/extraordinary leave

Although not specifically required by law, there are other circumstances in which employees need to take a leave of absence from work. These special circumstances will be detailed in the relevant collective labour agreement for your industry, including the amount (full versus partial) of salary they are owed during their time off. Some examples of special/extraordinary leave include:

  • Attending your wedding or wedding of a close family member
  • Bereavement
  • Exams
  • Moving house
  • Activities for a Works council or union

Dutch law versus company policy regarding paid leave

Please note that the above list is the required minimum for full-time, contracted employees by Dutch law for employers to uphold, but there may be differences depending on your company policy. For example, during Sick leave, employers are required to pay 70% of the employee’s normal salary during the first year of illness. However, employees of Octagon Professionals and our clients receive 100% of their salary until they qualify for long-term leave.

You may also experience differences from the above if you work for a company in the Netherlands that is not registered as a Dutch entity, or as an employee of an employment agency.

Develop an attractive and compliant leave policy with expert HR support

The Netherlands is an attractive place to work and live thanks to the strong protections for employees allowed by Dutch law. If your business is new to the Netherlands, consider working with an expert like Octagon Professionals who can help your business develop a policy that is both compliant, and attractive for your employees and future hires.

Send us a message to start the conversation about how our team of expert HR specialists can help – no commitments required!